Rovers win Bowl Final to cap off great season
Reward for Robbo and the Rovers
Rovers, led by coach Robbo, finished the job they had set out to do after the completion of the Development League. Two big trainings before the Semi-Final, One massive training before the Final, and a giant effort for the Final, leaving nothing out on the paddock.
- Pre-Final (Season and Training)
Coach Robbo had instilled in the team the concept of “Mongrel”. It is what you do during the game; it is what you do when the chips are down; it is what you do when you are tired and need the extra 1%. With players buying into this mentality, numbers started to increase for games. Hands were put up early for games all season, and numbers slowly started to increase at trainings. There were very good games, and there were some not so good games. The SCC game prior to Christmas 2018 was a good example of the former (more on that game in a future post).
The team got together nicely. Old, young, new, returning players all coming together and buying into playing for the Wanderers, Robbo, and each other. The last training before the final had close to 28 players all vying for a slot in the final team.
- Pre-Game (Final)
All week leading up to the game, young and old were building up to the game with motivational messages and potentially over-exuberant messages on Whatsapp. The benefit of older heads was very evident at this juncture. “Save the excitement for the game.” “Don’t play the game before you have to.” “Stick to our game plan and structures”
This tone was continued during the warm-up pre-game. Calm, composed, and focused drills were the order of the day. Smiles could be seen on players; but all were focused on getting the job done in the next 120 minutes.
- First Half
Captain Fender decided that tackling the Bucks and putting a marker was the most important thing as a start. We elect to kick at kick-off. Kick goes high and just past the 10m. The wave of forwards approaching the catchers causes the Buck to drop the ball. Good start.
The Wanderers then go close to 15 phases with ball in hand hitting the Bucks defense line. They were ready for a game too. We will need to earn this win. Go hard. Keep to the structure. No kicking. Bucks survive the onslaught. It is now their turn.
Tackle, up on your feet, re-set the line. Tackle, up on your feet, re-set the line. Tackle, up on your feet, re-set the line. This seemed to go on forever. Defense never lets them score. #mongrel
That was the order of the first half. Back and forth.
Bucks sneak in a penalty just before half-time. No problem.
- Second Half
Not much needed to be said at half time. We were playing well. Defense was holding up. Attack was doing the necessary. Let’s keep doing the same. Keep to our structures. Patience.
The second half continued on the same tone as the first. There was no letup in defence by both teams. Bucks start to slow the game down. Bucks start to kick the ball in attack. We will need to work from our 22 if we want to score. We will need to earn it.
A ball is dropped by Bucks in attack. We challenge for it. The ball is kicked towards the 50m. Juan chases. And he chases. And he is patient. Kicks it one more time. He is patient. Perfect bounce. Juan catches it and dives over the try line. Referee calls the play back for a Wanderers scrum where Bucks had dropped the ball. No try. No problem. We will need to earn it.
Wanderers are going for it. Attack, defence, we work hard. Engines are blowing. #Mongrel
Bucks chooses to kick towards our try line. Sammy catches and takes the big hit. Forwards come in to clear. Ball is messy. Steve cleans it up. Good ball presentation. Ball goes to Jason. Jason breaks the line. Jason is a way. He has the fullback to beat. Surely he will go around him like he has all season. Jason has slowed down (is he injured???). Jason looks like he will be tackled (is he injured???). Jason commits the fullback and PASSES THE BALL to Adib. Adib has a distance to go, but he does it. He scores. JASON HAS DONE THE ONE THING HE NEVER DOES. AND WE SCORE! The crowd goes wild.
Adib steps up to take the conversion. We need this. We need to be more than a penalty score ahead. We trust our defence not to let in the try. Adib does it. Balls of steel.
The rest of the game is a blur. Tackle, up on your feet, re-set the line. Tackle, up on your feet, re-set the line. Tackle, up on your feet, re-set the line. This seemed to go on forever. Defense never lets them score. #mongrel
The final whistle goes. We have done it. Reward for Robbo and the Rovers. Well done boys!
After the Game
The Rovers thanks all the supporters who turned up Friday. The noise was definitely brought. The club is much more than the players on the field. It is the supporters, administrators, family, WAGS, together with the players that make up the Wanderers.
We are happy. We have the reward. Well done boys.