The victory went to the visiting team today as Taminmin College defeated the MacKillop Saints 20-16 at Saints Field in the first round of the inaugural Academy Cup competition.
Taminmin got off to a flying start in the first half of the proceedings with two quick tries down their left flank which really got MacKillop onto the back foot early. It seemed the Saints minds might still have been in the dressing sheds when the visitors went in for a third but a great backline finishing try to Saints player of the match, Darcy Nalder, saw the the team get points on the scoreboard before the halftime whistle sounded.
During the halftime break, coach Matthew Sharp reminded the boys that it was attitude that was letting them down in all aspects of play and that a commitment to doing the little things right and making the 1% plays would see the team play better in the second half. Fill in captain, Nathan Dixon, appealed to his team to come out in the second half with renewed enthusiasm and to have pride in their performance.
Dixon’s words seemed to have effect as the Saints came back from the halftime break with a renewed spirit and looked ready to play.
A great solo effort from super-sub, Brody Reed, really helped turn the tide of the match and when scores were levelled by another try to Darcy Nalder, it looked like MacKillop had all the momentum and might go on to take the lead. Unfortunately for the Saints, a brace of scoring opportunities were adjudicated as no tries and another brace of scoring opportunities were missed as a result of knock-ons with the try line in sight. When Taminmin were able to get over the white stripe late in the second half, the game was then won and the spirited comeback was over.
Speaking about the result today, Coach Sharp said -
‘While it is always disappointing to lose in front of a home crowd in a cup tie, there are a lot of positives to take from the match. Taminmin are a great team headed by a really good rugby league coordinator and were always going to be a test for us. The way the team came back in the second half is a great representation of their character. Maybe on another day the missed opportunities get taken and this report sounds very different, but thats footy. Today was just one of those days’.
When questioned about who impressed with their play today, Sharp cited player of the match, Darcy Nalder, who he said he was really impressed with today, Mitchell Hausler, whose hard work in the off-season has seen his play and physicality improve greatly and also Crocs Harland, who saw time in the unfamiliar position of front row coming in from his usual position on the wing. Perhaps a positional change is ahead for the versatile, Harland.
Taminmin rugby league coordinator Dean White described the encounter as a game of two halves. He thanked the Saints for a tough opening match up and said that he looked forward to another meeting in the Eels Cup competition later next term.
Thanks this week must go to the great crowd that assembled at MacKillop Field today to support the team. It is always a thrill to perform in front of your home crowd. Thanks must also go to the sideline officials, Lachlan Charman and Izyiah Pairama for assisting with the officiating.
Attention now turns to next week when the Saints senior team faces Palmerston Senior College for the annual Palmerston Cup. See you at 4pm next Wednesday at MacKillop Field to see club captain, Jayden Hunter, lead the team for the first time this year.