Freezing Cold with Light Drizzle to start the match. The Bears start up what becomes a sustained attack which gives the Rovers something solid to work against.
Gathercole reprises his courageous work around the rucks. Randall strives well against bigger ruckmen. Doyle repels some heated approaches. Tuffley works in close, crafting it out to Wells. Rain starts to pelt in the hand stinging cold. Howe brave going back with the flight takes a mark. Troy clears but the Bears keep coming. Harris to Wells to Paino to Tuffley down the line makes a sweet combination and some valuable ground. Palmer sends one long to end term.
Lyons sets to work in defence. Casssidy taps to Wells, quickly to Troy. Tuffley’s strong tackle, ball spills free, Tuffley long to Randall. Most of the play is on the Windy side. Akinci starts a long campaign at Fullback, marking and punting out of trouble. Gathercole marks and Wells is knocked out by a swing into the ground. Doyle consistently involved. Paino to Gathercole who runs and bounces then goes over the top to Tuffley, back to Paino by hand, through Akinci & Harris with some intelligent work. The rain turns diabolical and it’s like the battle of the Somme out there, trench warfare with each player dealing with the conditions and their opponents in parts. Each tackle is a win, each clearance is another battle solved. The team shows its true mettle. Akinci is under siege and he stands tall with safe hands.
The score becomes irrelevant. The weather is intense. Each player must dig deep and find the spirit to fight. Tuffley heeds Coach’s instructions kicking to space. Troy long to Randall’s safe hands and on down the line, smart, Doyle & Paino persevering in the blizzard. Tackling is impressive, Doyle breaks free again and again. Acts of heroism all over the field. Wells is back from the dead. Players make personal bests in one on ones and through battering attacks. Tuffley disappear into the storm and reappears with the ball. Small achievements and individual lessons learnt. Randall is a man possessed. Rovers just don’t quit and sparks continually spring to light. If possible the rain intensifies… and the Rovers produce more grit. Cassidy digs deep. Lyons is staunch. Palmer & Duffin find wet weather gears. The Bears are relentless in attack yet the Rovers are dogged in defence while its raining bullets.
Now it’s become a sideshow boxing match. Rovers are seemingly against the ropes taking the punishment but still enjoying the fight. Will not be cowed. The Pint-sized reinforcements are called upon to charge into battle. Shoulder to shoulder into the deluge. Haydon chest marks, punts the sodden ball wide to Lyons. Akinci’s long clearing kicks are the basis of each repulsion, wide to running midfielders, Duffin centres to Doyle, Randall with Tuffley are in everything. Paino at half forward show lots of potential in that position. Palmer proves to be quite a wet weather athlete. Akinci goes wide to Paino and up through the middle into the forward 50. Palmer emerges from a pack and drives long. Each minute in the attacking 50 is a minor win. Bodies are on the line. Harris clears to Morris on the halfway, The smothering Randall is a beautiful thing. Rovers did not drop their heads all game. Good to watch.
Final Score: HR – 2 vs CB – 73
Coaches Best: Lyons, Akinci, Troy, Doyle, Palmer, Tuffley