The Binalong Brahmans have again been marred by injury, this time losing Michael Regan to a suspected broken collarbone in the Woodbridge Cup tens carnival at Grenfell on Saturday.
The carnival allowed at least two games for each of the ten first grade sides with the format set at 10 players per side with unlimited interchange, 10 minutes played each way, no break at halftime and five point tries.
Ball control was better on Saturday and defence was up a notch as well.
The Brahmans, however, found themselves losing control of positional play at times and the sliding defence was lacking punch.
Nevertheless, there were some handy line breaks by Drew and Danny Arabin.
The match against Grenfell opened and within seconds the Goannas scored to go 4-0 up. A very good surging and weaving run by halfback Hayden Bee resulted in a try and the scores were level.
Brad Banks put in some good hitups but a lost ball in the seventh minute allowed a Grenfell try followed by another right on halftime to take the score to 12-4 against the Brahmans.
With their coach Ben Spencer back on the sideline, Dylan Arabin got the Brahmans back in the contest with a try for an 8-12 score line. Beau O’Mara showed some good speed and tackled well, but the Goannas skipped away to a 16-8 lead.
With minutes remaining, Drew Arabin produced a five point try, which was converted to bring the scores closer at 15-16. Some excellent work followed and with seconds remaining, Binalong gave away a penalty, which led to a five pointer by the opposition and Grenfell ran out winners by 21-15.
In retrospect, it wasn’t a bad result considering how far Grenfell actually progressed through the competition. Binalong now dropped down to the plate event for defeated teams and their first opponent was new comers, Manildra.
The Rhinos have recruited well for their return to Woodbridge Cup as they progressed to the final of the plate to draw 14-all with Canowindra. Manildra was awarded the game as they scored the first try in the final.
So, the fact that the Brahmans lost to a pair of quality teams at Grenfell softens the blow of losing the first four of their pre-season matches. But they were clearly outclassed by Manildra, a team sure to have a successful year in 2016 on Saturday’s performance.
However, it was a positive to have Benny Spencer back.
The Manildra match became heated at times and Drew Arabin was sent off for retaliation to a Rhino’s punch, which found both sides back to nine players. So, difficult to defend with so few bodies on the park, Manildra had a superior attack and ran out 27-4 winners with Tim Regan providing Binalong’s only points.
Will Manwaring played well all day as did Mick Spencer and Michael Regan before he was injured in a heavy tackle. Manwaring was a standout at lock and his defence was superb.
The personnel are there for the Brahmans and after so many departures it may take a few weeks to sort out some strategies to build the game around attack.
The Grenfell Tens was a very well conducted competition on a superb, if a little warm, day and there was some sparkling football played to compliment the Henry Lawson Oval’s neat preparation. Trundle and Eugowra fought out the grand final in a very entertaining game with Trundle pocketing the winner’s cheque by 15 points to 10.
Cargo has regained some form and Canowindra was strong. Peak Hill appeared with former Cronulla fullback David Peachey playing fiveeighth, however, they were disposed of by Trundle in the semi-final. Manildra impressed though and will be a real handful this season.
The Brahmans start the season on Sunday, as the Saturday match had to be moved because of the Yass Show. The return match against Cargo in round 10 will also have to be played on Sunday June 26.
The format of this weekend may be reversed so that Binalong’s Youth League plays first at 11.30am followed by the Jersey Girls and first grade at 2.30pm.