FORM: Anthony Savovski shows his style for the Warwick Water Rats in a home game.
FORM: Anthony Savovski shows his style for the Warwick Water Rats in a home game. Samantha Bennett

The ups and downs of a rugby team in the eyes of a manager

Warwick Water Rats injured forward and current team manager Alastair Costello looks at what it is like to be feeling each tackle from the sideline as the B-grade team aims to make the finals in the Darling Downs Rugby Union competition.

THE Rats travelled to play at the home ground of our big-brother club Gatton at the weekend and what a pleasant drive it is through there.

Not a bad place to go to our second home ground. I wish every field had grass covering like that, a lush green oasis amongst the surrounding desolation.

I don't know about the line marking though, a bit of an optical delusion that needed to be seen to be believed. I should probably talk about the game and as the manager it was heart-breaking to watch at times. In a first half dominated by us, we may have bombed 15 tries.

Okay, it's a bit of exaggeration but we did butcher a few. Backline moves that were never finished off threatened to kill us but we did score one right on half time. Some pundits reckon that's the best time to score but isn't any time a good time to cross the line?

Warwick scored on the bell and with man of the match and halfback Charlie Brennand landing the conversion, we led 7-0 at the break. The Cods hit back soon after halftime and made it 7-5.

But let's talk about the scrummaging war waged by our forwards against the Cods.

Playing in one of his first few games, prop James 'Tractor' Reynolds dominated his opposite number in a dominant display of scrummaging.

Sure, he got plenty of practice throughout the match, the ball was dropped maybe a thousand times but who doesn't like watching 16 blokes huddle together and try and push each other for possession of an oval-shaped ball multiple times in a match.

Aside from a monster scrummaging effort, there were other top performances in the forwards. Anthony 'Fridge' Savovski likes playing as a makeshift number 10 and ran over some wide defenders.

Steve Berry was brutal around the ruck and with his carries close in. Darcy Meek probably had his best game running about the place, breaking tackles. Late in the second stanza these same forwards had an opportunity every pack dreams of, an attacking scrum five metres out.

The big Rats lads heaved it over the line and Steve, playing in his favoured number eight position, controlled the ball expertly and crashed over the line. 12-5 it was - but it wasn't done yet.

The Cods secured possession and with about two minutes to go set about scoring a try that could have meant another draw for the Rats. They bashed away and, annoyingly for us, scored a crucial try.

With a conversion to draw it up, the pressure was on. Seeing the regular kicker get swapped for one of the big burly forwards gave me the impression that shooting goals wasn't the Cods' strong suit. A huge charge of the kicker didn't help either and the Rats held on to win 12-10. Phew! How important is goal kicking though?

At every level of the game, kicking goals wins matches and luckily we had Chuck who slotted the winner for us. Brennand has just turned 18 and had one hell of a party out there on Saturday. That wide pass of his from the breakdown helps the Rats' backline prosper and his running game is something else.

He was so elusive in the tackle with speed to burn. A catch on his own goal line and a quick in and way to beat an on-rushing defender saved us from impending doom.

We play the Wheatmen in Dalby on Saturday and more players welcome at training at 6pm each Tuesday and Thursday.



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