A hard fought battle saw the Eagles edge out the Stars Monday afternoon. Solid games from both sides saw the eagles on top 24-26
The Eagles defence looked broken from the kick off, often scrambling to match the stars as they held possession for the first ten minutes. 2 minutes in this resulted in a Try for James Dargaville, running through a gap ridden defence. Jack Macklin getting the kick over.
As a result the Eagles previously broken defence tightened up and halted the game for about 10 minutes. With 28 minutes to go McKibbin almost broke through the stars line with a runaway off the back of a ruck before being tackled by the last man and going down. With the pressure growing and both teams having trouble keeping their composure, penalties and cards started coming out. The first being that of Mitch Chapman, leaving the eagles a man down with a scrum 5 metre from their line. Sam Quinn scoring off the back, leaving the Stars leading 16-0 with Macklin’s conversion after 20 minutes.
It took another 10 minutes for the eagles to find their rhythm with a nice set of passes, cutting through the stars seeing Ethan Ford go in for the try. With Sam Windsor converting it left the Eagles only a try behind now. Soon the Stars got a yellow for Sam Quinn which allowed Andrew Kellaway to run away from the stars, Jono Sullivan only just making the try saving tackle. The Stars couldn’t rest yet though, as a penalty was given for a bad throw in the lineout and the Eagles gained a scrum 5 metres from the line which lead to a quick pass out the back allowing Ethan Ford to go in for his second try, only just flying over the line. This try went unconverted however and 5 minutes later we saw the try scorer sent off, leading the Eagles to wonder if they’d ever get on top.
This didn’t stop them from trying. A few times the Eagles got into a position to get on top just before half time, bad handling saw them drop it with a couple of opportunities, but they fought hard and when Paddy Ryan got sent off and they gained a lineout in the corner, an old school Maul saw them leading at half time 21-16.
The Second half got off to a gun start for the Eagles with Pauli Tuala running away inside the minute before dropping the ball literally 30cm from the line. However this exciting proceeded a hard fought battle in the centre of the field over the next 10 minutes before Jake Gordon got caught short by a giant tackle from Cameron Treloar. The Stars started to look dangerous at this time but failed to utilise their position against a very hard hitting defensive line. Another good run saw Apakuki Ma’afu run away from the Stars defence stopping to think for too long whilst handling errors plagued both sides leading to large amount of scrums.
Heading into the last quarter Jim Stewart ran 55 metres for the stars after the eagles botched a pass to score under the posts leading them just ahead at 24-21 after the conversion. The Stars showed some mighty defensive forward effort after the try when the eagles tried to barrel it over in the pack. 2 mauls and a scrum later however, there still wasn’t a try to be seen whilst the eagles lost their composure.
Leading into the last ten the eagles threatened again when Sam Windsor broke through charging down the field. But with the eagles running with the pace and the stars frantically defending having been worn down, Captain Cam Treloar went in for the try after nearly dropping the pass.
This lead to a few minutes of frantic action, the stars attacking to get the points, eagles pushing back to defend, but no more points were scored and on a final penalty against the stars for holding onto the ball, we saw the game sealed.
The Game Changer
The Eagles pushed hard to take the points before half time, taking the psychological lead with them.
The G&GR MOTM
Cam Treloar showed his experience and poise, particularly when smashing the Stars in Defence
Players to watch
Jack Macklin and Jono Sullivan performed well for the stars whilst Tala Gray created heaps of space for his other performing outside backs in known names Brendan Mckibbin and Andrew Kellaway
Score & Scorers
Tries: 3 (James Dargaville, Sam Quinn, Jim Stewart)
Conversions: 3 (Jack Macklin)
Tries: 4 (2x Ethan Ford, unsure, Cameron Treloar)
Conversions: 2 (Sam Windsor)
Cards & citings
Eagles 2 (Ethan Ford, Mitch Chapman)
Stars 2 (Paddy Ryan, Sam Quinn)