Squids Take on BondiTrip Report
Compiled by:Coaches – Jack Halpin and David HutchensMangers – Jacko Muir and Braeden SaulCo-Captains – Andrew Ireland and Matthew Ward
The Bondi 10s competition was a great preseason hit-out which aided our preparation for the AucklandU85 club season. During the weeks leading up to the tournament we developed skills, fitness levels andgame maps with the intent of winning the competition.
Prior to game day we had a training session in Sydney with Robbie Deans, primarily focusing on defenseand defensive structure. The short but sweet session was extremely worthwhile and really emphasisedthe importance of each player’s role when defending at ruck time throughout general play. These tipsthat Robbie handed on to us mainly applied to the game of 15s however the core principles weredisplayed in our defense during the 10s tournament, expressed by our ability to keep every teamscoreless in the 5 games before the final.
After topping our pool we had a hard fought semi final with 90% of the game taking place between thetwo 10m lines. Tensions were high but we eventually broke the deadlock winning 5-0 thanks to a breakout try from Callum Shepherd. It was then on to the big dance against a much bigger Coogee side we hadbeaten earlier in the day. This didn’t count for much though as we were soon down 10-0 early in the firsthalf of the final. The Squids rallied however and closed it to 10-5 scoring just before half time. Themomentum continued to shift in the 2nd half with the Squids squaring up the score at 10-10. The finalhooter soon blew and after a 1 minute break we were into golden point!
Crucially the Coogee team’s kick off to restart play didn’t go 10m and the Squids took a scrum on halfway. The boys immediately spun the ball to width and James Smith found himself in space near the 22mline where he was eventually tackled. He did however manage to free his arms in contact and throw anoff load. In dramatic scenes it didn’t find the hands of his support players but rather the back of thedefenders head. With the ball on the deck it was anyones, but then like a ghost in the night it was noneother than Sam Aitken who swooped in, gathered the ball and went on to score the match winner! Thewin was celebrated appropriately, soaking up the local culture and topped off a great weekend across theditch.
Aside from being a great preseason run around, the tournament was a chance to build on our alwaysstrong Squids ‘team culture’. With a W under our belt and morale at an all-time high we look forward tothe season ahead and the chance to hopefully defend our title at the 2020 Bondi 10s.
From the tournament organisers (Woollahra Colleagues Rugby Club):
“To your boys, a big thanks from our club for your involvement over the weekend. It’s a big ask to get youguys over here but we hope you think it was worthwhile. Your side was clearly competitive early on withsome expansive footy and despite the size you were hitting bloody hard. You played in great spirit buteven better you really fronted up at the clubbies afterwards. Hopefully you will be back to defend it.
Tell your board, the boys did your club proud and conducted themselves extremely well on and off thefield. Most importantly we managed to raise thousands of dollar for charity and built some lasting trans-Tasman friendships. We’d be delighted to have you back in the years to come.”
Colin Maiden Park 71-73 Merton RoadSt Johns, Auckland