Un­der­dogs make Gram­mar coach’s heart race

Central Leader - - Sport - By Scott Morgan

Stressed out is one way of de­scrib­ing Gram­mar Carl­ton coach Bran­don Jack­son’s de­meanour dur­ing their 31-14 win over EdenRoskill 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 pre-sea­son 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 2.45pm.

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Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Burst­ing through: Gram­mar Carl­ton right wing Jerome Ni­u­mata charges to­wards the try­line against Eden-Roskill at Grib­ble­hirst Park on Satur­day.

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