Roseville Chase Oval hosted top of the Kentwell Cup table team Balmain against home-side Brothers on Saturday 30th May. The Brothers Rugby Club have moved into the Division One Kentwell Cup this season from the Division Two Barraclough Cup due to an extremely strong 2014 season.
Brothers remain seventh on the table in the new competition, and statistically seem to be holding their own weight in the higher division.
Balmain remains a strong competitor season after season and this tight-knit club seems to provide similarly stylised rugby.
Brothers looked to depict themselves as a formidable competitor at this level, right from the beginning of the game, delivering punishing, hard-hitting rugby.
Both forces kept the game fairly static in the Brothers half, Balmain progressively chipping away at the Brothers defence until a penalty for ruck infringements was called and Balmain scored first with an attempt at goal.
Off the kick off, Balmain used their ridiculously tall captain and second-rower, Ryan Wilson to regain possession and then mobilise his forwards to continue chipping away at the Brothers. The Brothers looked to assert some dominance, delivering some bone-crushing hits in the forwards and to the inside backs as they attempted to clear the ball to the wings.
Not too long later, Balmain managed to whisk the ball out wide to the dynamic and extremely quick winger Joey Marston, blazing it down the wing before popping back inside to outside centre Tom Redden who got over for the first try of the day.
At this stage the characteristics of the two teams was becoming more and more obvious. Brothers looked to smash fear into a very organised team that looked to adapt to such conditions to easily to be shaken. Nevertheless, open side flanker Jone Tagivetaua ruthlessly administered hits that could be heard from the sideline, consistently throughout the game.
Balmain looked to be forming solid play with their inside backs setting the pace but fly-half Scott Meakin was taken out by a huge hit from Tagivetaua. This resulted in a small disagreement between both forces’ forwards and allowed fly-half Scott Meakin another shot at goal that he slotted easily.
The Brothers soon seemed to become frustrated, as their brutality caused little to no reaction from the Balmain forwards.
Instead, Balmain used strict formation and ball running from loose forwards, Michael Harkins & Ofa Finau, inside centre Ben Stanton and winger Joey Marston who gained considerable space for their side.
However both teams held tight for the rest of the half, ending it at 13-0.
Off the restart, with a few fresh additions to their team, the Brother’s look passionate in their game, working the game into Balmain’s 22 before attempting a shot at goal. Missing the attempt allowed for Balmain to slot a penalty of their own, and another, as the Brothers defence lost discipline momentarily.
Balmain could sense the disorganisation and used it immediately.
A scrum to the Brothers in their own 22 was demolished by the Balmain tight five. The Brothers kept the ball but shanked the clearance, opening up a counter attack try for Balmain winger John Hale.
The kick off came short and allowed for another scrum to Balmain on half way. Fly-half Meakin was able to feed a short inside ball to loop-running winger Marston who was untouched as he broke the first line of defence. Drawing the fullback Marston then popped the ball outside to inside centre Stanton who scored another quick try for his side.
The score was now 33-0 and Balmain were clearly displaying why they are top of the table.
However, the Brothers remained mentally in the game as they returned almost immediately with a try of their own from a sneaky break from inside centre Stanton, busting over the line off of well-worked phase play by his forwards.
At this stage, the game was becoming increasingly more intense as Brothers still looked convinced they were in it with a shot, and appeared that way to a degree.
However, tricky footwork from Blamain’s Stanton led to a big break up the guts of the field from behind halfway. Brought down about 10 metres from the try line, he did well to pop the ball just before hitting the ground; open flanker Michael Harkins catching the pop and diving over the line under the posts for the final try of the game.
The final score was 40-7 Balmain looking pleased with their dominance, yet Brother’s not appearing demeaned by the game by any means.