It had been a clear and sunny day, but the cold wind that sprung up was as bitter and savage as Michael Clarke's Ashes memoirs. After our early good form and enjoyable games, I had been disappointed not to play last week because of the bye, which meant I was pretty frustrated to miss this week’s game with a new injury as well. Still, the next game seems to come around as frequently as Peter Dutton’s gaffes, so I will still get plenty of games in this season.
A few Untouchables were unreachable this week, so we only had six players and we started the game with only five, as Rihanna was living up to her reputation for starting concerts and other appearances late. Despite being outnumbered, we got on the attack early. Within a few minutes, the Archangel Gabby wrapped a dummy run out wide, creating space so the Bachelor could score, whilst being pursued by two girls (did I pretty much describe the plot of that horrible show?).
After striking the first blow, the Untouchables’ vaunted defence was next to flex some muscle. Potassium Jess (don’t tell me all the best chemistry jokes argon) showed how reactive she could be, locking down her wing, while the Puddleduck was a monster in the centre, shutting down a number of attacks and causing frequent turnovers. Despite resolute defence, the Untouchables had trouble making much progress forward, running into the wind at this point and were usually reaching their 5th or 6th touch close to the half way line.
Having absorbed a number of minutes of pressure and repeated sets of six in their defensive end, the Untouchables burst forward in attack again, with an ambitious looping pass from the Bachelor that found the Stegosaurus, who spun as he caught the ball and sprinted through a gap to double the score.
By now, responding to an S.O.S. SMS (try saying that quickly), Rihanna had joined the game and her speed in the ruck had an impact, allowing us to drive the ball forward more effectively through the centre. Having worked the ball into attack from our defensive line, the Untouchables kept it alive on the 5th touch and found the Stegosaurus out wide with enough room to get around the opposition wing and make it three nil.
Like a Brazilian dam (I mean a dam built in Brazil, not one that has had all vegetation removed from nearby), the seemingly impregnable Untouchables defence was finally breached and the Pirates got one back with a quick diving try in the centre. However the three try buffer was quickly restored with another diving try to the Stegosaurus on the siren.
It was 4-1 at half time (which seemed a familiar scoreline), although the Pirates could easily have had several more tries that had only been stopped by desperate last minute defensive efforts. It took a similarly committed effort at the start of the second half to stop them scoring again, but even this was only a reprieve as the Pirates soon got a deserved second try.
The Untouchables have shown an ability this year to flick a switch (or a Lever- am I right Archimedes?) and go on a scoring blitz in the second halves of games so far this year. This week it was signified by four, five seconds of brilliance from Rihanna, as she picked up the ball as dummy and charged forward, pushing back a disorganised and off side defence. After offloading the ball, she received a return pass from the Bachelor and danced her way through to score. Only a minute later, it was the Stegosaurus again, showing more agility than expected from his species and catching a defender off-guard with a sidestep to run through and score. When he snuck around the far wing for another try, it was suddenly 7-2.
By now, the Pirates were looking tired and had less answers to this onslaught than Jennifer Lawrence has different facial expressions. They were finding it hard to get any penetration into their attacking areas and were giving away the ball with skill errors that the Untouchables were making the most of. The Bachelor set up the next try with a pass that was rose-like in its elegance, after quick rucking actually put him over the scoreline as dummy half.
Rihanna showed her agility once again, as she caught the Pirates’ defence off guard and was through to score again. In the final moments of the game the Bachelor burst through and streaked towards the try line pursued as always by several desperate women (again, I am talking about the game and not the TV show, as much as they sound similar), ending the scoring at 10-2.
As with the week before, putting on such a clinical display with a number of players absent was a terrific effort. It was a notable team performance with excellent communication and organisation across the field, while the effectiveness and speed of our attacking play improved as the game wore on, with barely a handling error in the whole game.