THE Medowie Marauders have fallen agonisingly short of opening their divisional rugby account by dropping the lollies and going down 14 to 12 to a resurgent Pokolbin Reds in Winecounty on Saturday.
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The Marauders were looking sharp before the match, coming off an intense preseason with a convincing win over the Griffins weeks prior.
Medowie started strongly with some hardened defence repelling waves of Pokolbin phase play through the forwards, but ultimately their discipline would see them fall on their own sword as the Reds crossed the line early.
The Marauders were able to hit back soon after when a hot heeled Clayton Burke danced through a tired Reds line to put Taniela Rabolalele away for a five pointer.
With the kick successful the scores were locked at 7 a piece as the waterboys hit both team’s huddles to administer coach directives.
It seems the Reds were listening as they immediately struck back through the elusive Kerryn Ball at Halfback who controlled the piggies and sent Flanker Ben Caskey over for a meat pie for the home team.
The extras were added as the oranges were called out for a halftime recharge seeing the Reds lead 14 to 7.
The second half saw a war of attrition unfold as the Reds turned the screws on a tired Medowie outfit.
Help arrived in the eleventh hour for the Marauder’s as heroic Flanker Peter Fletcher dug into the trenches, winning crucial ball and penalties at the breakdown.
Fletcher inspired his team to rise to the occasion and when Medowie halfback Dan Murphy was carted off by the medics, coach Tim Lancaster injected himself into the game in what almost proved a game winner.
A re-energised Marauder pack set the wheels in motion as Lancaster barked orders from the bridge making metres through enemy territory.
With less than 15 on the clock the Medowie mercenaries had the Reds on the ropes with Centre Qwayde Cole applying the palm to a Reds defender, sending Jessey Bridge over in the corner.
Out of ammo the Marauders missed the kick and the scores stayed at 14 to 12 in favour of the Reds as the bugler sounded the teams off the field.
Coach Lancaster heaped praise on both sides as they played some rough and tumble rugby for 80 minutes.
“Today was an incredibly tough match against a quality team,” said Lancaster.
”Credit to the Reds they played a direct, well controlled game and applied pressure in the right places to grind out a well-deserved victory.
“For the Marauders I thought our defensive systems were again very strong however the squad will need to be more controlled with their discipline moving forward.”
Paul Fletcher took man of the match for Medowie as his expertise at the breakdown shone through.
The Marauders next game is this Saturday against the Waratahs at Boyd Oval, Medowie.
Kick off at 3pm with full can bar facilities available.
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By Mitch LEES