Harlequins fought off a spirited Footscray side in the second round of Dewar Shield action on Saturday, taking the points 22-16.
The home side started stronger and opened the scoring with a try to Harlequins’ fullback Justin Marsters in the seventh minute. Marsters beat two defenders on his run down the left hand touchline, the opportunity provided to him after a phase play from within their own quarter. The sides traded penalty goals before Footscray got within two after a second penalty kick to Martin Nahafu in the 20th minute.
In a game already dominated by committed defence, Bulldogs’ flanker Tim Diack pulled off a try saving tackle on Quins’ centre Majorkah Schuster to deny the home side. Footscray’s physicality was rewarded shortly after with the visitors crashing over through Tuipine Apineru after a drive off the back of an offensive line out. A 40 metre penalty goal from Nahafu stretched the Bulldogs’ lead to 16-8 before the Quins’ mounted an offensive in the last five minutes of the first half.
A penalty goal on from an attacking raid got Quins’ within five and they soon levelled, with the try coming off the back of a rolling maul. The sides went in to the break locked at 16 all.
Quins’ kicked into a 19-16 lead with an early penalty before the game tightened up in the middle of the park. Lloyd Johansson came on for Quins and his raking boot kept the Bulldogs’ playing out of their own half. A bust through the middle from the Nahafu threatened to split the game open but the visitors were held up over the line.
When Footscray lock Ikuna Tukuafu was given a yellow card for not using his arms in the tackle, Johansson extended the home side’s lead to six. Marsters threatened to book-end the game with a second try but a last ditch tackle from stand out Bulldogs’ fullback Michael Toetu, kept the visitors in the game until the referee blew the final whistle.
Box Hill went down to Melbourne 78-13 and Southern Districts had their first win of the season, beating Endeavour Hills 29-12. University gave up a 22-0 lead at half time to go down to premiers Moorabbin at Parkville. Rebel Rising defeated NSW Country 31-12 in a fixture played after the Harlequins clash.
Match of the round next week sees Melbourne host Harlequins, with Endeavour taking on Melbourne Uni, Moorabbin travelling to Box Hill and Power House taking on Footscray at the ‘Pound’.