Underdogs make Grammar coach’s heart race
Stressed out is one way of describing Grammar Carlton coach Brandon Jackson’s demeanour during their 3114 win over Eden-Roskill at Gribblehirst Park on Saturday.
“I’ve got a bit more grey hair, I’m slightly balder and my heart is slightly weaker than on Friday,” Jackson says.
“We could have won by 60 or we could have lost the game.”
Jackson says he knew before the match Eden-Roskill would be a tough assignment, despite sitting 14th in the 16-team competition.
“We took them a bit lightly and blew opportunity after opportunity.
“I always thought they’d be a bit of a danger because they haven’t been beaten by much in other games.”
But he is pleased his side came away with a bonus point, after failing to pick one up over the last few weeks.
Grammar Carlton were also hindered after they had to rest several of their Auckland players, who arrived home the day before the match from a tough preseason provincial tour to Queensland.
The side were preparing for several Ranfurly Shield defences before the start of the Air New Zealand Cup in August.
Top-of-the-table Ponsonby faced the same dilemma as Jackson’s side in their 8-3 victory over old foes Marist at Liston Park.
Former All Black Isaea Toeava and Auckland lock Kurtis Haiu fronted for Marist, while Ponsonby rested their entire Auckland roster.
“It worked out good for us in the end and we stuck to our guns right through,” says Ponsonby coach Simon Scott.
At Fergusson Park, Te Papapa-Mt Wellington went down to Teachers Eastern 24-19 in yet another narrow loss.
Next week Ponsonby continue their tough run home in the competition, when the face Waitemata at Western Springs.
Grammar Carlton host a confident College Rifles side at Cornwall Park, after they upset the much-fancied University team in the last round.
Eden-Roskill head out west where they play Suburbs at Shadbolt Park, while Te Papapa-Mt Wellington lock horns with University at Colin Maiden Park.
All matches start at 2.45pm.
Bursting through: Grammar Carlton right wing Jerome Niumata charges towards the tryline against Eden-Roskill at Gribblehirst Park on Saturday.