Greens Assistant Coach and Vice Captain Josh Price gives the low down from their second match.
Round 2, and after a great win to kick off the season the mighty Cougars were up against it, missing our Captain, Coach, our Line-out Maestro, the 2012 Players Player and many more. This actually led to a pre-match default as we couldn't front 3 underweight front rowers. But we carried on and played another classic Cougar match.
The Cougars are not a team to shy from a challenge and we showed up ready to play the largely unknown Waikanae who travelled down to play us on the SPC Artificial.
Again the Cougars got off to a quick start looking to spread the ball wide off a good forwards platform. Fullback Greg Buckley and returning winger Brad Schaare finding the space out wide while out of position forwards Max Schofield, Jason Botherway and filling in Reds players Tim McBride and Jared Burns controlling the set piece.
As the game got into the groove, it quickly became apparent that both teams were looking to spread the ball wide resulting in long phases of play and consequently this long sentence.
A kick out on the full by myself at first-five gave Waikanae possession in our own territory, and after an infringement at the ruck they slotted a penalty from 40 metres out to take the early lead.
After conceding an offside penalty at the kick off, the Cougars again had a defensive line out, but this time a Waikanae overthrow saw fullback/wing come lock Tim McBride collect and then produce a glorious kick into the Waikanae corner. Then a case of De ja vu occurred with Tim collecting the next line out before running 10 metres and evading a tackle or two to open the Cougars account with a try in the corner.
I missed the kick...by miles. 5-3 Cougars
This fired Waikanae up as they realised we were no easy beats. After the kick off they quickly gained possession in our half and threw wave after wave at us, after withstanding the pressure a penalty was conceded for another 3 points 5-6
As Waikanae got into their groove, they again found themselves on attack. This time turning down penalties as they backed themselves to get over the line. A sound defensive effort from the Cougars saw our line untouched except by MSP second five-eight Jordan Walsh who held an opponent up before stripping the ball and forcing it in goal. The ref who was confused by the teams similar colours awarded the try, before common sense made him award a 5 metre scrum instead.
Two plays later with Waikanae still on attack they looked to spread it wide and just as they were looking to finally break the resilient defence, winger Enda Costello plucked the ball out of mid air and ran triumphant 90 metres triumphantly to score under the posts.
After converting his own try the score was 12-6.
This buoyed the Cougars who immediately went on the attack with Luge Egan taking it out wide before a quick set of hands and a beautiful ball by debutant Nick Neyar put Tim McBride in a gap to score his second in the corner and take the Cougars to a half time lead of 17-6. Again the kick went wide.
Waikanae came out in the second spell with a vengeance, immediately regathering the ball and rolling up field with simple one off and pick and go plays. The Cougar defence was finally breached and Waikanae scored. The kick was missed 17-11.
Waikanae began to dominate the game as the Cougars began to get tired due to a lack of substitutes and the games fast flowing, long phase nature. Another phase of Waikanae attack saw them crash over with 20 minutes to go and take the lead after the conversion. 17-18.
Again further pressure from Waikanae saw them nearly go over again except for a great tackle by half back Vince Murphy, and an over excited Waikanae touch judge who put his flag up in celebration as Waikanae went over in the corner. The ref seeing the flag up, immediately ruled the ball had gone out.
The game then entered a frantic phase where every play looked to open up the game both ways. A great back line move saw me slice through the Waikanae back line and offload to Luke Egan in a reminiscent play from our previous game. But the ball drifted forward and the probable run away try was halted.
The returning Wolfman and Sam O were everywhere both playing out of position in the back row.
The Cougars were unable to build enough pressure and the game finished at 17-18 to Waikanae.
A gallant effort from the depleted Cougars will no doubt give great confidence to the team going forward.
No falcons created by Enda this week...slightly disappointed buddy.