We did it! We are the champions my friends. 2019 Premiers are the TAFE NSW Polecats.
This is the last match report for 2019- and it’s the best one to have to write and take you on the journey through the day.
Pre-game: The day didn’t start off too well as the bus was about 40 minutes late picking up players form various localities. When the bus arrived, the players could see it was a party bus. It was decked out with a dance floor. There were platters made available by events n co which kept the hunger at bay and bottles of water to keep hydrated.
It was interesting to see that the preparation of the players was divided into two distinct groups. The quiet solemn types sat at the front, whilst the loud people sat up the back, music blaring, laughing and carrying on.
As the bus pulled in to Belmore everyone suddenly put their game faces on and the Polecats were ready for the big one. Coach Curry did his inspirational pre-game speech in the home sheds and the boys were ready for action.
It was a windy day with lots of cold air blowing around, but the sun was out.
Kick off: UTS won the toss and chose to receive the ball.
As soon as the Polecats got the ball they looked dangerous. It wasn’t long before fullback Ben Faimoto dived over 5 minutes into the game to in the left corner just in time to get off the Nudie run. The howling wind prevented the conversion and a short time later the Polecats dived over again thanks to Ricki Willie. Ricki the outright leading try scorer had just equalled most points for the season with this effort. “Just like that!” he was heard saying as the boys congratulated him. It seemed too easy early on for the Polecats. You could feel the momentum had fully swung the Polecats way.
Much like the Major semi-final, UTS had no answer to the Polecats left side which were running riot. But once again the Polecats missed the goal as a Gale blew through the grounds. The sideline commented excitedly, that that if the Polecats held on to possession, that this was going to be a day of total domination.
As many a grand final has played out in the past, teams don’t just give up. They always show resilience and come back. UTS shrugged the two tries off from the Polecats and came back with the next try in the corner after sustained pressure attacking the Polecats line. Despite the Polecats dominating early, the score would have only been as close as 8-6 with a conversion, and all of a sudden there could have been a real challenge. As luck would have it the wind also blew the UTS conversion wide and the score remained 8-4.
The scoreboard slowed down as penalties against the Polecats in the UTS half seemed to help them out of trouble on numerous occasions. It took until the 33rd minute for Vice captain Daniel Arona to dive over. The score was now 14 -4 with the first successful conversion. Dylan Kata regained the mantle of leading points-scorer for the season back off his team mate Ricki.
An unexpected head injury to winger Marcell Curry saw Cyrus Murray take the field. A remarkable recovery from a fractured skull early in the season. The Polecats stepped up their toughness in defence and UTS were beginning to lose players through injury. With so many going down one wondered whether UTS had the depth on the bench to challenge the Polecats.
As the siren sounded at halftime the message in the sheds was simple; the coach calmed the team down and reminded them to focus on their games. The team got up determined they were ready to finish the job!
2nd Half: The Polecats received off the kick off, but the game continued to be stalled by even more injuries. Eventually in the 42nd minute the Polecats went to their right side and gave a ball to centre Matt Thomas. Matty used his left arm to hold the defence at bay whilst he planted the ball in the corner. After a successful conversion the score was now 20-4.
At this stage you thought there was no way that UTS could get 3 converted tries. But the penalties kept coming, and played UTS back into the game. UTS attacked the Polecats line relentlessly but the Polecats never gave up in defence. Once again the UTS players began to collapse with injury. One player going down with no one in sight, seemed to be hit by sniper.
Eventually, despite all the penalties and injuries the Polecats got up the other end of the field and received a penalty. It was their captain Shane brown who dived over to seal the match in the 54th minute. The conversion made it 26-4.
The Polecats held out UTS for the rest of the match. To UTS credit they did their best under the circumstances with injuries and were respectful.
After the game the players erupted led by VC Daniel Arona with a new song for the playbook “The cats are havin a party, the cats are havin a parrrty! Aaand where goin on the bus! Were goin on the bus”
Well done to all those involved players, committee, coaching staff and sponsors. POLECATS 2019 PREMIERS!
To view all the photos from the day, click here or the photo below.