ON AN Arctic Friday night, the Evans River Killer Whales tra
ON AN Arctic Friday night, the Evans River Killer Whales travelled to Bangalow to do battle with the Rebels.
The Killers were looking for a big win to lift them into outright fifth place and were feeling confident as the Bangalow team had been struggling to post a decent result and had forfeited some recent games.
Despite the cold, the team prepared well for the match and ran on to the paddock in the right frame of mind.
Their opponents appeared to have assembled a very strong side for this fixture, which meant the task at hand would be a tough one for the Evans River men.
The opening kickoff saw Evans applying heavy defensive pressure to Bangalow, forcing them to kick out from their own half on a number of occasions.
Unfortunately the Killers were unable to capitalise on this pressure as their lineout play was sub-par.
The absence of Derrick Duignan had much to do with this and the team is hoping to see him back sooner rather than later.
Bangalow used their rather damaging forward attacking play to break the advantage line time and time again.
On top of this, they were able to move the ball quickly from the ruck when the numbers were to their advantage in the backline.
Add to this the fact the Evans River scrum appeared to be on ice skates, one could tell that Bangalow held the advantage for much of the first half.
The Killer Whales fought valiantly, and forced their way back into enemy territory after conceding a converted try midway through the first half.
The Whales were able to put together some cohesive phases inside the Rebels' 30, which forced a few penalties from the home side.
One of these was converted shortly before half time to make the score 7-3 to Bangalow at half time.
Considering the advantage that Bangalow had in territory, possession and at the set pieces, Evans River were doing very well on the score board.
At halftime the coach highlighted this fact and encouraged the forwards to strengthen their efforts in order to provide some quality ball for the backs to work with.
The Killers came out enthusiastically in the second half, however, this half more resembled a war of attrition, the Evans River forwards becoming extremely tired from hard scrummaging and performing a huge amount of defence for much of the game. The team aquitted themselves well, but Bangalow appeared to be able to break the line at will.
As Evans River saw the score mounting against them, their desperation in attack strategy increased.
Some of these plays paid off with some great line breaks from Jordan Lee, Adam Armistead, Benji Tiatia and Scotty Willis, however some did not and only further increased the Rebels' advantage as they ran out winners 24-3.
Although Bangalow had been struggling this season it appears they have really lifted their game to an almost first-grade standard.
We wish them all the best for the rest of the season and very much look forward to playing them again down at Evans Head.
As Evans River were on the wrong side of the stats in territory, possession, and set pieces won and lost, the score line should have been much greater.
It is a testament to the courage and the 'no surrender' attitude of the team that Bangalow was only able to post 24 points.