Dukes fall just short against Lions

While the scoreboard may not have shown a Dukes win, the boys put together one of their better performances of the year on a windy and chilly Saturday afternoon, going down narrowly to Engadine 29-21.

The long trip south to Engadine to take on the Lions was always going to be a tough affair on the pitch yet true to Dukes form, the boys showed up ready to play from the get go. The forwards were evenly matched in the scrums with neither team giving an inch, however on a windy day, lineout play was always going to be difficult. Despite this, James Schulz was clinical, stealing at least 3 of the opposition’s throws. In general play both teams, again, were evenly matched. The Lions had their Fijian flair out wide, but was not to be outdone by captain and fullback Stefan von Zelewski’s hard running lines and swerving runs as well as scrumhalf Reece Milne’s darting, precise plays around the ruck and from quick taps.

The match started very evenly, Engadine able to break the Dukes line after a charged down kick landed directly into the hands of their loose forward who quickly found their winger to dot it over in the corner. 5-0 on a tough day for kicking. From the kick off the Dukes wrestled the ball back and were able to win possession and a penalty from 25m out and opted for the penalty shot. The ball taking a coat of paint off the post and an unlucky miss on a gusty day that even the most experienced and high level kickers would have had trouble.

After the drop out, Engadine capitalised on a mistake from the Dukes, placing in a chip behind the line that saw them going over the line, followed up by another quick fire try saw the Lions up 17-0. With the Dukes on the back foot, flyhalf Luke Cleary slammed the ball down over the try line to bring the Dukes back within 10. On the stroke of half time with the Dukes pressing the Lions line, No. 8 Andrew Meiklejohn blasted his way over the line but was held up shy of being able to ground the ball. Half time blown by the referee, score at 17-7 to the Lions.

At half time the boys were fired up and keen to get it on again in the second half, knowing that the performance for the first 40 minutes was one to be proud of and that they wanted to build on. Coming out of the half the Lions struck against the run of play, their fullback able to make good on the break extending the Lions lead to 22-7.

A penalty to the Dukes saw the boys with ball in hand ready to attack inside the Lions half. From the lineout, another penalty for collapsing the maul coupled with the advantage from an offside call saw Reece Milne take a quick tap and dart through the opposition. Dragged down a metre short and attempting the recycle the ball, the Lions loose forward was seen to have used his hands in the ruck. The referee blew a penalty try and handed out a yellow business card to the eager Lion. 22-14 to the home side. Reece’s involvement in the game was not to end there however, a streaking run from the Lions outside centre saw him away for a 60m try, or so it would have seemed. In the far corner, Reece Milne timed his dive perfectly to knock the ball out of the players hands. Easily the play of the day defensively.

20 minutes to go in the game and the Lions and Dukes locked in a tight tussle at half way before a penalty against the Dukes saw the Lions able to attack the line. Keeping the ball in tight in the forwards they gained a penalty and took the quick tap. The Lions 9 linked with the nifty flyhalf who went over to push out the score to 29-14. The Dukes weren’t done yet, Reece Milne again having a say in the way the match was being played out, darting down the blind side to score his 6th try of the season.

Sadly, Dukes original Kevin Addison in his yearly cameo got caught in the wrong position in a tackle. What was initially thought to be a broken arm was found to be a very painful dislocated elbow. We wish Kev nothing but the best moving forward and unreservedly thank him for his efforts to help out the club where he can.

After the 10 minute break in play, the Dukes still had another 5 minutes to try drag out a win or at the very least a bonus point or two. Unfortunately, the boys were unable to crack the line and the Lions booted the ball into touch. Game over and the Dukes falling at the final few hurdles to lose out 29-21. The effort put in on the day was second-to-none. Only 16 players available on the day with various injuries and commitments outside of rugby saw the boys who were there out on their feet by the end of the 80 minutes. On another day, it may have been a reversed scoreline.

Looking at the rest of the competition – Burraneer were too much for the Sea Lice, putting on early tries and running out winners 28-19. In the other game, Maccabi pulled out a win over the Convicts 27-10.

