26 Jul 3rd Grade Claim Victory Over Easts
With the rest of the competition washed out due to the rain, only the Vikings 3rd Grade side took the field on Saturday to face Easts Rugby Club, at Viking Park.
The Vikings were slow out of the gate, allowing Easts to score two early tries off the back of some poor defense. Coupled with an inability to find touch off penalties and capitalise on their opportunities, plenty of points went walking for the Vikings. The Red Men started finding their groove, however, after the Forward pack got on a roll. Strong carries from Matt Jolley and Robbie McNeill put the Vikings on the front foot, and Callum Roles opened the scoring after several pick and drives in Easts 22m. The Vikings hit back again shortly after, following a Stephen Sanday break away that put Nic Marshall over to level the scores. The introduction of super-sub Richard Joyes, amongst others, had an immediate impact for the Vikings, who closed out the first half well at 12 all.
Easts were hot on attack to start the second half, finding themselves deep in Vikings territory. The Vikings did well to deny Easts points on several occasions, but difficulties exiting and continued pressure from Easts allowed them to finally break the Red Men and score their third try of the match. But, thanks to the impact of their bench players and the ruck dominance of Robbie McNeill, the Vikings found themselves with an attacking line out just outside Easts 22m shortly after the Easts try. Clayton Hawke took the line-out, and ducked and weaved his way through the defense for a superb try. Maleli Gadai leveled the scores with his conversion. The tit for tat continued, Easts capitalising on a mistake from the ensuing kick off to take the lead with their fourth try, but the Vikings responded in emphatic fashion. Matt Jolley broke the line after receiving the ball from a line out, and offloading to Dan Uilelea who touched down right in the corner to level the scores. An excellent kick from Maleli Gadai from the sideline put the Vikings in the lead, 26-24.
From here, neither team was able to break the other. The Vikings strong scrummaging continued to give them great field position, but they were unable to build any continuity. A costly penalty gave Easts an attacking chance in the Vikings 22m, but another turn over at the ruck allowed the Vikings to breath a little easier. The Red Men showed great composure to hold the lead, but a loose carry after the buzzer gave Easts a scrum and an opportunity for a grand stand finish. Although Easts showed a lot of heart and determination in these last few, tense phases of play, Dan Uilelea brilliantly snuck his way into an Easts ruck to cause a turn over, giving the Vikings 3rd Graders a much needed victory.
A great result for the Vikings, who can now entertain thoughts of finals footy. Vikings 26 – 24 Easts.
3 Matt Jolley
2 Nic Marshall
1 Jak McAlister
Player’s Player – Matt Jolley