Stanford 15 vs 14 Kings Cross Steelers
A DETERMINED Stanford side wanted to correct an error ridden game from earlier in the season.
A 1st team debut was being given to Dominic McDonald, a product of the strong Stanford mini/midi section who started playing at the age of 4.
Stanford started the stronger of the two sides with powerful and controlled rucking, winning turnover ball through Ryan Edgeway’s superior play. Liam Fitzpatrick was feeding the back line from the back of the set plays and Dominic McDonald who was playing out of position at Fly Half was varying the play and was using the wind with great skill. One such kick was inch perfect for Adam Gander to sprint onto. Gander’s pressure on the follow up made the nervous Steeler’s winger fumble and Gander sweetly collected the ball, with work still to do he drove to the line and got Stanford’s first points.
Stanford then committed the biggest sin of all by not making their tackles and allowed a Steeler’s player to beat four tackles and score under the posts. Despite the head wind the kick was easy and Steelers took the lead after 20 minutes with their first visit into the Stanford half.
Steelers were now competing better at the break downs and these areas became very messy from both sides as attention to the laws seemed to be relaxed.
Edgeway was still hitting his tackles and was rewarded with a try of his own making when he smashed one the Steelers forwards but not just content with that he ripped the ball as his opposition was felled, he then broke free and sprinted to go in under the posts. Ryan Slaney stepped forward and slotted the extra two points to give Stanford the lead at half time 7 -12.
An injury forced Slaney to leave the pitch but Nick Sheard was more than capable to add his impression on the second half. Stanford again started strong a loose kick from Steelers saw Jamie Evans, Kyle Munro, Liam Morley, Nick Sheard and Mark O’Connell link up with a fantastic burst of play. McDonald not wishing to miss out linked up and from 22 metres out cut through a gap and headed straight for the line. A Steeler’s last ditch effort slowed McDonald down who stretched for the line but lost control of the ball just as he was to touch down, a massive shame because his debut performance most definitely deserved a try.
As the 22 restart was taken, again Steelers fluffed the kick and Stanford went start back towards the line, an infringement by Steelers gave Stanford a kickable penalty in normal conditions but with a strong head wind nothing was certain. Captain Morley stepped up and dissected the posts to move Stanford 8 points clear.
In quick succession Stanford lost Ryan Edgeway and Kyle Munro to injuries but with Dan May and Dan McIntosh ready to come on Stanford were still confident to control the game. However Steelers had other ideas. Keeping Stanford on the back foot they created set play after set play and worked a very well taken try to allow their kicker the extra two points from in front of the posts. Now with one point in it Stanford was defending with all their might to keep the lead.
With only two minutes to go Captain Morley had to leave the pitch after putting his body on the line for his side. Stanford stood strong and looked to be weathering the last surge but then a penalty was given against Stanford for what seemed to be absolutely no reason.
Directly centre on to the posts with the wind behind him the Steeler’s kicker stepped up to convert the easiest kick of the game in fact it was harder to miss but that is exactly what happened and the final whistle went with a one point Margin win in favour of Stanford.