Last-gasp loss for gal­lant Lions

Fremantle Gazette - - WAFL -

THE sun shone on Suc­cess in what was a lovely win­ter’s day for rugby, as the Lions hosted Palmyra at the Lions’ Den at the week­end.

Af­ter in­flict­ing heart break on the Har­ris­dale Arks sev­eral weeks ago in a come-frombe­hind win in the fi­nal minute of the game, it was the Lions’ turn to feel such heartache as Palmyra snatched victory with the fi­nal play of the game 25-22.

The game was a bril­liant con­test and a salient re­minder of just how lit­tle sep­a­rates the Premier­ship teams in the lower half of the ta­ble.

With no Force boys avail­able to any lo­cal clubs this week, both teams had to rely on their reg­u­lar starters to get the job done. Although out­sized by the taller and heav­ier Palmyra back­line, the Lions’ new-look back­line was not to be out­mus­cled or – ex­cept with the fi­nal play of the game – out­classed.

Cor­rect­ing their er­rors of ex­e­cu­tion from last week, the Lions looked sharper in at­tack, with English re­cruit Gwyn Parks putting on a mas­ter­ful dis­play and distribut­ing the ball well, while new wingers Isi Ped­er­sen (re­turn­ing to the Lions af­ter some time away) and Ja­son Mer­rie (back in af­ter play­ing over­seas) both fit­ted well into the Lions’ back­line.

How­ever, the shin­ing light for the Lions was the set piece, with debu­tant hooker Joe Claes per­form­ing well in the un­ac­cus­tomed role and the Lions’ for­wards as a whole dom­i­nat­ing the more sto­ried Palmyra pack.

Fight­ing their way into the game to lead 22-20 in the fi­nal minute, the Lions sought to keep Palmyra locked down on their half and see out the game but it was not to be and Pally sal­lied from deep in their 22 to score from long range af­ter the Lions made a fatal mis­read in de­fence to see Palmyra run out win­ners. Sam Nunn

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