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By Club Captain, Tommy Evans
Having three out of four grade teams playing in a semi-final at North Sydney Oval was a huge achievement and the excitement surrounding the day was palpable. All three teams were playing different opposition, but as a group, we were confident of the task ahead. With people dressed in red and black flooding the gates early to catch every grade, the energy around the ground was infectious.
Before I give a run-down of the Brotherhood’s win over Eastwood, let me take you back to a passage of the Weekly Round Up from May 14th:
“The Brotherhood are working on a new tactic this year. In 2016 we were minor premiers but didn’t win the top crown, and then in 2017 we finished 2nd and still couldn’t get our hands on the elusive Henderson Cup. This year we’ve decided to change tack, and instead we’ve decided to lose heaps of easy games early in the year to lure our rivals into a false sense of security. Then we’ll win a few matches before half the team goes to Europe in July, where we’ll no doubt lose a couple more. We’ll finish 6th, sneaking into the finals before flogging everyone in our way as we march onto the grand final. On September 1st at roughly 10:31am we’ll be sinking winner’s beer out of the Henderson Cup and it’ll be a story for the ages”
At the time of writing, we were one win from six and sitting on the bottom of the ladder. Now the walking wounded are back in the squad, we’ve all had our fun in Europe and we’re 60 minutes away from making this vision a reality. While we’re not getting carried away just yet, we’re fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead of us this Saturday. We couldn’t be more excited though… We’re going to do it.
The game itself was just as anticipated- they had a big pack and were going to carry hard and use the scrum as a platform to gain ascendancy on us. Ben Martin and Oscar Doughty were all over their lineout, however they’d added a couple of strings to their bow in attack from previous encounters. Having their monster number 8 actually pass the ball proved a masterstroke- absolute genius tactic.
We got out to an early lead of 20-3, and as is often the case in such circumstances, we started to wig. We let them in for a soft try right on halftime and then they crossed again early in the second half to bring the score to 20-15. They started pummelling our scrum, and in response the coaches sent Ash Hall to try and sort it out. His words before running on were, “well what the hell am I going to do about it?” As the first scrum collapsed 20 seconds after he’d run onto the field, he was shown a slice of old English cheese. Ash had only been yellow carded once in 200 games at the club, so hopefully this is the only one out of the next 200 out of the way.
In the end our boys were too strong for Eastwood, especially with Connor Winchester’s massive boot. One more game, boys!
Norths 23 (Tries: #11 Pat Nakkan, #12 Andrew Woods; Goals: #15 Connor Winchester 5), Eastwood 15
Our threes have come into some spectacular form recently. Losing the last couple games of the regular season in the final few minutes, they turned a corner last week against Warringah in the qualifying final. With the players that they have in that team, you just had the feeling after that game that they were on their way to something special.
It was clear from the outset that they didn’t give a shit about the colour of the jersey in front of them. Uni beat them 31-0 last time they played, however our lads were playing like they were punishing them for having the nerve to even turn up to North Sydney Oval. Big Daddy Matt White and captain James Wivell were leading the charge in defence, while Joe Williams was carrying the ball as though he was trying to run through a brick wall. It was awesome to watch.
With the score 15-14 to Uni well into the second half, the floodgates opened after a cracking try to Bill Freeman down the left hand wing. Our backs turned it on, and the Uni pricks couldn’t respond. The back three of Dom Naylor, Lachlan Rosengreen and Bill Freeman would be faster than most first grade sides! The final score was a beautiful 42-20 and we took much pleasure in watching the Uni players bicker with each other behind the try-line waiting for the King, Josh Smith, to knock over another conversion.
Norths 42 (Tries: #12 Joe Williams, #10 Josh Smith, #14 Bill Freeman, #13 Dan Hiep, #9 Mitch Magrath, #11 Dom Naylor; Goals: #10 Josh Smith 6), Uni 20
Ones were always in for a tough game against last year’s premiers, Warringah. As we all know the result and are feeling it together as a club, I won’t have us relive it again. Instead, I’ll do a ‘best of’ package, similar to what The Simpsons or Seinfeld did from time to time to fill an episode.
Against Manly, round two:
For years, Lawrence Hunting has never once stood in the ‘defence line’ during speed-of-thought drills. He’s always dreamed of throwing the perfect pill, but has very rarely found himself in such a position. Well, all those years of hard work finally paid off on Saturday when he threw a beautiful dummy and popped Nick Palmer into open space, who in turn set Nick Duffy up with a great try. There was a lot of man-love after the try was awarded, with everyone congratulating the two Nicks. Nobody gave poor Lenny even a token bum-tap, so I would ask everyone to please shake his hand next time you see him and congratulate him for his efforts.
Against Uni, round four:
Sam Kitchen made a strong impact off the bench as he absolutely loves playing in the Southern Highlands. Kitch has always been a very adaptable fella, keeping a calm head in unfamiliar situations. Towards the end of the match he received the ball to throw in for a crucial lineout, however it was as slippery and being the quick thinker that he is- he rubbed the ball on the poor ballboy’s jumper, before drying his hands on the kid’s face. Pretty grim stuff but at least the ball sailed out of his hands beautifully.
Against Parramatta, round seven:
Harry Burey was a bit nervous after a few weeks out with a busted split pea, telling everyone that he was “crapping himself” as he prepared for his first game back in the 15 jersey in twelve months. After taking a few high balls early on, the smell emanating from his pants during the halftime huddle certainly begged the question whether he had actually followed through on his words.
Against Eastwood, round twelve:
Despite the rocky start to the day, the boys actually came out of the blocks firing and set up a nice lead courtesy of a brace of tries to Lochie Creagh. I’ve been told that he actually scored one of his tries at the exact same moment his better half, Susie Woolf, scored one for the girls in their tournament. It was quite touching when Lochie threw up a big ‘S’ sign to the cameras before blowing a kiss to everyone watching on their televisions.
Against Souths, round fifteen:
With the game in the balance, there was a fair bit of tension around the ground. Souths had fronted up and were desperate to come away with the chocolates… In a masterstroke move from coach Shannon Fraser, he unleashed Joe Dawson for one of the most influential spells ever seen at North Sydney Oval. Joe was everywhere, whacking blokes, throwing cut out passes and lifting morale with his trademark noise and infectious energy. The boys lifted from this and took the win after another classic encounter with the Rebels.
Against West Harbour, round sixteen:
“It’s nil-all, boys” – Sam Giltrap
TEAM OF THE WEEK:
Tie between 3s and 4s.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Everyone in 3s and 4s.
To everyone in first grade. Lads, we know how disappointed you are that you’re not going to be playing next Saturday. We’re all gutted as a club, but we’re incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved this year. Your professionalism and high standards are contagious, and our success in 3rd and 4th grade can be attributed to you guys. We can’t wait to run out next week to see you all out there, drinking beers and yelling banter from the McCartney Stand just as we do week in, week out. We need you to get us over the line- we’ve got two trophies to win!
To the guys in third and fourth grade, congrats on making it this far. Grand final week is a pretty special time however it all counts for nothing if we don’t win the whole thing. Let’s rip in this week, take home the Henderson Cup and Shield.