Friday night Football was back on the menu for Suburban Rugby last week and the Dukes travelled to the Sire to take on the Burraneer Porpoises.
John Dwyer Park was the battle field, and it brought back a lot of memories for a lot of players who had trampled the pitch as a junior. In fact there was a good junior rugby game between the junior Porpoises and Canterbury in progress as the crowd grew.
Kick off was at 7:30 and missing a few key positions meant that players were out of position, and in one case were playing in one position in attack and another in defence.
The Dukes kick off and immediately put pressure on the Burraneer forwards. The referee quickly blew a penalty for going off the feet, to get Burraneer out of immediate trouble. A couple of phases from the penalty kick and subsequent throw saw Burraneer in centre field. The referee must have had been out of breath, cause he blew another penalty, this time for coming in from the side, when clearly the there was no one contesting the ruck. But this gave Burraneer another bounce down the pitch.
The Dukes were fired up and wanted to hurt their opposition and a few huge hits later they recovered the ball, and belted it back down the pitch.
As had happened in the previous plays the referee gave a penalty to Burraneer at the next ruck, for not releasing the talked player. The Dukes coach was very displeased by the referee’s decision and muffled his displeasure as Burraneer were given an opportunity to get back into the Dukes half. 2 more penalties and a couple of dropped balls gave Burraneer their first try. The try was converted and the score was 7-0.
From the kick off the Dukes secured a scrum from a dropped ball and went on attack. 3 phases in and the referee gave Burraneer a penalty for not releasing the ball when tackled. Now I have played a lot of rugby, and I know that when you are tackled you must play the ball immediately, but generally there is some leeway for a player when there is no one in the ruck. But no the Dukes were penalised for not releasing. Groans from the Dukes coach and bench.
A quick tap from the Porpoises and the big No.8 thundered onto the bal only to drop it cold after a big Billy “Bob” Hodgetts hit. The ball bounced around on the ground a few times and it was the Dukes leading try scorer Dennis Lee who picked up the pieces and ran 60 metres untouched to score under the posts. 7 – 5 kick to come.
Now goal kicking has been poor all season for the Dukes and it came to our 8th kicker of the year. Untested, Corey Mangan said I’ll have a go. Nice strike of the boot. Over it sailed for his first points in a Dukes Jersey and Rugby in general. 7 – all
There had been a few indiscretions and it looked like the referee had found his other arm, as the Dukes picked up the pace. However the referee did not like this and wanted it played at his pace penalising the Dukes for running to fast (or so it seemed).
Burraneer got the ball down to the Dukes 22 metre area. This had been a strength for the Dukes in past weeks. Tonight was not going to be any different. Some solid defence on the line from all the forwards, and great talk in the backs to call people out. Burraneer wanted to play it in the forwards and this was the way the Dukes liked it. 6 penalties 3 scrums and to many phases to count on hands and feet, was just a little to much for the Dukes though and Burraneer scored their 2nd try.
The Dukes captain approached the referee after the try, for some understanding for his interpretation of the rules of Rugby Union, but it was evident, that he had not been reading the newest version of Rugby for Dummies and really could not be expected to know the rules.
The conversion was missed and the score was 12 - 7
On the half went and with 8 minutes to go, a few phases were put together without referee involvement and the Dukes capitalised with a 2nd try to Dennis Lee, after a strong step around a couple of would be tacklers a solid contact with the winger and a chip over the top to regather. 12- all kick to come.
The kicking tee did not arrive as the trainer was seeing to a Duke who was down, and Mango’s 2nd attempt was a drop goal. This did not go as well as his first attempt. Hopefully he would have a chance to redeem himself.
Now with 5 minutes to go, the Dukes have dropped their guard and let in tries over the last 3 weeks. But this week adamant this would not occur, even with the referee was trying his hardest to make the opposite occur.
Some sustained defence saw the Dukes get a very rare penalty and the referee called last play. “Kick it out was the try from the coach”, but the Dukes felt like something was on.
