Turtles crush hope for Isis finals glory
THE FAIRYTALE finish Isis Crushers dreamed of was well and truly crushed by Turtles in the Spring Cup semi-final.
Reaching the finals for the first time in five years, the Crushers had to knock off four-time champions Turtles for a place in this week’s grand final.
The plan was to build upon the form Isis had shown in the past fortnight, which pushed Turtles and minor premiers Barbarians until the final whistle.
Unfortunately for the Crushers, Turtles had other plans.
The four-time defending champions taught the Crushers a lesson in rugby as they romped to a demoralising 52-13 win.
Isis was on the back foot from before kick-off, with two of the 22 eligible players withdrawing on game day and another only available from half time.
The familiar reshuffle saw the side forced to make several changes, but the remaining 19 bound together as they had all season, with “nothing to lose and everything to prove”.
Predictions of a brutal clash weren’t far off the mark, as the highly physical opening exchanges set the pace for the 80 minutes.
The forward pack were boosted by the return of Rookie of the Year Ben Devlin, with the prop lining up for his first game in three weeks.
His combination with fellow front-rower Kallum Morgan and hooker Matt Moroney battled hard, with replacement prop Cole Curtis’ 60th minute injection helping the Crushers maintain momentum against a tiring Turtles pack.
Try as they might, they could not overcome the speed of Turtles’ defence, which effectively limited Isis’ attacking opportunities.
Halves Andy Golchert and Kale Hendle worked through the game to turn the tide, but it wasn’t until regular starter Heath Trisdall arrived at the break that Crushers got on top.
Trisdall made an immediate impact, with the outside centre rewarded with a five-pointer after creating a sense of urgency among his teammates.
Hendle converted the try and kicked two penalties, but that was as much damage as the Crusher could inflict on the scoreboard.
HELD BACK: Isis Crushers' Jacob Klassen playing against Turtles in the Spring Cup preliminary final on Friday.