THE Jindabyne Bushpigs narrowly went down to the competition leaders the Taralga Tigers 33 - 25 at John Conners Oval in snowy conditions on Saturday.
The Bushpigs' season has been full of ups and downs and this game was no different for the home side. Some of their play was the best it has been all season however some was among the worst. The Pigs once again came out strongly to start the match with defence that hasn't been seen this year with Liam Pepper and Captain Jake Roarty leading from the front. This led to great field position and was eventually rewarded with a great team effort allowing Andrew McDonald to sneak over for a brilliant half back try.
The Bushpigs smelt an upset over the dominant side in this years competition and began to press once again with strong work from the front row in Jeremy Witherdin, Issac Maw and Steve Romppanen putting the side on the front foot and allowed Matthew Caldwell to use his speed to open up the Tigers short side defence from a scrum and slide over in the corner.
From then the game turned into an arm wrestle with both sides showcasing their defensive skills. Both teams had strong runners which meant the tackles were very physical and seemed to be taking a toll on the home side. Despite strong efforts from 16-year-old Kurtis Atkinson in the ruck forcing turn over's, the Tigers managed to break the Jindabyne defence and score their first try of the day out wide. This was quickly countered by the home side with McDonald snatching his second try of the day.
The second half provided much the same spectacle as the first with both sides bringing intense physicality to every contest. Jindabyne put the pressure on once again through great line breaks to Josh Shortland and Craig Dickson and strong support from gallant Canadian import Matt Forde. The 15 year combination of Roarty and Caldwell was a feature of the days play and led to Caldwell bagging his second on the end of a brilliant flick pass from Roarty. The Pigs scored one more try to hopefully put the game out of reach with Josh Shortland crossing over with a strong carry. Unfortunately however Shortland struggled with the boot and Jindabyne had to settle with their 25 points to carry them through.
This was where the game began to fall apart for the home side however with Taralga gaining some momentum and Jindabyne's fitness once again letting them down.
Holes began to appear in the men in greens line and there was lots of falling off tackles. The turning point came with Liam Pepper losing his cool and putting in a silly late challenge and was subsequently sinbinned. This halted all of Jindabyne's momentum and put too much pressure on the remaining forwards as Pepper had been shouldering much of the load. Taralga made the most of some costly mistakes as the Jindabyne side tired to score two quick tries and win the game by 8 points.
Roarty said, "Taralga to their credit took their opportunity and put the game to bed when we should have been doing the same thing."
"It was disappointing that once again we played so well in that first half, defended better than any game this year and had the game there to win yet silly mistakes, discipline and fitness let us down. We only have ourselves to blame."
Points this week 3 points went to Jake Roarty for Hammond Pest Control, 2 points Matthew Caldwell for Serges Cafe and 1 point and Players Player Kurtis Atkinson for Mountain Munchies.
This Saturday the side will play their annual charity match to support SnowyHydro Southcare so get up to John Conners Oval for a big day of rugby for a great cause.