WELL WHAT A GAME!
|1st Semi Final - Sat 18 th August '07 @ Sutho' Oval
|24 - 20
||DE LA SALLE
|TRIES : Pittman 2, Drinkwater, L Brown
GOALS : Paddy 4
|TRIES : Speers, Giles, Davidson Wedderswieller
GOALS : Manahan, Davidson
|Congratulations to the Cronulla Caringbah Sharks, as they go straight thru to this years Grand Final in 2 weeks
The thing I enjoy the most about this game was the absolute commitment of both teams.
There was no dirty play as the game was just too fast and physical to get sidetracked by any silly stuff.
The first ten minutes were end to end football with De La probably having a slight advantage with better field position and penalties going there way.
De La made some strong attacks through the middle of the ruck with their big forwards just driving through tackles leaving the Cronulla Caringbah guys scattered on the ground behind them.
But Cronulla Caringbah hung tight with some desperate defence to hold De La out.
A good kick chase and some better field position saw Cronulla's ever consistent forward Jeremy Saville throw a nicely timed cut out pass to Joseph Drinkwater who scored about 10 yards in from the corner.
Cameron Paddy seemed to hit a purple patch with the boot and put it right over the black dot, 6-0 to Cronulla.
De La struck back and within minutes they were scored a try down the sideline after an excellent backline movement put De La's winger John Speers over in the corner.
De LA missed the kick but it wasn't long before they were in a again when Ryan Giles stepped inside, then stepped again to put himself into a gap with a flu ridden Cronulla Fullback Scott Sorenson wrong footed by and Gilesy showing some great speed to score near the uprights.
De LA kicked the goal thanks to Luke Manahan and for the first time in 2007 De La Salle were in front of last years premiers.
The Cronulla Caringbah fans went quiet as they pondered a possible final against Engadine Dragons.
De La seemed to have the ascendancy as they steam rolled down the field.
Cronulla held them down in the next set of six and were able to start theirs with some reasonable field position.
Luke Brown Cronulla's form forward this year continued to push his way towards a development squad spot with a bustling barging run that saw him just touch the tip of the ball down right under the upright before being dragged back up on his back by De La' defence.
Cameron Paddy put the ball over the black dot and Cronulla hit the lead again about 7 mins before half time.
Desperate defence and attack kept the score line at 12 - 10 Cronulla's way for the half time break.
Back on the field and it was "game on". However this half Cronulla Caringbah seemed to find the form that saw them win minor premiership. Led in the forwards by an absolutely fearless Rea Pittman.
Rea's hits on De La powerhouse Zac Weddersweiller in the first half were scarey.
The first hit left him flat on his back with Zac thundering over the top of him.
But he backed up again and did the exact same thing again about 5 mins later in what was a "groundhog day" move that unfortunately for him left him looking at the big blue sky for a second time in a row.
The spectators on that side all sighed in disbelieft at the strength of the hits.
The collisions were so hard Dr Julie Blaze,who was standing near me, was sure that Rea would have suffered concussion and couldn't believe when he got up and continue to play - Kids don't try this at home!!!
And continue to play he did. Pittman came out of the blocks in the second half with 2 tries in succession. Both tries were from pounding, diving, darting efforts that just showed how gritty this kid is.
Cameron Paddy again showed great skill to steer another kick from way out wide over the dot and one from closer in as well. His kicking would prove decisive in the final wash up.
Cronulla were out in front and the game seemed to have run it's course...... But there was still plenty of time left!!!
De La pushed to get back into the game and Reece Davidson again showed how strong he is with a power house run through the middle of the ruck to score and then convert his own try. IT was game on at 24-16.
Shortly after with De La pouring on the pressure they had moved towards the Crounulla line.
Coming towards the right wing with some great backline ball movements De La were on a roll throwing the ball down the short side it got to Weddersweiller.
He ran in a straight line from about 20m out and just a metre in from the sideline with Cronulla Caringbah players smashing into him the whole way to score in the corner.
Reece couldn't convert and it was now 24 -20.
With only minutes to go De La were pushing back towards the Cronulla line.
The time seemed to expand and all of a sudden Cronulla looked to be on the back foot despite some absolutely great defence from Stacey Morrel and little Blake Walker.
De La pushed back to the same spot this time Weddersweiller cleverly drew his man and passed to his winger who went within and inch of scoring but was pushed over the touch line by some desperate Cronulla defence.
Moments later De La tried the same move again, threw the pass a bit to far behind the attacking player the ball was out and the game was all over.
Cronulla Caringbah winners 24-20 in what was a thrilling match. From the Cronulla Caringbah viewpoint the penalty count was far too one sided with the bulk of penalties going against them.
Sometimes that's just the way it goes with refs making line ball decisions that can go either way.
Overall it was a tremendous game played by two very well coached teams and played with great sportsmanship. Both teams and spectators deserve to be commended on their performances.