The Jindabyne Bushpigs have moved closer to its first minor premiership in eight years after a convincing victory over last year’s premiers the Bungendore Mudchooks at John Connors Oval at the weekend.
After a week’s rest due to the Brumbies Provincial representative game, the Bushpigs were near to full strength fielding its strongest possible team, minus the injured stalwart Michael Bottom but they welcomed back Dave Akkersdyk from a long injury lay off.
There was plenty to play for both teams as the Bushpigs looked to close in on the minor premiership and the Mudchooks looking at a top two finish. But it was the home team who took the maximum points away.
The Bushpigs began the game against coach Matt Tripet’s orders, as the Mudchooks came out with a little more aggression. This became evident on the scoreboard which saw the Pigs trailing 10-0 only after eight minutes.
With an early injury to superstar Matthew Caldwell and the scoreboard not in the Bushpigs favour, it seemed to spur the Bushpigs to kick into gear.
From here, the Bushpigs directed the game as the forward pack lead by man of the match Ian Vagg took great ascendency by controlling the ruck and clearly dominating the Mudchooks set pieces.
The Bushpigs were in damage control as Mudchooks had no answer to their rolling maul which saw John Field cross the line twice for the Bushpigs in the first half.
On the back of the forwards’ dominance the Bushpigs backs showed their flair as Craig Dixon finished off a perfect set piece move which took the Bushpigs 17-10 up at the half time siren.
The Bushpigs started the second half strongly with regular flanker Josh Shortland slotting into outside centre causing havoc for the Mudchooks defence. However, the Mudchooks rode some luck on the back of a Bushpigs set piece influenced by five eight Jake Roarty, where Shortland found himself in space. However instead of finding another Bushpigs player to link up to, the fastest man in the Mudchooks team found himself with the ball to run away to level the scores.
This didn’t seem to faze the Pigs too much as they produced some of their best rugby this season to blow the Mudchooks off the park. The forwards were laying a great platform through barnstorming runs by Isaac Maw and Michael Needham which was being cleaned up well by Matt Fish and Steve Rompannen who allowed halfback Taku Taiaroa to provide fast ball to the backs and other forwards.
As result of this momentum a number of tries were posted by Akkersdyk, Trippet (who was very lucky to get his first for the year) and a great solo try by Shortland to put the Pigs up 35-17 with 10 minutes remaining.
In the final stanza of the game the Pigs saw themselves camped deep inside their own half for much of it as the referee found a number indiscretions in the Mudchooks favour. The Mudchooks took full advantage of this and managed to score a late consolation try to bring the final score 35-22.
The score didn’t really reflect on the Pigs dominance as score line could have been increased as Roarty had an off day with the boot only managing to land two from seven conversions.
It was great effort by the Bushpigs who showed plenty of character. Stand outs for the game were Ian Vagg who received players player and three points, Josh Shortland (two points) and John Field (one point).
This week sees the top of the table clash between the Bushpigs and Taralga Tigers in Jindabyne . This game is set to be the game of the season for both teams as the Tigers would be looking to inflict another loss to have a sniff at top spot, but the Bushpigs will be looking for revenge after its ugly loss to the Tigers in round two.
The Tigers will be full of confidence knowing that they are the only team beating the Bushpigs this year and are on the back of some impressive results. On the other hand the Bushpigs are only one win away from securing the minor premiership and coach Matt Trippet will ensure his troops are ready to go and no doubt there will b a fired up Bushpigs team this weekend to secure that first spot.
So get to John Connors Oval this weekend and support the mighty Bushpigs. Kickoff is 2.30pm. Full bar and canteen facilities will be provided.
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JRUC weekend schedule -
U10s- Bye; U12s v Yass at Jindabyne 1pm; U13s v Trinity at Goulbourn; U15s v Marist at Marist; Miss Piggies v Narooma away; Bushpigs v Taralga Tigers at Jindabyne 2.30pm.