Pambula Easter Masters' Carnival 2016
Well if anyone was looking for a distraction from the 'are we in an election yet'? shenanigans of Malcolm and Bill, they need look no further than the scintillating two days of footy produced by the boys down at the 2016 Pambula Easter Masters Carnival. With Adam, Wadey & Simon finding more holes than a pollie’s expense account and Shorty bagging more goals than Clive's had hot pies... wait scratch that; just not possible ... the footy was seamless, slick and awe-inspiring.
Much like the Swans' performance against the Pies on Saturday night really (sorry Jock, Gators & Crackles but being a long suffering Blues supporter I needed to get that one in!). In fact, only once did the super coach need to pull the trigger on a half-time spray - after the boys lost their way in the second match against Illawarra. Clearly it worked, however; the team kicked 4 goals to nil to run home a great win.
Game 1 vs South Coast Buccaneers 4,9:35 to 1,1:7*
Perhaps it was the occasion, but the first half of game one proved to be a scrappy affair - we started well by kicking the first goal and having a fair amount of possession, but then concentration lapsed and the Buccaneers came back hard. Cuzzo was on fire early on and looked set for a big day but was cruelly cut down by an injury to his heel. A steadying hand on the team's early nerves was provided through the centre by Adam, Locko, Simon, Luke and Jock with great performances up front from Shorty and Gaz; the Cockies came through strong winners in the end.
Game 2 vs Illawarra 5,3:33 to 3,3:21
Well it had to happen at some stage; after feeling on top of the world from our win in the first game, the Cockies hit the half time break in the second game down 2 goals. Whilst there were some individual great performances, the team as whole just didn't gel and at times we were too quick to blame each other for our mistakes. And so it was 'a game of two halves'. The super coach's 'strong' words of encouragement during the break revitalized the Cockies who kicked 4 goals to 1 on the second to come away with the win. Stainers & Bowie shone bright all game - excellent poise and vision - as well as the usual suspects of Wadey, Adam, Simon, Shorty...a bit repetitive, really.
Games 3 vs Mornington 4,10:34 to 2,3:15
The first five minutes of the penultimate game of the carnival were, shall we say, reflective of the celebrations the evening before! A little slow to say the least... and that's not counting the three stooges who turned up 5 minutes late. After shaking out the cobwebs and letting Mornington sneak 2 quick goals with the wind, our boys through Adam, Jock and Wadey in the centre and Gators, Chief and Shorty up front steadied. DaIe turned up and plucked a couple of great marks off strong leads. Of course we all know that a champion team rests on its backline; ring-in Frosty had a great run, with great contributions from BG, Pete and Jeffro. Marbles, sporting a shiner from the previous day, busted through many a time - and why his roommates, the night before, choose to watch him sleep instead of relieving him of an eyebrow is beyond me...and seems more than a little creepy. Squirters proved yet again to be a handful for the opposition up front. One particularly sexy passage of play occurred on the wing when Wadey ran off a contested punch from Simon, looked up at the forward line, assessed his options, and delivered a perfectly weighted pass to Gators.In all, a great win against fresh, quality opposition.
Game 4 vs Buccaneers Something, something to something, something (but we're pretty sure it was a win!)
For the final game, even yours truly managed to have a run. But with so much strapping on the left knee I could only turn in one direction - much like Derek Zoolander as was helpfully pointed out by Adam. But if I was being honest, I did a 'Tony Abbott' - causing more trouble for my own side than for any opposition... Nonetheless, spurred on by the win just 30 minutes before (one of the teams went sight-seeing instead of playing their match shelled before or final game) every player contributed to another great win. Blue up front put on a great tackle, BG was very effective in cutting off any opportunity across the backline and Frosty, this time in the ruck, was dominant. Luke fished the carnival as he started with a lot of run and ball, and Shorty, well just kept being Shorty - he seems to save up all of his tackles for carnival time, releasing them on unsuspecting opposition. One minute Pete Taylor was on the back flank and the next he was deep in the forward line taking a great mark - terrific to watch. Squirters typified the team's performance all weekend by getting off a very quick handball which resulted in a goal. And Chief was a great target up front, and as such, has signed a three-year deal with the Masters' (right?). Eric from the Hunter, another ring-in, had a great Sunday session running strong across both games. Well done all. I think the most pleasing thing about the carnival was that we actually put into motion some of the things we've been practising at training like staying on our feet, running in packs and greater use of effective handball; all very satisfying. Unfortunately, there were a couple of injuries, including to Cuzzo (heel), Marbles (eye) & Wadey (nose) and I'm pretty sure Pete did a cartwheel there at one stage after a heavy knock. We wish those lads all the best for a fast recovery.
And finally, a very big thank you to the partners and families who were vocal in their support, and to the kids who ran the water - especially on the first day which was stinking hot and rather humid! Well done boys.
* Scores may not reflect actual.