Harden Red Devils rugby: round one

THE Harden Devils won their first game of the season in a close and very tough game last Saturday against the Grenfell Panthers. After a successful trial game a fortnight ago against Boorowa, the team travelled to Grenfell confident of a good showing.

Despite this the game could not have got off to a worse start with Clint Stevens giving away a penalty from the kick off.

Harden’s try came from a strong platform set by the forwards enabling Shahid Khalfan to take on the line and under pressure slip a pass to Jack O’Connor. O’Connor burst through the hole untouched and was able to run around under the posts for the try.

Khalfan converted the try and managed to put the ball over the adjacent highway into someone’s front yard.

The Grenfell captain must have recently read Cameron Smith’s, “How to Influence a Referee”, as every referee decision was questioned at length. This suited the Harden forwards who let’s say, have not quite reached peak fitness.

Coach Adam Walsh was impressed with grinding out a win and especially happy with managing to keep Grenfell scoreless.

“There’s plenty to take from the game, especially our defence,” Walsh said.

“I was happy we competed well in the line-out but we have some work to do on the scrum.

“We were unlucky not to score a few more tries, so overall it was a good performance.”

O’Connor intercepted the ball twice deep in Harden territory but unfortunately Grenfell do have a very fast winger. The forwards did spend quite some time camped on Grenfell’s line in the second half without scoring a try. One effort resulted in a penalty, converted by Khalfan, to give the final score and a nice 10-0 buffer.

Ben Brady, with a strong all round 80-minute effort, got the three points, the referee’s three points and shared player’s player with Ben Lenahan. Two points went to O’Connor and one to Khalfan.

I was happy we competed well in the line-out but we have some work to do on the scrum.

Coach, Adam Walsh

Jessie Redman had a solid game at fullback with strong defence, ending many Grenfell attacking effort. Harry Sachs has perfected the ability to get in the way of the opposition players in an effective, though not overly pretty, way.

The Devils have a home game against Cootamundra Tricolours next weekend. Everyone is welcome to come down to Roberts Park for a 2.30pm kick off.