After a long and arduous wait the 2012 season is finally underway and the Marlins are off to a flier!
4 from 7 grades against perennial heavyweights Randwick was a cracking way to kick off the year.
With final positions in all grades solely dependent on Club Championship points it was great to see a strong showing across the grades in our first hit out.
The Village Green is in world class shape at the moment and as the draw would have it our Colts were the first to grace the holy land.
The Baby Marlins were unlucky in 3s and 2s after spirited fight backs in the respective 2nd halves – 2nd Grade were down by as much as 26 -5 only to go down 35 -31 – great effort lads and plenty to build on.
1st Grade had a reasonably comfortable win but newly married Coach Jono Harvey knows there is plenty of improvement in his troops. A bit of early season rust and some ill-discipline hampered what could have been a much easier victory but there are plenty of encouraging signs for the top squad.
Word is that Harvey has a very talented back line to work with and as long as the piggies are winning some pill up front look for this side to start weaving some magic out wide! Strong performances from young fly-half Rhys Hodge, “veteran” speedster James Arnold and full back Alex Northam who looks primed for a huge year! Alex was selected for the Australian Schoolboys in 2011 and has had very strong showings at the Kiama 7s and in the trials. Man of the match was local junior Steve Chapman who after spending most of 2011 in 3s it looks like he is ready to cut it in the top grade.
Great stuff boys, let’s hope next weekend you can repeat the marvelous result of 2011 by downing the GPS All Stars, I mean Students.
Over at Coogee the Marlins fared a little better taking 3 out of 4 grades in a “smash and grab” effort.
Let’s not beat around the bush though; the 1st Grade match might easily have been the most boring game of Rugby ever played. Referee Angus Gardiner will need a new pea for his whistle as he blew it 4367 times. The only thing as painful and repetitive as the whistle was the ground announcer. If it wasn’t an unnecessary time update it was a woeful sponsor’s plug. Peters of Kensington might want to do the numbers on whether this bloke is the best promotional avenue available, he was absolutely horrendous.
Anyway, the boys got through and came away with the chocolates 20-6. Get in, get out, and talk about it later.
What is pleasing was that Randwick failed to score a try and that doesn’t happen very often at Coogee! A couple of good performances from the top squad including Jack Rowntree who scored a neat little try in the 1st half and prop Dane Maraki who was very busy around the park.
The Reggies did absolutely everything in their powers to lose their match against the Wicks, bad passes, bad options, missed tackles, soft penalties, (yours truly contributing well in all of those departments!!) BUT somehow the boys notched 6 tries in a bonus point win! I guess the pleasing thing is even after 2 back to back intercepts where the boys went behind on the scoreboard there was never any panic shown. Amongst the mayhem of this match there were some strong performers. The back 3 of Cole, Reti and Polwart worked as well as a tight knit unit, Mitch Gibson as usual was busy at the breakdown. The most impressive performance was from new breakaway, Ryan Hodson, who was in everything and more – plenty of promise from the young West Australian.
3s went down hard in a match where Randwick dominated from the outset. The No 8 for the Wicks was doing plenty of damage up the middle and the missed first up tackles were very costly. There were a couple of good performers in the rout though including Myles Hopper (younger brother of former 1st grader Matt) who scored a try and was very solid in defence and a tireless performance from centre Mark Watson who was in everything.
It’s been a long time since the 4s have posted a win at Coogee but on Saturday the drought was broken after a vintage performance from the boys. The Marlins dominated from the outset setting the pace and posting a few quick tries. The tempo slowed in the 2nd half and Randwick started playing footy, mounting a brave comeback. It was too little too late for the Wicks though as the Marlins took the spoils in a 4th grade classic. Cameron Pyne directed traffic beautifully at 10 and he looks like he might be a little bit too good for the “Kelly Gang”. Man of the Match was none other than club favourite Brad Meaney who was a colossus in defence and was an inspiration for his team-mates. Meaney an inspiration? You heard it here first.
All in all a great day for the Marlins but as expected plenty of improvement left in all grades as we get set to tackle the Empire on Saturday.
See you on the hill!