The Goulburn reserve grade side took their first step into the winner's circle for 2021 on Saturday with a comfortable if patchy 38-10 win over the ADFA third grade side at ADFA.
But while it was a good score against the cadets, it probably should have been considerably more.
The match never really achieved any flow, and this wasn't helped by a lengthy suspension in play to treat an injured player, and a swag of yellow cards against Goulburn, both in the second half.
From the outset, Goulburn had a clear advantage in the scrum and at the breakdown, but the match was heavily officiated at the ruck and maul which hampered the ability to develop momentum.
The Reds had notched up three tries to be 19-5 at the break, taking advantage of ADFA's soft right-side defence, but failed to convert a number of other likely attempts with handling letting them down.
The Dirty Twos seemed ready to crank up the attack in the second half when winger Eric Brown crossed the line for Goulburn three minutes in.
But just a couple of minutes after that, the game was held up for 20 minutes while an ADFA player was transported by ambulance with a nasty elbow dislocation.
The disruption put a pause in Goulburn's reinvigorated momentum but an even bigger pause came from three yellow cards handed out to Goulburn (Jayde Coggan, Jacob Kara, Josh Hannan) for what the ref regarded as repeated infringements at the breakdown.
But despite the match disruption, and despite the yellow cards that had Goulburn two men down at one stage, the Dirty Twos were able to duplicate their first half score in the second section, as did ADFA, for a final 38-10 win.
Against Canberra teams with talent deep into their lower grades in their two previous outings, the Dirty Twos hadn't previously come home with a win.
While it was a patchy game, the end result was convincing and never in doubt. The side has played all three of its games so far on the road and a win under their belt combined with their next match being a home game should lift the side even more.
Eric Brown had a good day with the boot, notching four from six. It was also a significant day for Josh Hannan who had the C next to his name for the first time. It was also his first yellow card though, so swings and roundabouts I guess.
Goulburn's forwards stood out overall and this was reflected in the post-match honours. Best and fairest players were Harry Newby (3), Jourdan Mita (2) and Alex Parlett (1) with Newby also named Players' Player.
Goulburn 38 (Connor Minehan, Nick Tabner, Chris Boardman, Eric Brown, Jourdan Mita, Harry Newby tries, Brown 4 conversions) def ADFA 10.
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