With the Rebels loss last night the Brumbies suddenly might have something to play for. The Chiefs have stumbled on occasion this year but the Brumbies can’t just hope this is one of those games, they need to take their chances and not wait for a stumble.
The Brumbies started poorly. They spent the first quarter of the match grimly holding on and turning any possession back over to the Chiefs so that they could run it back at them. Still, at 3-0 they were still well in the game on the scoreboard if not on the field.
All that changed in minutes as the Chiefs ran in two smashing tries in ten minutes to stretch the lead out to 17-0. Damien McKenzie the stand out in general play and especially the second try. After making the initial break off yet another Brumbies turnover, he got back up for a brilliant second effort to score to the left of the posts. With the halftime siren sounding he is the standout leader in the race for the coveted GAGR MOTM award.
The Other Half
The Brumbies played with more intent in the second half scoring a well-deserved try to Henry Speight and were hard on attack, looking for their second when Damien McKenzie (yeah that guy again!) intercepted the try scoring pass and sprinted off down the field. Only the chase from Tom Banks, one of the few players who could match him for pace, stopped a certain try. But it only slowed the inevitably and the Chiefs scored a couple of phases later.
Jesse Parete got binned for taking out Lucas high and late and the game changed. Firstly, Tom Banks and then Henry Speight scored converted tries while he was off the field and with five minutes to go the Brumbies trailed 24-19 and had all the momentum. But it wasn’t to be. The Brumbies gave the Chiefs a shot at goal then they ran out of time. The final score was 24-19
The Game Changer
Damien McKenzie’s intercept was enough to tip the game in the Chiefs favour. If that pass had gone to hand the Brumbies score five points instead the Chiefs got seven. that was enough to change the result.
The G&GR MOTM
Damien McKenzie. No one else was close.
Tevita Kuridrani put his hand up for Samu Kerevi’s 13 jersey. Joe Powell looked slow and the Brumbies went better when Lucas came on. But that often happens with reserve halfbacks.
Score & Scorers
Tries: Nathan Harris, Damien McKenzie, Johnny Fa’auli
Conversions: Damien McKenzie 3
Penalties: Damien McKenzie
Tries: Henry Speight, Tom Banks
Conversions: Wharenui Hawera 2
Cards & citings
Jesse Parete (Cheese)