The Yass Rams Rugby Union Club’s season is officially over, with both the Rams and the Ewes losing their first finals at Taralga on the weekend.
The Rams fought admirably and were ultimately unlucky to go down 26-21 against a quality Taralga Tigers outfit. The loss didn’t come without controversy. A questionable forward pass call by the referee disallowed a late Rams try, which would’ve likely seen them steal the game from the Tigers.
“It was just bad luck,” said Rams Coach Ian McFarlane.
“I’m not going to blame the ref, we were our own worst enemy. We created opportunities, we just lacked a bit of patience there when we should’ve been more patient.”
“I said to them don’t forget this feeling because when we come back next year bigger, older, stronger and wiser, we don’t want to ever feel this way again,” he said.
While there was an even spread of contributors across the park, Wingman Patrick Doepel and gutsy Halfback Andrew Smith were the Rams Coach’s choices as best performers on the day
McFarlane was in a reflective mood as he compared his expectations coming into the season to what eventuated.
“I think we did great things this year. We’ve gone from winning nothing last year. We didn’t win a game and couldn’t pull a crowd. This year we had a nice crowd there at Taralga, people travelling and the atmosphere was quite good.”
“I was happy winning three or four games this year because premierships aren’t won in one year, they’re built over two or three years. The whole thing was about just starting to rebuild and we probably got further than I expected.”
“We had six wins, six losses and our for and against ended up being 0. It couldn’t get much more even than that,” he said with a laugh.
Losing to a side the quality of Taralga in the way that they did, has done nothing but add to the Rams Coach’s beliefs about what his side might be capable of over the next few seasons.
“From our point of view we’re young and we’re enthusiastic and a few of them are hurting which is good. I like to see hurt because it means that it means something to them.”
“They know how to do it now, they won four in a row at the end of the season and I think they learnt a valuable lesson there on Saturday on what Taralga did. Take the points when they’re on offer because they kicked four penalty goals.”
“Some of the young blokes who have had a full season now like the Hassan’s (Alsamara) and all of those guys that are 19, 20 years of age, I think they’ll be better off for it.”
“We’ve got the ability, we’ve got the fitness. We’ve probably got to find one or two key positions but the most impressive part about this group is that they’re not afraid of hard work and when I asked them to do something, they did it without ever complaining,” said McFarlane.
McFarlane also confirmed that he’d be returning in season 2022 and provided an ominous warning for the rest of the competition.
“I’m here next year. Bronson (Club President) and I have already spoken. Me and Andy Hewitt. Andy will be the assistant and we’ll have a Club Coach in Grant Brewer.”
“I’m very excited, I’m planning already actually. I’ve started thinking about on Sunday afternoon what we need to improve in our game to really take the competition by the throat,” he said.
An undermanned Yass Ewes came up against a rampant Wests and were gallant in defeat despite the scoreline, going down 82-5.
“It was tough, we had a couple of our more consistent players have to pull out with injuries from the previous weeks. So we rocked up there with nine players and Wests were good enough to give us a player and even two players in the second half,” said Coach Stephen Crisp.
“They’ve been beating City sides by 50 points so we knew we were up against it. The funny thing was in the first ten minutes of the match, we probably played as well as I’ve ever seen us play. They knew they were up for a tough game and they tackled their hearts out, like really good, hard tackles,” he said.
With key players out, the Ewes received notable performances that their Coach wanted to acknowledge.
“Amanda Marsden plays a very quiet game but her cleanouts were unbelievable on the weekend.”
“Kayla McMaster was playing in prop and she just took the ball up so often and really worked her backside off.”
“Heidi Ward who’s tackling, she just drops girls from everywhere. Beautiful low tackles, she’s just got to learn to get her head out of the way, she nearly knocked herself out there.” he said.
Despite the big loss, the spirit and fight shown by the Ewes was something Coach Crisp was incredibly proud of. It’s a spirit they’ve carried with them all year regardless of the obstacles in front of them.
“It was just so heartening. They tried so hard and they ran so hard but they were just up against bigger, faster girls all round. They literally got so tired and it was just tough to keep up. But they never dropped their heads all game, and they tackled all game.”
“As the match wore on it was harder and harder to do, but geez they tried hard,” he said.
Crisp said that while the Wests dominance was apparent for all to see, as it has been all year, it did not mean the Ewes were doing much wrong.
“Believe it or not I was telling the girls just to do more of the same because they were driving it up and securing the ball, really, really well. It was probably in the third or fourth phase where we’d lose the ball and it was just because their scavengers were so fast onto the ball.”
“We weren’t doing anything wrong and we held onto the ball for long periods of time. It was just the pure power, size and pace that was just too much for us,” he said.
Reflecting on his side’s season, the Ewes Coach was delighted with the onfield progress of his ladies, and perhaps even more importantly, their tangible chemistry and fortitude.
“I think most of the girls would say they’ve come an awful long way. The way that they were tackling at the end of the season was a massive contrast to the start of the season. The lines that they run and their ability to offload the ball. They’re such a good team.”
“The only thing our team is missing is speed. We don’t have exceptionally fast runners and that’s something you can’t really coach but that’s where a lot of teams use their kick and chase and get it quickly to a wing. It’s very hard to defend that in a game of 10’s and I guess that’s the frustrating thing for our competition. We’d be so much better if it was 15 a side because we could cover that speed so much more easily.”
“They’re a really strong bunch of ladies and I think what they got out of it this year, the team spirit and camaraderie, and just the pure fun of it. They had some great moments this year and just really enjoyed themselves,” he said.
It’s been an absolute pleasure covering the Rams and the Ewes this season. The club will celebrate its Presentation Night on the 18th of September at the Clubhouse Hotel.