Almanac Rugby Union: Not one for the ages

 

Hostilities commence [Source: Spacequake Sports livestream]

 

We are considering a few options this week.  Just down over Greenhill Road, Old Collegians are at home to Port Adelaide.  In the other direction, along Kensington Road, Burnside are taking on Woodville.  There is also the option of Uni versus South further down Fullarton Road.  All three games are fairly similar on paper.  Sides in the top half of the table take on sides in the bottom half.  We end up going with the fourth option, the livestream footage of the mid-table clash between Onkaparinga and Elizabeth from Onkaparinga’s home down in Morphett Vale.

 

To be honest, the standard of Onkaparinga versus Elizabeth is not great.  But take nothing away from the endeavour of the players and the spirit in which the game is played.  The players still represent their clubs, and the game, with distinction.  They are 30-odd blokes having a decent crack on a Saturday afternoon.  Judging by some of the haircuts on display there are also some odd blokes amongst the 30-odd blokes.  There are a few hairdressers out there that should be ashamed of themselves.

 

It is a competitive start with Onkaparinga up 12 to 7 after a solid opening 20 minutes from both teams.  Onkas have already lost their inside centre to a knee injury, an excruciatingly painful knee injury.  It arises from a big hit after Onkas had made a break from an Elizabeth turnover.  The Elizabeth winger, one of those big stronger wingers, catches the lad heavily as he tries to step in off the sideline.  It is just bad luck as he almost steps into the contact from the covering tackler.  His pain is picked up on the commentator’s mike nearby.  The Elizabeth winger has turned over the ball, but he ignores the resulting ruck to instead go to the aid of his fallen opponent.

 

Onkaparinga will then have a second rower red-carded at the 30 minute mark for a massive stiff-arm ‘don’t argue’ on the Elizabeth hooker.  The hooker copped the shot straight to the throat and is on his knees for a while.  Not really a malicious shot, more a result of the height differential between the two upon coming together.  Onkas have lost two of their starting 15 inside the half hour.  They are holding a handy 19 to 7 advantage on the scoreboard.

 

 

Hit the showers son [Source: Spacequake Sports livestream]

 

Now, Onkaparinga put their foot right on the gas.  Their young winger with the 1980s mullet is over for his hat-trick.  He keeps finding big gaps in the Elizabeth line.  The lad shows he can score out wide as well as coming in as receiver or two.  The callers dub him ‘The Flying Mullet’.

 

The Flying Mullet is over again for his fourth try on the stroke of half time.  He is too quick in open play.  The Elizabeth fullback seems resigned to his fate.

 

 

The Flying Mullet [Source: Spacequake Sports livestream]

 

Onkaparinga have turned 12 to 7 at the 20 minute mark into 38 to 7 at the half.  Elizabeth’s defence is over-whelmed, even with the numerical advantage.  The game has been blown wide open.  Only pride is at stake in the second half.

 

One of the unexpected highlights is the performance of the novice commentary team.  Spacequake’s gun caller is unavailable this weekend, so the job falls to a couple of Onkaparinga representatives.  They are superb.  They resemble an amateur Roy and HG working on the fly.  At other times, an antipodean Pete and Dud.  Hints of the Twelfth Man as well.

 

A scrappy start to the second half as both sides try to find the right gear again.  Once again it is Onkaparinga who benefit.  A messy Elizabeth lineout on halfway and the ball is fumbled and scrapped and dribbled until a soccer on the 22 puts it into space for a terribly-mulleted Onkas centre to run on to it and score.  A comedy of errors that was half soccer, half rugby, and the poor ref just had to put his whistle away and let the mess sort itself out.  The conversion pushes it out to 45 to 7.  Light rain falls and the lights are on.  It is a tough ask for Elizabeth now.

 

To their credit, Elizabeth don’t throw in the towel.  They are trying to put together some attacks but are let down by handling errors at crucial times.  Promising attacks end in turnovers.

 

It is up to the mulleted centre to again break Elizabeth’s heart as the ball is quickly spread wide from one sideline to the other.  Taking the ball ten metres inside his own half he is off and gone in a flash.  The experienced fullback cannot win, he has no chance of stopping the rampaging back.  The centre’s only error, outside of his hairstyle choice, is ‘burning’ his captain in the run to the try line.  If your skipper is free on the inside you have to use him, especially when he is an ageing forward.

 

The remainder of the half passes without incident, save for the short delay in a lineout as the ball has to be retrieved from down near the creek.  Those Super Rugby hookers don’t realise how easy they have got it.  The Flying Mullet also slots a fifth try.

 

Elizabeth’s successes are few and far between, but the intent is still there.  The number 10, Mr Withheld, is their best player on the day and shows glimpses every time he runs the ball.

 

The referee blows time with the score at Onkaparinga 62 to Elizabeth 21.  Not really a game for the ages.

 

 

That’ll do it lads [Source: Spacequake Sports livestream]

 

The competition has a bye over the long weekend.  It comes at a good time as all teams seem to have a mounting injury list.  A week off will do them all good.

 

Looking at the fixtures for Round 10, Old Collegians look to be well-placed to cash in.  They will be hoping that Brighton and Burnside will bash hell out of each other in the top of the table clash at Kensington, and their nearest ladder rivals, South, have the bye.  Old Colls will really be wanting to dish it up to Woodville at home.  South and Burnside clash the following week as the battle for the double-chance rolls on.  Wins and bonus points are a must for all concerned.

 

 

Endnote:

All Premier Grade games end with similar scorelines:

Old Colls 54 v Port 26

Burnside 62 v Woodville 14

Uni 15 v South 62

Onkaparinga 62 v Elizabeth 21

 

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Dour opener and close-checking fullback. Peaked early.

Comments

  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Not big on clash jumpers or shorts Greg?

  2. Elizabeth’s new jerseys are probably less of a clash than their previous/alternative jerseys are!
    The budget doesn’t extend to white shorts.
    May have to go with shirts v skins in the return bout.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    Entertaining report Greg. How high is the flying mullet on the leading tryscorers list?

    What a great name Onkaparinga is, one I’ve not heard before.

  4. Thanks Luke.

    It was a bit of a breakout game for the Flying Mullet, only a try here and there before Saturday.

    I guess we are used to the name Onkaparinga. It is our largest metro council region and covers our southern suburbs down to the McLaren Vale wine region and beyond. We also have an Onkaparinga Valley footy club up in the hills.

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