The weekend saw us take on long time rivals the Easts Tigers in a game that was as close to must win as you’ll get. With Ipswich, Wynnum and the Sunshine Coast all posting victories over the weekend, it was imperative that we won to hold our spot on the table and not give any ground to those other teams.
Having to play a side of Easts’ quality only made the assignment tougher. In what was a good old fashion arm wrestle all day, we were able to prevail 20 – 10 to maintain our spot in equal 6th position (7th on for and against with only 4 points in arrears of 6th).
I thought the players showed great character and determination yesterday. Each week the players know there is a lot riding on the outcome of every game and they certainly played accordingly yesterday. There was desperation in show from the opening whistle. We certainly weren’t perfect and made life difficult for ourselves by dropping too much ball and giving away too many penalties, to invite Easts into our end, but the players just kept turning up, set after set defensively. Easts’ 2 tries came from kicks, one of which was an unlucky ricochet.
Worth noting, is that our last 2 victories – yesterday’s against Easts and the Townsville Blackhawks 2 weeks ago, we’ve been able to hold those 2 sides to just 2 tries a piece with 3 of those tries coming from kicks. This is no small feat, considering Townsville have the second best attack in the competition and Easts the fourth best attack. It says to me, that while attack is certainly what we are known for, having the 3rd best attacking record in the competition ourselves, when we turn up with the right attitude and approach to our defence, we can defend with the best teams in the competition as well.
This weekend will see us travel out to Barcaldine to play the Norths Devils as part of country week. Country week is a fantastic initiative by the league and I know the players love going out to the remote areas of this state, to showcase our competition to a rugby league loving public that rarely gets to see football of this standard. It really is a great promotion of our game by the league and a very important date on the rugby league calendar each year.