Warwick comes good in second half of rugby clash
RUGBY: Ladies Day was a brilliant showcase of Warwick Water Rats' spirit and generosity.
The Warwick B-grade men's team played Rangers in the Darling Downs Rugby Union on Saturday at Risdon Oval on the same program at Ladies Day.
The event was run to perfection and the atmosphere around the club was truly special.
Our rugby in the first half wasn't.
We did score one of the fastest tries in Rats' history though thanks to some individual brilliance by Charlie Brennand whose move to flyhalf has set him free to let loose around the park.
It was his chip, chase and regather that set up prop James Bradbury who'd put in the hard yards, caught the offload and scored in the corner. All within 60 seconds! What followed was a gutsy display by the Toowoomba Rangers who dug in and were the better team for the rest of the half.
Our attacking breaks were snuffed out by a good tackle, a turnover at the ruck or poorly controlled passing and handling. Nothing seemed to click and we could get no ascendancy at the breakdown. What saved us was our smothering defence.
Rangers stuck it to us and for phase after phase the boys held out. Possession must have been 80 to 20 in that first half and our usual ball scavengers couldn't get a look in at the ruck.
The Toowoomba boys eventually barged over right on halftime and it was a bitter blow. No words were minced in the sheds during the break and it was back to basics in the second half. An immensely improved performance followed. Structures were adhered to and time was taken to set attacks.
It wasn't perfect but it was good enough and according to some players it was better than how we played in the 60-0 defeat of USQ. The backline started to find its rhythm after a few positional changes - Joe Levick to halfback and Max Hall to inside centre means we have greater mobility and better linking between inside and outside backs.
Hall was the grateful recipient of a gift five points after winger Paul Christensen put on some fantastic footwork to breeze past a couple of Rangers in midfield.
The return of Christensen and fellow winger Kai Etherington, who were sorely missed against Dalby, provided some power and class that can really make or break the quality of a backline.
Jonny Winter was an emergency sub in the first half but had one of his best games in a Rats jersey.
Often played way out of position on the wing or in the centres he returned to his natural habitat in the front row and had a ripper of a game making big hits and big runs.
The impact from the bench was crucial and it goes to show what depth does to a team's ability to push on in the final stages of play. Quantity of reserves has been seen as a luxury but is now the new normal for a club and a team growing its reputation as a fantastic place to play footy on the Downs.
So a back's to the wall first half was followed by a dominant second period that underlines our finals potential.
Onwards to St George in St George on Saturday.