Unbeaten start to season exacts a heavy toll on Old Boys
NORTH Ward’s unbeaten start to the Townsville and District Rugby Union is coming at a heavy cost.
Scenes in the Hugh St dressing rooms following a hard-fought 26-20 win over University resembled a war zone more than a place of celebration on Saturday afternoon as injuries ravaged the Old Boys.
After losing influential forward Dan Withers ( shoulder) for up to six games last week, fellow forward Daniel Wright ( knee) and centre David Rangi were both forced from the field before halftime. Rangi’s replacement, winger Robert Bita, then became another casualty just after the break.
‘‘ I’m not doing well with the injuries,’’ Old Boys coach Mick Smith lamented.
But North Ward continued to fight hard, rallying to lead 26-8 after two quick tries to start the second half. Uni, though, would not fold and showed their own resilience when they closed the gap to six with a few minutes to play, hammering the Old Boys’ line in search of a match winner.
‘‘ If there had been another minute we probably would Smith quipped.
‘‘ But I thought our desperation ( in defence) throughout the whole game was good – the scrambling defence and general defence was good.’’
Despite suffering defeat, it was a great turnaround from University after they were thumped 75-3 by Teachers West last week.
‘‘ They’re going to worry other sides,’’ Smith said students.
University coach Steve Gowdy said Saturday’s result was a far more genuine indication of what
lost,’’ all the of the the team can offer in season 2011.
‘‘ It was good to have a few of our regular players back, that made a difference, and it was also a fact that we had training – getting back on the field makes a big difference,’’ he said.
‘‘ There’s still a lot of work to do . . . but we’ll be getting better.’’
Burdekin joined the Old Boys as the only unbeaten teams after two rounds following a tough 17-10 win over Teachers. They have now beaten the premiers and runnersup in back-to-back games.
Canetoads coach Brendan Casey said after a scratchy win in the opening round his team was starting to find its rhythm.
‘‘ It was a good armwrestle,’’ he said of the clash with last year’s minor premiers.
‘‘ We worked our way towards a couple of tries this weekend, which was good. We held on to our ball for eight or nine phases.
‘‘ The things we’re working on at training seem to be paying off . . . so we’re all working from the same page at the moment, which for two games in is pleasing.’’
In the other game, Brothers were far too good for Ross River, running away with a 74-nil victory.