THERE was no shortage of action on Saturday as the Narooma Coasties Women’s Rugby Team played their last home game at Dalmeny in the ACT Women’s Rugby Union Competition against a strong Royals side.
The women were always going to struggle to get a result against a team that beat front runners Uni-Norths in the last round and had Australian representative Sharni Williams in the centre.
The game plan was simple. Score four tries to get a bonus point. With the Coasties in fourth spot, two points ahead of Jindabyne, every point helps and with both clubs having a tough run, in bonus points could decide who plays in the semi-final in two weeks’ time.
The visitors had another advantage of having two extra players as Narooma still have injury and availability problems. Nonetheless, it was a tight game in the first quarter with the Coasties determined to make Royals work hard. The tackling was first class. Danielle Campbell and Nicole Cowdroy in midfield plugged several forays up the middle before Royals worked a try down the flank after sucking in the home team defence. It did not take long for Royals to work out the Coasties had a couple of young girls on the wing and they began to target them but Teanna Winters and Taloyah Thomas both worked hard to shepherd their opposite number and they made some important tackles before Royals once again outflanked the Coasties.
The Coasties had noticed that several Royals players were uncomfortable receiving high kicks and they began to send them some well- directed wiper kicks and grubbers to turn around the defence and put them under pressure. From a dropped high ball the Coasties were awarded a scrum 30 metres out. Half back Lynne Thomas darted down the blind side with the cover defence in chase. It was a race for the line, Lynne could not make it but she got the ball away for captain Lee Ann Napiorkowski to go over in the corner. Danielle Campbell kicked a beauty of a goal for the score to close to 12-7.
That was as close as it got for Narooma as the Royals team began to use their larger and faster girls to find ways through and around the Coasties’ defence. A courageous rear guard defence slowed them down but inexorably the visitors increased their lead. Heads did not drop, however, and the game plan was kept in mind. Any ball was to be regarded as good ball and attack was the watch word. Although a good attacking team, a couple of the Royals players were a bit soft in the tackle so the word was out to run straight at them. Hayley Talanoa and Lee Ann in particular got over the advantage line regularly, while Nicole and Danielle broke through tackles to get behind the defence. Nicole was being double teamed every time she touched the ball and a couple of markers also shadowed Lynne who is as elusive as ever. This created room for Kristy and Danielle to exploit.
In the end it was Nicole who scored the second try that kept Coasties on track. Some good build up from Kristy and Danielle got the Coasties behind the Royals defence and Kayla Tyrrell was again first to the ball. From the ensuing ruck Nicole stepped and jinked to get across the line with Danielle again converting.
In the second half the pattern continued. Michelle Congdom got more confident and proved hard to stop always attracting two or more tacklers. From one incisive bust Lynne was able to get on the end of a good back line attack and scoot down the wing for the third try which again Danielle converted. With 20 minutes left it looked like Narooma might achieve the desired bonus point.
But Royals would not come to the party. They picked up their defensive effort and began to pile on a couple more tries as the Coasties tired visibly. With no bench they were at a big disadvantage. Kristy appeared to get a big knock but she stayed on, showing determination and courage.
Coasties were so close and yet so far from that elusive bonus point. Kayla got on the end of a turn over ball. Lynne flicked it out to Kristy who ran and drew in the defence, a pass to Danielle who had two defenders on her, she half breaks the tackle and gets over the advantage a line; a miracle ball pass to Nicole up in support and a half chance to score. Twenty metres to the line, the Royals players bearing down on her, Nicole tired but strong is tackled just short. She drives for the lined dragging the defenders with her, she hits the ground just short. Wait, an Inspector Gadget arm reaches out, it keeps reaching, then after a heartbeat that feels like an eternity, it grounds the ball on the line. Toutai Kefu! The referee raises his hand for the try. Bonus Point. You beauty! Final score Coasties 26, Royals 59. A try fest.
The Club Narooma Best and Fairest Player was Nicole Cowdroy, while Island View Beach Resort players’ player award went to Lynne Thomas, an inspiration and a great player.
Next week the last round of the competition sees the Coasties take on Uni Norths in Canberra. All eyes will be on the mobile devices, tracking the score in Jindabyne who host Royals as Coasties chase a semi-final in their first season.
Whales men – Close but no cigar
THE Narooma Whales, sponsored by the Narooma Sporting and Services Club (now Club Narooma) continued their late season revival against a very strong Bombala side at Dalmeny on Saturday. Needing a bonus point win the home team was fifteen minutes away from just that before Bombala burst their bubble and won the game 43 -26.
Bombala scored first but Nathan Weir powered over soon after to even the scores.
Thereafter it was nip and tuck all the way through with Narooma going in front but not being able to get away from the Bluetongues until finally in the last quarter of the game Bombala kicked a penalty to lead for only the second time and then used their big forwards to rampage through a tiring Whales team to score two late tries and secure the win.
Nathan Carpenter, Rodney Carpenter and Poonch Campbell looked good in the back line and they each scored a try to give the Whales hope of a five point win but the forwards struggled all day against a team that looks like it has a bulk purchase arrangement with the local abattoir.
It would cost a fortune to feed the Bombala pigs. The big exception was Hahn Gunthorpe who was fired up and had an outstanding game at hooker.
Now that they cannot make the semi-finals the Whales are focussing on have a serious attempt at the plate. First up they want to win against Milton next week in their last home game of the season.
Cadgee Concrete Best and Fairest Award
3 Points – Hahn Gunthorpe
2 Points – Nathan Weir
1 Point – Nathan Carpenter/Rodney Carpenter
Truss Plus Players’ Player – Hahn Gunthorpe
The Whales would like to thank all of our sponsors. The Major Sponsors are the Club Narooma. Foundation Sponsors are the Narooma Plaza Pharmacy, the Lighthouse Surgery, Ian Thompson Accountants and the Whale Motor Inn. The Narooma Meat Centre is the main jersey sponsor along with Truss Plus and Cadgee Quarry and Concrete.
Whales Last Home Game next Saturday
Wear your green and come and farewell the Whales at Dalmeny on Saturday. Kick off at 3pm