Saturday, August 01, 2015

Wanderers v The Slime

Here's my Facebook post from the other day...

"It's one of my favourite days of the year tomorrow and I hope I'm over this cold by then!! 
   Wanderers travel the few minutes across to Townson Oval [with it's flint hard cricket pitch] and tribal 'Green Room' to play the local derby against 'The Slime' or the Greens of Merewether Carlton in P3, Colts, P2 and P1 grades... Win, lose or draw the Slime will lift to make it a difficult day for us with their scrappy offside play, kicking for the corners and harassing the referees. 
   These days of course the current players are reminded that every game is important and that you need all your normal motivations to play, you need to be focused on what your job is in the team every week and that just playing the Slime is no reason alone to prompt your performance onfield and that it can prove a distraction and fire up the other team to a performance above their place on the points table. This is not why the crowd will be double to normal turnout. Predictably they rose to the P1 challenge last week and inflicted their first defeat on front runners Hamilton Hawks. 
   So it'll be intriguing who handles the 'it's just another important game in our quest to perform at our best for 80mins' kind of way!!
   Well, I love disliking the Greens, the feeling has always been mutual. It's just a bit of friendly rivalry of course ;) It stems from folklore, from Newcastle High, from Surf Club rivalries and inter club histories of certain players, plus the local derby nature that all relates to. 
   I loved getting set for this special challenge and the encounters it has created in past years, the disappointments, the being outplayed, the fighting on-field, the semi final defeat in 1993 that led to two premierships back to back in 94/95 through addressing our mistakes. I liked getting a haircut the week of a Slime game. I liked the year my hair was dyed bottle blond then rockstar red at a youth camp but I knew it needed to be restored to black before the Saturday as it was Slime week.
   I enjoyed being annoyed at the Big Green Day Out when Carlton had all sides in the Grand Final and I will enjoy jeering at them on Saturday come what may!! The better teams will triumph, the refs fortitude will be questioned and rugby will be the winner. 
   I did prefer the old arrangement of the under Green Room Dressing Sheds where both teams could hear each others pre game rev up and the stomping and singing post match. 
I reckon I lost more than I won [but not Grand Finals], but I loved it.
   Go the Two Blues, in your clinical, we just just need to focus on our structures and jobs like any other week, kind of way, smash 'em... 
Of course then there's the pretenders at Hamilton, the not as tough as they sound Blacks, the fighting May East.... each week a unique challenge. 
Anyhow, the steak sandwiches have always been pretty good at Townson!!"

   So today I ventured in to Merewether and enjoyed a gripping afternoon of great rugby, while at the same time catching up with a few blokes I needed to have a yarn with... and keeping an eye on a few others!!
   In that context 3rds did enough to tough out a good win, Colts worked their way into a dominant display and then 2nds looked a little tired and lost the battle of the ruck a few too many times to lose.    
   1sts were outstanding... I doubt Dan Kevill is guilty of an eye gouge, more likely he was being held onto or held down and put his hand on the blokes head to push himself up and try to get free... either way, a red card send off on a touch judge report should have spelled the end of the stunning midfield defence and the potent wide attack of the side Kevy's hits on their big blokes in the first 15mins were inspiring]. Instead they battled to a lead with 14 men, took most of their chances but had a determined Slime come at them... linnets were lost, a little bit of ball was turned over but at the same time the defensive hits kept coming, they got the ball wide, used their driving tackles well and scrapped their way to 33-30. Sam Gilmour missed early kicks and chose to kick for touch rather than try 48m for 3 points [credit for trying to win] bu they turned the ball over and Wanderers double teamed their close to the ruck hit ups for about 30m and valuable minutes to boot the ball out on full time and bring the game to an end 33-30!!
It's got to be close to the best win I've seen from our blokes at Townson in 30 years... I loved it!! 

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