Unveiling two new guns in Jackson and McCoombe, whose acquisitions were kept very quiet by the Rhino hierachy, the boys from Wrigleyville danced to their own tune the entire game. With Burgmann shut down by Jezza and a suffocating Rhino defence, the Tigers tall timber was out run and out hustled by a much more determined Rhino team led by the American duo in the middle of Wolfe and Ambrosino along with the dangerous Johnson who not only had the better of the dangerous Aussie trio of Paul, Matt and Travis but managed to excel in the pressure cooker atmosphere of this titanic clash.
Winning the toss, the Rhinos kicked to the city end with the aid of a 4 goal breeze in the first. The Tigers dropped a spare man back and from the outset it was obvious it was going to be a dour struggle. L.S looked good at the start with repeated forays forward being denied by the superior Rhino numbers down back but once the Rhino machine got into first gear, everyone knew second wasn’t far away. McCoombe, the boy from Geelong and sporting the vote catching shorts marked strongly and converted his first and his second of the term came soon there after. Pat Hoyt was revelling in the constant delivery from his team mates’ hard work up the ground and after laying a bruising tackle was rewarded with a free kick and duly bought up the “the fish was this big” salute from the goal umpire At quarter time, the Rhinos went to the huddle leading 20 to 2 but Tiger fans knew their boys had done well to keep the scoring that low.
Burgmann strode to his post at full forward with a look of excitement on his face as he knew his three highly paid mercenaries in the middle were about to run riot with the breeze. Drake dropped himself and Miller back as spare men to stop the inevitable onslaught that is Warrick Burgmann but the Tigers first came through Pat Hoyts brother Brian reading the ball deftly off the pack and showing some soccer skills to get the Tigers going. The Tigers continued to attack as the Rhinos, feeling the heat stuck solidly to their gameplan of sending the ball wide and looking for the boundary. Burgmann marked and shot for goal again to bring up his third behind of the game as the double team on him did it’s job. Some beautiful work from the Rhino backline saw Deri Morgan find a charging Ambrosino whose long ball found the dangerous McCoombe 40 out. Big Macca went back and slammed a bomb home, a magnificent kick into the breeze that sent the Rhino army into hysterics just before the long break. At half time, Rhinos 4.4:26 lead the inaccurate Tigers 1.6: 12.
The premiership quarter was going to be a big one. The Tige’s had to hold McCoombe and maybe sneak a couple of their own to plug the gap. Burgmann put one of his many Matt’s (Aussie Matt) on the big fella and asked Matt (Wolfes mate Matt), to take over ruck duties. Second gamer little Matt was playing a ripper along half forward and the other Matt was getting into the game as well. The Tige’s started the third hard and threw all they could at the Rhinos. The game was being magnificently umpired by the hard running Kogs and the sturdy MacGlashan who both let the game flow. The tackling was a treat and when Burgamnn finally broke the Jezza imposed shackles to goal, the Tigers looked a red hot chance. Travis and Paul in the middle and Poncho down back were full of piss and vinegar and starting to impose their will on the game but with Burgmann being sometimes tripled team and the coaching staff of the Tigers not wanting to take the spare man out of defence, repeated forays forward were shut down as the Rhino defence of Morgans J & D, Miller, Kastilahn and Drake had a cup of tea with every possession. Then the Rhinos pulled their trump card. Fresh from being overshadowed in the ‘next morning’ stories by Travis after the pub crawl, big Jacko waltzed onto the field like a victorious General MacArthur in the Phillipines and let his intentions be known with a soaring grab above the pack at half back. With the Tigers starting to tire but still giving it their all, McCoombe broke free for his fourth, Jacko let rip with a ripper on the left from forty and first gamer JJ Leblanc, the recipient of a throwing the ball decision after a bruising tackle kicked his first two arm salute and it was all smiles from the Rhinos as they went into the orange break with a commanding 32 point lead, 8.4:52 to 2.8:20
The Tigers came out to win and after Chris went down with a nasty ankle injury all looked lost for the Tigers but alas, it turned out to be the luckiest break all day for the Tigers as they finally put another body up forward. As injured as big Chris was, Drake decided to play off him which cost the Rhino coach dearly as Chris helped himself to two gimme goals in the spae of a few minutes to cut the score in half and cause Rhino fans to start watching the clock as they sat uneasy in their seats. The 2 goals also caused a sensational dummy spit from the normally collected United coach of the likes not seen since losing the U17’s grand final in 1990 to arch nemesis Nar Nar Goon at the magnificent Cora Lynn oval, in the heart of the Koo Wee Rup swamp (great asparagus country). One of the many Matts, “Welcome”, chimed in for another but the Rhino defence stood strong and was able to outlast the more experienced and talented Tigers, eventually running out winners by 16 points. A bitter pill for Burgmann and the Square dancers to swallow but apart from some bad kicking for goal by the great man and some poor use of the ball in the third, the Tige’s could easily have won this. The Rhinos defence was a huge problem for the Tigers and with an offence being ably lead by LeBlanc, McClamroch and the daunting body of McCoombe, the Rhinos ran out handy winners, serving notice once again that Lincolns Park and Square need to come to play in future.
|Goals||Rhinos: McCoombe (4), Hoyt P, JJ LeBlanc, Jackson, Ambrosino
Tigers: Bradshaw (2), Hoyt B, Burgmann, Case
|Best||Rhinos: McCoombe, Ambrosino, Morgan J, Wolfe, Morgan D, McClamroch
Tigers: Case, Thornloe, Matt (Wolfie), De Jong, Ortiz A
AWARDS: Bottomless mug: Wolfe, Wines: J. Morgan & Aussie Matt