Whales strip Buccaneers
A CHILLY breeze blew along the pitch at the Evans River K-12 School Field as the Evans River Killer Whales ran out in their new black strip to face off against the Yamba Buccaneers.
A capacity crowd was in attendance to see the unveiling of the new strip, and the Killer Whales wasted no time in putting on a great show for their fans.
From the beginning, Evans River looked the more composed and structured unit. However, Yamba were a very tenacious opponent and were able to cause a few headaches with their pick and drive game. The Killers repelled the early Yamba raids and were able to establish themselves in the opposition 30 with some great kicks from Adam Armistead, which were chased well to force turnovers. Evans Head were once again at their brutal best at the breakdown, cleaning the ruck out like it was tenpin bowling, which saw Yamba lose a few players to injury throughout the game. The forwards methodically used up defenders with their efficient phase play. In the face of such consistent pressure, the Buccaneers wilted quickly. In fact, Evans River's structured attack was spreading the Yamba defence thin. You could see the men in black and gold labouring at every breath. This opened up numerous gaps leading to some great tries in the first half from Nicholas Benn, Gary Wimbus, and David Mason, making the score 27-0 in favour of Evans River at the half.
Coach Jarrad Cameron urged the team to use the second half to further perfect their game plan and further extend the lead.
The Killers were fortunate in this match to be able to field a full bench, so in the second half, due to their comfortable lead, wholesale changes were rung in. Evans River ran in a further two converted tries, with Grant Cleaver crossing as well as another to Gary Wimbus to rack up his hat trick, and another Wimbus penalty goal to take the scores to 44-0. Late in the second half, a deathly quiet came over the players as livewire halfback Luke Cleaver was carried from the field in the dying minutes with what looked to be a serious injury. The Evans Head men eased the pressure in the last 10 minutes and looked complacent due to their massive lead and they allowed Yamba to post two tries before the final whistle.
It was evident in this match, when the Killer Whales used their structure to establish multiple phases in opposition territory, a try was all but guaranteed. The result of this match is a great sign of things to come heading into the second round for this side. A greater dedication to training and the return of some first XV regulars will see Evans River being a tough opponent for any team in this competition.
The team is aiming up for semi-final qualification and given the results they have posted thus far, they could go all the way to the grand final.
Next week, Evans Head travel to Lennox Head in an attempt to avenge their first-round defeat at the hands of the Trojans. No doubt the Killers will be training the house down in large numbers this week in preparation for this crucial clash.
If all results go their way, the Killer Whales could force their way into fifth position.