A try after siren gave Harlequins a much needed 11-14 victory against Footscrayon Saturday afternoon. The win, coupled with Southern Districts loss away to Moorabin ensures that the race for second spot is still alive heading into the final round of fixtures next week.
Dodemaide Oval had felt the full force of Friday’s weather, and the greasy conditions did not encourage an expansive style of play. Footscray headed into the match as slight favourites and started the stronger.
Within five minutes the Footscray right winger had crossed for the first try of the match via a sharp blindside play from five meters out. Footscray extended their lead five minutes later with a penalty goal after some promising attack and looked to be playing the better rugby in the conditions. They were unlucky not to improve their lead as their forwards dominated and gave the Bulldogs good field position for much of the second half.
Quins mounted a number of attacks late in the half through some enterprising attacking play from their fullback, who was a constant threat down the right side. Another penalty goal though saw Footscray stretch their lead to 11-0 and as the conditions started to get the better of the sides, it looked a handy lead. Quins continued to keep ball in hand and should have had a try down the left on the 32nd minute when a certain try was butchered by a poor final pass.
Footscray came out to dominate in the second half and should have extended their lead within five minutes, missing a penalty goal from just off to the left of the sticks. Footscray spent an extended period of time in the Quins quarter through dominant forward play and a superior lineout. Quin’s defence was resolute and as they resisted wave upon wave of Footscray pressure their resolve seemed to intensify.
A break down the left against the run of play saw Harlequins finally gain some field position as the game entered the final quarter. On the half hour mark a break off the back of the ruck saw Quins cross the line for the first time in the match, only to be ruled to have been held up. The tide was turning and Harlequins clawed a try back in the 34th minute and the subsequent conversion made the score 11-7. Momentum had swung full circle and Harlequins were back in the opposition 22 from the kick off. As the game entered injury time last ditch scrambling defence by the Bulldogs tried to force a Quin’s error but eventually the weight of numbers being thrown into the breakdown left holes in the defence and Harlequins crossed for the winning try.