THE JINDABYNE BUSHPIGS have become the first team in 29 years of Jindabyne Rugby Union history to secure a home grand final. In front of packed John Connors Oval crowd, the Bushpigs ground out a nail baiting 14-13 win over Taralga Tigers.
Having to play each other for the fourth time this season, both teams who had each recorded a win, withthe other result ending in draw, knew that the end result of this game was the most important of all - a home grand final.
The match began at a frantic pace, with the Bushpigs coming out with plenty of fire in the belly. In early exchanges the Bushpigs defence led by hooker Daniel Josifovski and captain-coach Matt Tripet were giving the Tigers plenty to think about with some bone crunching tackles.
The forward pack was at its best, putting ascendency on the Taralga pack with a number of turn over balls in the ruck and through the scrum.
The Bushpigs advanced on some field possession early on with five-eight Matthew Caldwell accurately kicking with the breeze to put the Tigers under constant pressure. The Bushpigs pack took great control around the break down with a series of phases to put the Bushpigs in the lead early on after a penalty kick from Andrew McDonald.
The Bushpigs continued to apply the early pressure as Taku Tairoa and John Field churned up the metres with some great runs. However, the only way the Bushpigs managed to pick up points was only through another penalty as the Tigers defence tried to hold out.
As the game began to settle in, so did the Tigers, working themselves back into it. The Tigers took advantage of a number penalties to lock the score at 6-6 with only a few minutes remaining in the half.
On the half time siren, Michael Needham went agonising close to extending the lead further for the Bushpigs which resulted in a Bushpigs penalty. McDonald again stepped up to the plate to send the home side in front 9-6 after a tight first half.
The Bushpigs came out of the sheds at the half knowing that they had to take full advantage of possession to ensure they took out the game.
From the kick off, great work around the ruck from Steve Rompannen and Ian Vagg ensured the Bushpigs turned the ball early on. The Bushpigs continued to press the Tigers line with Liam Pepper, Dave Akkersdyk and Michael Bottom running great lines to put the Bushpigs in great position to score. The forwards controlled the break down with Matt Fish, Tripet and Needham taking on the line a number of times. After almost 10 phases with the ball, the Bushpigs were rewarded with try through Needham to extend the lead to 14-6.
With the eight point buffer and plenty of time on the clock the game was certainly for the taking for both teams. The Tigers began to pick themselves up as they did in the first half and take advantage of the breeze to camp the Bushpigs in their own half.
The Tigers threw everything at the Bushpigs, and were rewarded as their slippery five eight somehow managed to fine a hole through the solid Bushpigs defence. His try was converted and it was anyone’s game from then on.
The final 10 minutes of the game was very much a nervous one if you were a Jindabyne fan.
The Bushpigs were well camped inside their own half defending for their lives to ensure no slip ups to give the Tigers the lead. However, some ill discipline from the Tigers and some heroic defence by the Bushpigs was enough to seal the elusive grand final in Jindabyne in two weeks time. As the final whistle blew, the loud Jindabyne faithful burst into a loud cheer as the Bushpigs players celebrated.
It was a gallant effort by the Bushpigs as coach Tripet said, “It’s an honour to be wearing this jersey, with these men in front of our community to showcase what we did today. I have never been a part of team to show courage and determination then I did with the Bushpigs today.”
Tripet reflected on the season and all the hard work that Bushpigs have put in to get to where they are. He stated ‘The boys can go and enjoy this victory tonight, but from next week it will be a clear focus on the grand final in two weeks time. We want to bring this home for the Jindabyne community.’
The Bushpigs are the top team in the competition this season, deservingly taking out the rights to host the grand final on September 1st and will take on the winner of either Taralga Tigers/Crookwell Dogs who will be playing this weekend.
The Jindabyne Rugby Union Club encourages every person in the Snowy Mountain region to get behind them in the quest for the premiership . The grand final will be played at John Connors Oval, Jindabyne on September 1st with a 2.30pm kick off. Let’s go PIGS.
JRUC weekend results: U10s lost 10-19 to St Edmunds; 12s won 19-7 against Marist 19/7; 13s won 25-19 against Tableands; 15s won 24- 19 against Wests; Sore Bores drew 9-9 against ACT Vets; Miss Piggies lost 10-37 to Royals; Bushpigs won 14-13 against Tarlaga.