Oh, what a night
AFTER a few dodgy days the rugby league gods smiled on Oakes Oval last Friday night for the big City v Country clash.
Despite the threat of rain, more than 8500 took the punt and were treated to a marvellous night of rugby league, culminating in a 29-22 victory to City.
City did what all good sides do and took the crowd out of the equation early with a barnstorming start.
It wasn't until early in the second half that the crowd had something to cheer about when Country piled on three quick tries to make a game of it. In the end they may have been unlucky not to steal a win, but on the end of some desperate City defence and a video referee's decision, fell just short.
Both sides should be congratulated on the intensity.
It looked like players knew that their efforts were being monitored by the NSW selectors ahead of the upcoming Origin series.
When the preliminary origin squad was announced on Monday some of the younger players who strutted their stuff last Friday night were rewarded for their efforts.
Players like Creagh, O'Donnell, Watmough, Tupou and King all won places in the squad, with Tupou in particular, sinking his teeth into the clash, literally.
In my 16 years playing on Oakes Oval, I've seen a lot of bizarre happenings, but none to rival the emu parade the Country officials had searching for Anthony Tupou's front teeth knocked out after a sickening clash.
If kids learn one thing from the game on Friday night it should be, ALWAYS wear a mouthguard!
EVENTS like last Friday night don't go ahead without months of careful planning and while there are too many people to thank individually a few of the people who should be acknowledged are: President of the NRRRL, Robin Harley, whose cool head presided over all aspects of the preparations; the Marist Brothers club, in particularly Steve Campbell and Jenny Riley for the wonderful catering they provided for the games (unlike the Parra v Cronulla match, there were no long queues to get a feed and everything ran smoothly all night in the food tents); John Bancroft and Leanne Clark from the Lismore City Council; the NRRRL clubs who provided workers for the beer stalls; and all you league fans out there who turned up to be part of a crowd that showed to millions of people around the world how passionate we are about our rugby league.
Those who stayed away ... you missed out on being part of a great night.
And while I'm not a real religious man, thank God it didn't rain.