A few phases and some sloppy play saw the Dukes put themselves in a very tricky position dropping the ball giving play back to Burraneer, but with this referee, he ended up giving a penalty to the Dukes for what he interpreted as a Burraneer player plying the ball on the ground.
The Dukes took the tap again and after a couple of more phases the craziness stopped and the ball was put into touch.
The half time talk was simple. Play hard, don’t talk to the referee, and don’t over commit in the ruck, especially don’t go off your feet.
The 2nd half was strong for the Dukes as they travelled down the pitch. The forwards had heeded the coaches words and were working well, the result was a try to the Dukes 2nd bash brother Luke Greer, playing with a broken finger after a break by Dennis Lee, who was carving up the Burraneer defence. Mango got his kicking boot back on and his 2nd goal, 19 – 12.
The referee had gone back to his old way and was giving penalties for no real reason.
Example 1 – The ball is fed by the Dukes, the ball is won by the Dukes, and the half back passes the ball to the fly half, who off-loads to the Centre who has no-one in front of him. The referee still standing at the back of the scrum, sees that the scrum has fallen over after disengaging. Result; penalty to Burraneer for the Dukes collapsing the scrum. WTF?
Anyway never to be a team to give lip to the ref the Dukes took it in their stride.
The Porpoises had 3 more penalties to get up the pitch, where they scored to get back with in 2 points. 19-17.
The Dukes were now in a slump and the referee had his whip out and was cracking it like Malcolm Johnson on the home straight. The Porpoises went over for a 2nd try of the half, on the back of some good lead up play by the 16th man to take back the lead. 22-19.
The middle of the 2nd half was riddled by mistakes and referee indiscretions.
Example 2 – Dukes centre is running down the field and gets pushed towards touch. He stays in only to have the ball reefed from his grasp and the ball goes into touch off a Burraneer player. The touch judge puts his hand up accordingly. The Burraneer players are not arguing the point, but the referee, starts a stand up argument with the touch judge about what had happened. Instead of a line out to the Dukes, he rules that the ball was knocked on and a scrum should go to Burraneer.
From the scrum the ball was thrown around and the referee felt that this was too much running again so penalised the Dukes for allowing the ball to get past the fly half. 2 more penalties and Burraneer went over in the corner. Now the ball to all on that side looked to be put down touch in goal. The touch judge was standing outside the goal area indicating the fact the ball had gone out. The referee conferred with him and asked did the ball get put down, the touch judge answer, that he believed it was not a try. The referee called it a try. Why even ask if you have made up your mind?
With the score 27-19 the Dukes again fired up and got down the pitch after a couple of knock on’s from the Burraneer outside backs. The Dukes bone-crushing try scorer Dennis Lee got his third hat-trick for the season to out the Dukes back into the game. The goal was converted and they were down by 1 point. 27-26.
As the Dukes pushed the ball down the field with 10 to go the referee wanted back into the game to ruin it, and in a ruling I have never seen and confirmed by him after the game, he crucified the Dukes.
Example 3 – Scrum to Burraneer. Burraneer feed the scrum, and both half backs follow the ball to the back of the scrum. The Burraneer half runs around the scrum and the number 8 picks the ball up with thought of passing it to the half. Denchie at half back tackles the No.8 and he drops the ball. Fair enough you’d say. But no, the referee calls that the Dukes half should retire behind his own scrum. Huh?
From the ensuing penalty, the Porpoises kicked the ball in to the corner and scored in the subsequent phases. Score 32 - 26.
The Dukes still wanted to play footy and never gave up. The referee wanted no part of this, and penalised the Dukes twice more, where the Burraneer boys took shots at goal, missing both, but getting enough time drawn out to take the win.
The final score 32 – 26, being 6 tries to Burraneer (6 try assists to the referee) and 4 tries to the Dukes (unassisted).
A good point to gome out of the game, was the Dukes got 2 bonus points for the game, and Dennis Lee went back into 2nd place on the leading point scorers list.
Also hopefully the boys can take some revenge on the Burraneer boys when we play at home this Saturday.
There wil be a hastey bolt back to the Duke after the game for the Super Rugby Final.