If the 4th grade had travelled with a light squad, the 3rd grade had barely a skeleton crew. That time of year saw work and injuries get in the way as Souths took the field with a distinctly makeshift line-up. Kori Cooper took the hit as a captain would and stepped in at 9, filling the considerable gap left by Ben Olislaegers.
The previous game of the day had sucked the goodness from the water-logged, ramshackle surface and so this game lived up to the expectations of most. A tense forward battle with big hits and powerful running was the order of the day, with the backs left to compete in the kicking duel. Although unaccustomed, Cooper led the way with some barn storming runs. Onlookers winced as the considerable power of Matt CeBall, Ray Medway and Irwin Swinney crashed and bashed into the Bunbury line, which in turn set their big runners the task of piercing the Lions defence, still the best in the competition. Something had to give and it was a commendable roll out of the tackle from a ruck deep in the Bunbury 22 from Cooper which put Souths in front, converted by Nell. The perennial resolute Barbarians weren’t convinced. Always tricky to dominate at their homeground, they snubbed out another Souths attack with a clever intercept and raced away for a score. The forward battle resumed as the half drew to a close with the game well in the balance.
Souths as a club stood up today though and the second half was the proof. A raft of changes saw a number of Souths second graders take to the field and a definite advantage was gained. Although the pack still crashed and bashed as the backs perfected their punts, there was never too much danger from Bunbury as the play stayed between the ten metre markers. Into the last quarter and a period of organised pressure resulted in a quite special way to break the deadlock. A centre field scrum led to a back row move. The ball was set-up and passed as Caleb Lamatoa gathered and lined up the posts. An impeccable drop goal in treacherous conditions. Although the lead was only stretched to 10-5, the lowered Barbarian heads told the tale. More potent attacks followed and good work again near the Bunbury line saw quick pick and drive from Dirk Penny resulting in further addition to his impressive tally for the year. Converted with 5 minutes to go the game looked won. Still, there was time for more. A late scrummage once again deep in the Bunbury half was turned over by great work from the new look Souths front row. Accounts vary to next passage but Tim Coffey was the name added to the scorers list as his team mates mobbed the hard working lock after a quick dive to score under the posts. Conversion inexplicable missed, Souths continued their amazing run of victories. 22-5.
This week top of the table clashes all round as Souths travel to Curtin.