Gorillas Secure Home Final in Tough Win
The Gorillas Colts travelled to Orange on their own this week to take on Orange City and were in for a tough day right from the start with players numbers not being in their favour yet again which is something they have had to contend with all season. But there is no question of their desire to do well though as they have continually put in inspiring performances and this week was no exception. The Colts fought hard all game and came out the other end losing only 36 to 34 and there was some disappointment as some handling errors prevented the mighty Gorillas from scoring more points and different stages through the game. Another great effort that should help motivate them for finals.
Meanwhile, in Bathurst, the Gorillas Womens side are showing their intentions for this year putting on a wonderful display against genuine title contenders in the CSU Mitchell side. The first half of the game was a very tight tussle with the scores staying even as the teams traded points. CSU used their size to march down the field and get over the line while the Gorillas made the most of some loose ball and space to keep pace with some long range efforts, one such to Madeline Piccolo who kicked a loose ball down-field, getting the bounce and running 60m to score.
The second half was a different story as the Gorillas seemingly wore down their opponents and continued to apply pressure on CSU building momentum as the game went on. Bec Smyth was at her devastating best, and Alice Theberge didn’t waste an opportunity storming through for a few five pointers. After defending well all game, Players-Player Lakeisha Hull finished off a great game for herself bagging two tries toward the close of play. An excellent performance that sees the Women seventh on the ladder and guaranteed a finals spot in a fortnights time.
It seems the Men don’t travel as well as the Women, as both seniors sides did it tough in their trip to CSU. 2nd Grade had a short bench but still had a solid team run-out onto the field, unfortunately, it was short lived as CJ Smyth came off injured after a short period of time causing a shuffle in the back-line and a few players out of position. It must be noted that 2nd Grade hasn’t had a game for 3 weeks and it probably showed as their positional play was a bit scrappy and their scrum was struggling to hold together.
Andrew Gibson was obviously feeling fresh after a few weeks off as his work-rate was up and he managed to push over for a double as the Gorillas and CSU went point for point for most of the game. Bill Rybak has continued his scintillating form returning from a broken hand as he was asked to player in the centres this week and showed his versatility bringing some good intensity out wide and earning himself Players-player for the day. In the end it was only a conversion that separated the sides with the Narromine Boys holding on for a 19-17 win. They remain well clear on the top of the table and will enjoy the home final in two weeks.
The Narromine 1st Grade was also troubled in their trip to Bathurst as they seemed to be on the wrong side of the penalty-count and turned over a lot of ball to the opposition as their usual polished structure and enthusiasm was left in Narromine. When they got it right the Gorillas scrum and line-out was world class and the CSU men couldn’t match the strength of the Narromine boys as they made plenty of meters with their fantastic mauling. Mitchell Rixon has really stepped up as a team leader of late and showed a lot of determination in his efforts during the game running hard for plenty of post contact meters and also putting in a few unbelievable defensive efforts stringing consecutive tackles together on a number of occasions to halt CSU’s momentum.
Blly Browning was a welcome return on the wing supporting well and putting his body on the line to make some impressive tackles out wide. There were plenty of forwards in the players points today with back-rowers Sam McLeod and Craig Campbell doing a lot of hard work stringing phases together and making plenty of meters, and loose forwards Jack Neill and Michael Harris being ever-present wherever they were needed, Tim Allworth put in another Captains effort and was lightning fast at the breakdown turning over some valuable possession for the visiting team.
Despite all the good that the Gorillas were doing, a lack of structure and cohesion in open play seemed to create an unneeded sense of urgency as they literally threw a lot of ball away pushing passes in attack helping CSU stay in the game. CSU didn’t need a lot of help however, as some exceptional individual efforts and some missed one-on-one tackles from the Gorillas saw CSU streak out of danger and into the Gorillas in-goal to stay neck-and-neck on points. At 22 points each, the game was finally decided by a penalty goal right on full time which was kicked by Colt Carlos Nykolyn, who has made the trip from Orange to play his second game of Rugby for the day and wore the pressure of the win right at the death, slotting it to get the Gorillas home 25-22.
In what is likely to be the Grand Final match-up the Gorillas will be happy to get the home advantage in the first round of finals and will hope to secure a home Grand Final thereafter. The Gorillas are at Home to the Dubbo Rhinos this week in our annual Beat the Breakdown Round. See our Facebook page for all the details!