Gippsland Portal Local News:
Miners “fall” into Top Spot !!
Round 7 of Gippsland Rugby League was played at Gaskin Park last Sunday and the very heavy conditions appeared to keep many players away. With three of the four teams playing short on numbers, both games were there for the taking.
By Mark Strini - 18th June 2001 - Back to News
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Round 7 of Gippsland Rugby League was played at Gaskin Park Churchill last Sunday and the heavy conditions that were experienced certainly had no effect on the scoreboards. The notable factor for the day was the lack of players with 3 of the 4 teams playing short, and the results highlighted the absence. The hosting Churchill Gladiators were the only team to field a full squad with reserves, and given that the Gladiators forfeited round 1 for that exact reason, the home team took full advantage of that fact.
In the opening game, Churchill had the task of taking on the League leaders in Traralgon, and with there season at the crossroads, Churchill needed a favourable result to stay in the hunt for a finals berth. The Panthers on the other hand were sitting pretty on top of the ladder. How a week can change all that. The Panthers played short of a full team due to injuries, work commitments and Representative duties to others, but there was no compassion from the Gladiators. The Panthers opened the scoring but the quick response from Churchill levelled it up. In a tight half in which tries appeared to be tough to score, Churchill hit the break leading 16 – 8, but this scoreline for far from convincing given the overlap in players they enjoyed. The second half started as the first ended, tight and low scoring and whilst the struggling Panthers kept there foot in the door, Churchill were doing just enough to hold them at bay. The final 15 minutes changed all that as the tiring Panthers began to open up in defence. The Gladiators took the match and finished full of running, scoring the last 4 tries to take the match 44-12, and really put the pressure on the Brumbies. The Panthers were gallant in there efforts given the numbers on the park, but the Gladiators will take any points on offer against Traralgon, and they certainly enjoyed the win.
The second match between East Gippsland and Morwell was a crunch match for both sides as the season nears halfway. The Miners had opened a gap between 2nd and 3rd, and this was the Brumbies chance to close that gap, but a distinct lack of players turned the match into what should have been a whitewash. The Miners only took the field with 12 players but unfortunately East Gippsland had far less than that. You would not have known it however the way the Miners presented themselves. With a 4 man overlap, this was the Miners chance to catch the Panthers in both points and percentage but the opportunity went begging. East Gippsland took it right up to Morwell from the outset and were scoring tries as if it were the other way around. With Morwell boasting an extra 4 players in defence, it was to everyone’s amazement as to how the Brumbies could create a 2 man overlap out wide, but they did and they capitalised on the Miners disarray. The Miners managed to score themselves when they decided to catch the ball and hang on to it, but it was as if the Miners were in self destruction mode. The Brumbies rattled the Miners and although the Miners led 28 – 20 at the break, it was the Brumbies who took the honours, tearing the Miner defence in pieces with an 8 man attack.
The second half didn’t really improve for the Miners, and although they held a 2 try break throughout the match, the Brumbies were by far the better side, and had they had the numbers, the scoreboard would have been very different indeed. The Brumbies racked up another 18 second half points against Morwell to finish with 38 for the match, a figure that was quite remarkable given the situation they were in. Morwell finished with 56 points to win by 18, but it was really a disappointing effort by them and there inconsistent form continues to trouble the connections.
In wrapping up, Round 7 may well be the one we look back on near the seasons end as a major turning point. The Gladiators are well and truly back in the hunt with a great win, and there match against East Gippsland next week will see them draw level if they can pull off another victory. East Gippsland have now lost 2 on end to see them go from pushing for 1st or 2nd spot, to opening the door for Churchill and possible relegation to last. The Panthers have gone from cruising to bruised. The loss against Churchill was accompanied with the loss of points from round 6 in what would arguably be there worst week in history. This leaves the Miners who are a) struggling for numbers, and b) at the present playing terrible Rugby, basically falling into top spot of the ladder and finding themselves one game clear.
After Round 7
* Penalised 2 Premiership Points
Round 8 of the League travels to Traralgon where the opening match between the hosts and Morwell could be billed as a blockbuster. The problem is that both teams are coming off poor performance’s and are struggling to get players on the park. The passion that these games are played with will ensure a great contest, but cattle in the paddock could well determine who will hold the upper hand. The second match is a crucial one between Churchill and East Gippsland. An East Gippsland win would make Churchill’s finals aspirations very difficult indeed, whilst a loss would see the Gladiators draw level on points, and inflict the Brumbies third loss on end.
Time will tell. Kick off is at 1pm and 3pm at Davidson St Traralgon this Sunday.
Yours in Rugby League - Mark Strini - President.
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