It was far from pretty, but the Yass Rams got their second win in a row on Saturday, winning 6-3 against the Cooma Red Devils.
The scoreline reflects 3 penalty goals. Two to Yass and one to the Red Devils. Not a try or conversion recorded, which highlights a strong defensive effort from both sides.
In what can only be described as a slog from start to finish, neither side scored tries despite ample opportunities, as the cold and wet conditions became the main story of the day.
The victory moves the Rams into third position. Depending on other results, they could book a finals berth with a win against Jindabyne at home next week.
Never one to be accused of letting his side get too far ahead of themselves, Rams Coach Ian McFarlane was grateful to get the win but, as always, ever-critical of his side’s performance.
“To be honest, I don’t think we could’ve played any worse. It was atrocious, boring stuff.”
“We had the chance to probably score two or three tries there in the first half and we didn’t capitalise,”
Despite his frustration with some elements of the Rams game, McFarlane was pleased with the fight his side showed in the second half, as they defended successive Red Devil attacks on their try line.
“The most pleasing part was how the boys defended in the second half on their own line. I think if that game was played four weeks ago we would’ve lost it because we wouldn’t have been able to hold them out.”.
“It was a terrible game to watch but the pleasing part of the game is that they’re finally sort of believing they can do it,” he said.
The controversial moment of the match came when the touch judge called back a try after the Rams ran the length of the field. McFarlane was frank in his assessment of the incident.
“In this competition I’ve never seen a touch judge call a try back,” he said.
At half-time of what was essentially a do-or-die game and with the weather at its absolute worst, the Rams boys were kept out on the park by their coach, who decided against the comfort of the changerooms.
“We don’t go inside normally.”
“A couple of them wanted to. I said ‘you don’t deserve to go inside, toughen up!’,” he said with a chuckle.
Whilst disappointed with how some of his key players performed, McFarlane was pleased with how the rest of his group rallied and was particularly excited by the performance of two new players.
“The four players I normally go to, didn’t play the best. It’s a credit to the rest of the team, they really pulled together.”
“We’ve got a couple of new kids in town too that are playing. Toby and Digby Cooke. They’re homegrown and Yass kids and they’re at uni and because of Covid, their competition has been abandoned. They came on in the second half there and they’ll add a bit of an injection to us this weekend,” he said.
In what has been a rarity this season, the Ewes and Rams won in the same round, as the Ewes defeated a depleted ADFA on Thursday Night 37-5.
“I thought we played very well,” said Ewes Coach Stephen Crisp.
“Being able to drive over the breakdown and get turnover ball which we have struggled to do and been concentrating on it. We did it a few times against ADFA and it was good for the girls to see what’s possible, and what they can do with the right structure,” he said.
The Ewes were able to execute their game plan, which saw winger Kate Bismire run in multiple tries.
“It was good to see Kate on the wing score a couple of tries. The girls were really beating a player and then straightening up and setting up the person outside.”
“That was probably the best we’ve done and just the straight hard running was really good and that’s where most of our tries came from,” he said.
While the conditions weren’t nearly as bad as what their Ram counterparts had to deal with, they were far from easy, and the ladies managed them superbly as they cruised to their 32 point victory.
“The field was very greasy and the ball was pretty wet but there wasn’t too much dropped ball really. Once we cut out the long passes we were pretty good,” said Crisp.
Despite a finals spot all but locked in, Crisp views the weekends game against the Jindabyne Miss Piggies as vital to their chances of going beyond that first semi-final.
“Making the top three isn’t that huge when there’s only four sides in the Country section but it’s a big game this week. If we can beat Jindabyne this week, we’ve got a chance of topping the section and if we lose we could come third.”
“We’ve really got to concentrate this week and have a really big game because that’ll at least allow us to play a lower side of the City teams when it comes to the Semi Final,” he said.
Both the Rams and the Ewes will host Jindabyne this weekend, with plenty at stake for both sides. The games will be followed by the Yass Ewes Fluro Night at the Clubhouse Hotel.