Moving into this week’s match up, the Dukes will be taking on the Convicts. There will be 2 grades of action on the day with the first game kicking off at 2pm for Mango’s 100th game celebration. Straight afterwards, our 1st XV will be looking to avenge the previous 2 games against the Convicts and keep that glimmer of hope for finals football alive!

Jul ’19

Penalty tries! Yellow cards! Arguments with officials! Boat races! Delightful wins and heartbreaking losses…it’s all happening!

This last month has been one of the most thrilling in Dukes history and Dukeman can feel the excitement in the air. The rugby boys are on the cusp of a finals berth if we can keep the winning vibes and the netball girls are kicking some serious ass on the court. 2019 is shaping up to be one of the most electric finishes to a season where we could potentially see post-season action for both sides.

Of late the rugby team has been hitting their stride and really pushing the opposition in every aspect of the game. Dukeman has been loving the performances across the park with some solid forward play and expansive back line play. It’s hard to look past Israel Seufale and Liam Pakau killing it in the centres in both attack and defence, these two have been throwing it back to the original “Bash Brothers” duo of Dennis Lee and Luke Greer from the Dukes early years. In the forwards Zinzan Mann has been getting around the park making some great cover tackles and being an all-round pest at the breakdown for the opposition while Chris Stephenson has been his usual self, wrecking opposition defences with some bustling runs. Linking the forwards and the backs for the last month has been Manny Grundy who has been amazing at scrumhalf getting the forwards out of trouble if needed and delivering the ball out to the backs allowing them to weave some magic.

On the court the netball team has been flexing some muscle on the opposition in the last month, winning 3 of 4 match ups in June, 2 of them where they put up 40+ points. In their last 3 match ups they have outscored the opposition 131-66! Keep on killing it ladies, Dukeman loves your work!

In other news, one of the Dukes original sons Corey “Mango” Mangan tallies up game 100 against crosstown rivals, Sydney Convicts. Mango joins the Schulz brothers in the 100 club where Alex and James currently reside. All 3 started with the Dukes back in the inaugural season where the Schulz boys haven’t changed positions from second row and flanker and Mango was (of all positions) a winger! Since then he’s made the pilgrimage from to where he currently holds down the fort as the loosehead prop. On the day we’ll have a 2nds game for any and all who wish to celebrate the occasion by taking the field with Mango (and maybe a couple of other surprise cameos!). Congrats Mango!

The club says a tearful goodbye to some of our playing contingent as they sail out for their naval duties with the R.A.N. Thanks a bunch for coming down for a run guys and we hope you come back down as soon as you are back in Sydney town for another hit out in the black and white hoops. The Dukes wish you boys safe travels.

While on the subject of goodbyes, coach Andrew Meiklejohn has had to step down as coach and drastically reduce his playing capacity for work reasons. For all you have done throughout the season on and off the field Andrew, thank you. 

Finishing off on some happier news, the Dukes are happy to announce that the end of season trip will be taking place in the lovely city of Byron Bay for the 30th anniversary of the Byron Bay Sevens. The boys have been up there wreaking havoc on the town and the football field for the last few years after the town of Mudgee had a few too many “wanted” posters up of our players…

I’m also hearing around the traps that with the wet weather week coming up, a crawl of the pub kind may be in order! Yeehaw! Giddy up!

Cheers and Beers,

Dukeman

10 tries put past opposition for Dukes win

The Dukes put on 10 tries in a 56-28 victory over local rivals Maccabi in a game that was much the opposite to the round 4 encounter between the 2 clubs. Strong games from all players across the paddock saw the boys take out maximum points to keep the season alive with the final slate of games still to play.

Things started off with a bang, a try to centre Israel Seufale coupled with some smashmouth defence from him and centres partner Liam Pakau, followed by another try to fullback Andrew Johnston put the Dukes out to a 12-0 lead within the first 15 minutes. Maccabi struck back after a 5m lineout move which saw their hooker score untouched in the corner. 12-7 to the Dukes.

