EAGLES LOWER SAINTS’ HALO
Tuesday, 23rd July, 2013
By The Menindian
In what one old time Menindee resident described as the “best game in Menindee in 20 years”, the Menindee Wedgetailed Eagles defeated Broken Hill Saints, 37-32.
The game kicked off in cold, windy conditions and players were committed to play bright, open football.
From end to end and side to side, not much of the park failed to see action.
After a punishing first 10 minutes the Eagles had crossed for twp tries, one each to veteran Daryn Morris and the ultra-consistent Curtis Smith who converted both tries.
The next 10 minutes saw Saints score two tries through Paul Sloan and Kyle Champion, with Matt Kiddle converting the Champion try. Menindee Eagles also scored with crowd favourite Rob Pagon scoring a good try. Rob had the crowd on their feet every time he touched the ball. Smith converted.
At the 28-minute Mark Cursti Smith scored his second try and duly converted. The Eagles led 24-10.
But it appeared that the Eagles became over-confident at that stage and they paid the price.
The final 10 minutes of the first half saw tries to the Saints’ Mick Barber, Kyle Champion and Joel Thompson with Kiddle converting two of the three. Saints were now in the lead 26-24.
The Eagles copped a half time “spray” from coach David “Blister” Blore where he emphasised the need to take control, and the importance of scoring the first two tries of the half.
The players returned to the park all fired up, and did just that. Clint Ferguson scored out wide after just two minutes to give the Eagles the lead again.
The forwards lifted and took control over the much-bigger Saints pack. To a man, they defended harder and attacked much smarter.
Led by captain Ricky Waters, who again led by example, Jim McMillan followed and called on the Eagles’ players for a big effort.
McMillan had his best half of football and the crowd supported him every time he touched the ball or pulled off a big hit.
Mal Marsden, a late convert to Rugby League, was proving hard to handle and the Saints must have got sick of seeing him hitting up again and again.
Curtis Smith is proving to be the Eagles’ most consistent player and again he proved his value.
The wily old fox Daryl Morris scored at the 58-minute mark and Curtis Smith converted. Eagles 34-26.
Spirited attack and defence from both sides had the big crowd on their feet.
Shaun Kemp surprised everyone with a field-goal at the 67 minute mark and just two minutes later Saints’ Adam Betts scored and Kiddle converted. It was 35 to 32 with 10 to go.
Again, defence was strong from both sides and attack was end to end.
The Eagles supporters got behind their side and willed them home.
With a minute to go, the Eagles received a penalty and captain Ricky Watters was given the honour of sealing the win.
Menindee Wedgetailed Eagles defeated Broken Hill Saints, 37-32.
Eagles coach David Blore was smiling like a shot fox after the game.
“Some people thought we couldn’t beat Saints today. I was always confident we could,” Blore said.
“My players stood up today. I knew they would. I am proud of every player who took the field today and even prouder that they played as a team.
“Every player deserves a rap and I thought our forwards paved the way for the win.”
Club statistician Shane Hindmarsh, who was Man of the Match judge, said after the game “It was a hard decision. Every player, I believe, could have won it.
“However, there can only be one winner. For showing maturity beyond his years, the way he called the players and the way he clearly enjoys playing, Shane Blore was the winner.
“He is the youngest player in the squad but played like a veteran.”
A massive game in Wilcannia next week against long-time premiership contenders Boomerangs should be a ripper!