The Dukes went to Reg Bartley Oval in the Beautiful Rushcutters Bay surroundings, ready to take revenge for the Round 3 humiliating defeat at the hands of the Old Boys.
The Dukes had finally been able to have their first training session in 3 weeks (even though Sydney Council tried to stop it) and all involved ready to rock. The game plan set was simple, Stick to your channel in defence, Stick to the pattern in attack, and monster the opposition all day. Don’t let them breath.
The game started with an error after the first break down giving the Old Boys possession on the Dukes 22metre line. Flash backs from round 3 flooded into the mind of the coach. The next 10 minutes, the Old Boys rucked and mauled and spun the ball wide and tried everything to get over the Dukes defence, but it was a solid wall of Alexandria Muscle.
Finally a penalty to the Dukes after what seemed to be the longest defensive effort of the year, relieved the pressure, with the penalty going out near half way
The Dukes lineout was up for inspection with our first attacking set piece, but the first one did not look pretty, and the Old boys getting the ball back. After 2 phases the Old boys got a penalty about 35 metres out and in a show of how good the Dukes defence was, took a shot at Goal. Penalty was successful 3-0.
From the restart the Dukes pressured the Old boys again and a mistake from the kick-off put the Dukes in a great position. The set piece this time, a scrum. The OB’s half put a mile of pressure on Denchy and the ball out the backs was not as crisp as it could have been, and the Dukes were on the back foot. The next 2 phases saw a loss of 20 metres and a turn over on the 40 metre line, which led to another Grammar Penalty. Again they took the option of Goal. Penalty successful 6-0.
The defence was great from the Dukes but the hands from both backs and forwards was letting them down. Forwards trying to do go too far with the ball rather than set it up, and the backs not getting clean ball to one another. The OB’s picked up on another couple of turn overs and after a missed penalty shot and the subsequent restart, went in on the 29th Minute, for a try to OB’s Lock. Try was converted and the score was 13-0.
From the restart the Dukes put the ball deep and got the ball back after a spill by the Old Boys Fullback. Sam Robinson swooped onto the loose ball and after 1 phase, the ball swung out to the clubs leading try scorer who crashed the ball in to the OB’s defence breaking them up and adding another try to his impressive Tally of 13 to go back into 3rd place in the leading try scorers race. Without a goal kicker it was going to be tough today, and the conversion was unsuccessful, Score 13 – 5.
The Dukes were hungry now and wanted another try. They rumbled up the field and at half way, JT, put a cross field kick over to the wing, and pressure from Denno, Luke and Haydn ended up with a mistake by the winger and a great opportunity to go in.
The Dukes remained on the front foot, until a stoppage in play due to an Old Boy’s player dislocated his knee and possible broken ankle. The 5 minutes gave the Old boys time to regather, but they were hurting.
A scrum was set and the Tautaiolefua brothers, playing their first game of Rugby together in 5 years put on a double wrap move to have Ice send JT down the side line and in for the Dukes 2nd try. The conversion was unsuccessful, the score 13-10.
With only 1 minute left on the clock to half time, the Dukes wanted to see the ball down town and put it there. Unfortunately it did not go out. The Old boys regained possession on the 22 metre line and start to try and rumble up the pitch. They weren’t going anywhere. But it would be a piece of individual Brilliance (and some illegal blocking), that would see the OB’s fly half put up a bomb into the sun, regather just over half way and score under the posts. This was a heart breaking way to end the half with the referee calling time after the conversion. Half Time Score 20-10, but 13-10 would have been better indication of the play.
The Dukes were extremely pumped going into the 2nd half and actually came out even harder in the 2nd half. From the kick-off Tom O’connor got his hands to the ball, but missed the opportunity to take the ball cleanly. The Dukes scrum started pushing the OB’s all over the ground, the pick and drive and the running was intense, the backs were making in-roads into the OB’s defence. The only thing which was letting the Dukes down was the line out option (guess what the forwards will be doing at training).
The Bash brother Denno and Luke were up and in on there men giving the no room in the back line where they were so dominant last round and Sam Robinson in his 2nd game at openside flanker was making sure that the number 10 did not have time to use his step or his pass.
The pressure was telling with 3 more OB’s taken from in the first 25 minutes of the 2nd half. But all the pressure in the world wouldn’t help unless the Dukes could get over the line. That came in the 30th Minute when the 2nd bash brother took a ball forward and was surrounded by a plethora of Dukes to get him over the line, just as the 2nd ambulance came for the Old Boys. The kick was unsuccessful again leaving the score 20-15.
The final 10 minutes were one of the toughest football I have seen, with the Old Boys desperate to keep their lead and the Dukes desperate to get the ultimate revenge.
With 5 minutes to go, Luke received a yellow card after what looked like a legitimate hit. To their credit the Dukes kept their heads up and kept pounding the OB’s and a third ambulance was called for a what looked like a badly broken collar bone. The Dukes just ran out of time, getting within 30 metres of the line on the final play, a turn over by trying to do too much costing them the ball and field position with the OB’s Fly half kicking it down town, to close out the game. Final score 20-15.
It was disappointing not to get a win, given the Dukes scoring more tries, but it was a massive victory in terms of improvement and playing together as a team. The talk was outstanding, which led to an almost impregnable defensive line. Denchy at scrum-half must have needed a new voice box after all the yelling at the forwards all day, and big ups to the forwards for listening.
Special mentions to Issac at Full back in his first run for the club, and to Mark Wilcox for making himself available when it looked like we were going to be short in the backs, we still may convert him into a rugby player yet.
Points went to:
• 1pt – Sam Robinson – for the job he did on the Old Boy’s fly half.
• 1pt – Luke Greer – for all round performance in both attack and defence, may have got more points had he not been yellow carded.
• 2pts – to Dennis Lee – for his amazing hits and massive runs which scared the Old Boys defence.
• 3pts –Tom O’Connor – being all over the park filling gaps and being the first forward to the break down most times.
Next weeks Round 13 clash against Liverpool is the clash that the Dukes have been waiting for (Literally, with a game in hand the following week as well). Liverpool have been putting alot of points on clubs, but with the Dukes renewed vigour hopefully an upset is on the cards, as they return back to McKay Oval.