The Melbourne Rising have come from behind to record a narrow 37 – 36 over a spirited Greater Sydney Rams.
The match was played in glorious conditions at the Latrobe Sporting Fields in Morwell. The Rising have scheduled all home games at different locations; a great initiative that takes the game across the state.
The Rams took early possession and ran well with ball in hand. Strong defence from the Rising quelled the attacking raids and managed to turn limited opportunities into decent field position. The limited attacking plays by the Rising fizzled with some poor handling.
Filipe Vilitati soon found trouble with the referee, earning a yellow card for no arms in the tackle. A Scrum penalty and quick lineout saw the Rams score the first try of the match. Jed Gillespie was lucky to gather the ball on the wing and score in the corner. Ayuob failed to convert the try, leaving the score at 5 – 0 Rams.
The Rams turned up the pressure at Scrum time, putting the Rising on the back foot all across the field. Lopeti Timani joined Vilitari on the sidelines, earning a yellow card for slowing down the play after a Rising Penalty.
Despite playing with thirteen men, the Rising managed to find gaps and charge deep into Rams territory. Ah Nau and Chubb both came close to scoring, but the Rams defence somehow managed to hold the line. The pressure finally turned into point for the Rising with Colby Fainga’a scoring from the back of a rolling maul. Debreczei missed the conversion, leaving the scores at 5 all.
After the restart the Rams were able to gain possession from a turnover deep in Rising territory. In good field position, the Rams scored another try under the posts. Marcus Carbone found was in good field position and found a gap in a weakened defence. Ayuob converted and the visitors were out to a 13 – 5 lead.
In the shadows of half time the Rams repeated breakdown infringements at the ruck earned Jed Holloway a yellow card. The Rising weren’t able to capitalise and the scored remained 13 – 5 to the Rams at the break.
The Rising made some personnel changes, which made an immediate impact to the game intensity. Deep in the Rams 22, a number of phases finally saw Tom English get his first touch and score his first of two tries. Debreczei was able to convert and tie the scores up at 13 all.
The Rising continued to probe the Rams defensive line and almost scored through Debreczei, only to lose the ball within sight of the try line. The Rising were soon rewarded with Jonah Placid skipping through the Rams defence to score under the posts. Debreczei converted and the Rising moved to a 21 – 13 lead.
The Rams then stepped up their intensity and built an imposing score. Braces to both Michel McDougall and Jed Holloway allowed the Rams race out to a 36 – 21 lead. At this point the Rams were dominating all around the park and starved the Rising of any real opportunity.
With about 15 minutes to play the Rising again lifted in hope of an unlikely victory. Sustained pressure on the Rams allowed Debreczei to set Jordy Reid up for a try under the posts. The successful conversion narrowed the gap to seven points.
With time running and the crowd holding the breath, the Rising made one final charge towards the Rams line. Despite a strong defensive effort, the Rising broke the Rams line and score out wide. Tom English collected the deft pass from Jordy Reid, allowing him to score a brace.
With the Rising a point behind Jack Debreczei lined up for a pressure kick. The crowd fell silent, Jack lined up, and kicked the conversion. The Rising hit the lead for the first time 37 – 36.
The game was not over yet; two extra minutes seemed like and eternity for the crowd. The Rams pushed hard towards the try line, only to be thwarted by Colby Fainga’a. A penalty earned, the Rising finished the game with a kick to touch. Final score 37 – 36 Rising.
The Game Changer
With the game slipping away, the Rising lifted in the last fifteen minutes in all facets of the game. The two tries scored was a result of a big team effort in all facets of the game.
The G&GR MOTM
The Rams forward pack dominated the set piece and provided the opportunity for Jed Holloway to score a brace and earn the MOTM. Credit to Dom Shipperley who had a wonder game at outside centre.
Oz Baabaa Watch
After a slow start Jai Ayuob played a good flyhalf game. He showed a nice balance between kicking and passing to steer the team into an almost winning position.
Score & Scorers
Tries: English (2), Fainga’a, Placid, Reid
Conversions: Debreczeni (4)
Tries: Holloway (2), McDougall (2), Gillespie, Carbone,
Conversions: Ayoub (2)
All Photos courtesy of Kevin OConnor.