The ball found it’s way into the capable hands of scrumhalf Manny Grundy who was able to make good on the broken field play to extend the lead out to 19-7. Yet again the determined Maccabi outfit put one past the Dukes defence with a chip and chase, closing the gap to just 5 points. However once again the experience and chemistry in the centres saw Liam Pakau put winger Nick Serafin away in the corner on half time, the score 22-14.

Soon after half time, the dominant Dukes scrum put Maccabi on the backfoot with Reece Milne able to capitalise, breaking through 3 defenders to dot the ball over the line to extend the lead out to 27-14. Maccabi were able to break through again, bringing the score to 27-21 yet that was as close as they were to come on the day.

An additional 5 tries were put on through Benni Seufale, 2 to Fraser Lamont and another each to the halves combination of Reece Milne and Manny Grundy. These points would not have been possible if not for the bustling forward runs from Jarrod Ferreira, Chris Stephenson, a returning Andrew Meiklejohn and AJ Wright off the bench coupled with the skillful and powerful outside backs lead by Israel Seufale showing the way forward to Tyron Ahmat and Brodie Bailey.

Special mention must go to Liam Pakau who played selflessly all day with the ball in hand, assisting in at least 3 tries directly as well as hard hitting defence saw him take out the referee’s Man of the Match honours.

On another note, if anyone sees a kicking tee around or even better yet, a goal kicker, send them our way! 3 conversions of 10 attempts kicking on the weekend saw the Dukes miss out on 14 points in the match. Shocking!

The netball ladies have had the week off for the school holiday period (as is the case this week as well) so the girls have been resting up the knees and ankles getting ready to attack the final half of their season, hoping for a big finals push.

Other games in the competition saw Burraneer too strong at home over the Convicts 51-0 and an early Sea Lice onslaught was too much for Engadine to fight back from , going down 28-19.

This weekend the Dukes travel far south to Engadine to start off the final round of matches to take on the Lions on their Ladies Day. Please invite your better half for a great afternoon of rugby action on and off the field as Engadine is known for a great brand of rugby on field and tremendous hospitality off the field. Kick off is at 3.15pm at Old Bush Road Oval in Yarrawarrah.

Penalty try in dying minutes deals KO blow to Dukes

A 78th minute penalty try was all that could separate the Dukes and Burraneer this last weekend in a tense 31-24 loss for the boys.

The Burraneer side were clearly shocked and not prepared for the Dukes to put up the level of fight that they did to the 2018 Grand Finalists. After an early 12-0 lead, the Dukes came roaring back with a 2 fleet footed tries to fullback Andrew Johnson and centre Israel Seufale to draw even by half time.

Moving into the second stanza, the Dukes had their tails up and looking to play attacking football as much as possible. Lead by scrumhalf Manuel Grundy creating opportunities for others around him, winger Vlad Yershov cashed in and dotted the ball over the line for the Dukes to take the lead for the first time in the contest, 19-12.

Burraneer hit back with another two tries through the power of their scrum to retake the lead 24-19. Some skillful rugby saw Liam Pakau link up with Israel Seufale to streak away for another try. Unconverted though and the scores level at 24 a piece.

With 5 minutes to go on the clock, Burraneer camped themselves in the Dukes 5m and hammered away with multiple scrums before the referee had to cave in and award a penalty try with 2 minutes left on the clock, 31-24 to Burraneer and that’s the way the scores would have to stay. The Dukes coming away with 2 bonus points for their efforts on the day and providing a massive scare to the table topping Burraneer side.

Coaches point went to;
3 – Israel Seufale (Centre)
2 – Manuel Grundy (Scrumhalf)
1 – Chris Stephenson (Second Row)

* After this week, coaches points will be kept off the website as the end of season awards will be based off these.

Over on the Duchesses’ side of the ledger, the girls continue to notch up wins, pushing forward to a 44-16 win over UNSW White and into equal 3rd spot on the ladder. Well done to all the ladies who show up and play their hardest week in and week out for the team. Special mention this past week to Jen Marsden who put up her first goal for the Duchesses, fingers crossed there’s more where that came from!

On a club related note, a thanks must go to Clay and his team at One Drop Brewing in Botany for his support towards the club. Here’s to a few brews and a growing relationship between the Dukes and One Drop!