A TREMENDOUS second half display of dominant defence and composed attack gave the Bay Tigers under 18s a 22-16 victory over Warilla-Lake South Gorillas at Mackay Park on Saturday.
See more photos from the Tigers match here.
The match went down to the final minutes with Tigers fullback Ryan Hall batting a kick over the dead ball line in front of a diving Gorilla.
In the next set, Warilla’s last for the match, the gang-tackling Batemans Bay defence forced a knock-on to the delight of the home fans.
Coach Danny Whitter said his team hung in there after a dreadful first 20 minutes for a well-deserved win.
“I was worried for a bit there but the boys played determined and hung-on,” Whitter said.
Batemans Bay was in a hole after 20 minutes as Warilla piled on three quick tries to lead 16-nil.
Whitter was running water and asked “do you think they are three tries better than you?”
“The boys answered ‘no’ and I said ‘well you better turn it around quick’,” Whitter said.
The Tigers scored through a bustling run from Lachlan Knox, and found their feet off the back of their aggressive defence in the final 10 minutes of the first half.
“We started to get numbers to the tackle and at one stage the Warilla boys didn’t want to run it forward,” Whitter said.
The score remained 16-4 at half-time and Whitter believed the break helped the Gorillas.
“We had momentum so I just went through a few plays we had not used in attack,” Whitter said.
“We also spoke about remaining composed in attack and I told them not to panic.”
The Bay put on two quick tries in the second half through Chris Le Dieu and Bailey Scholtz and was trailing 16-14.
Undisciplined play by Warilla trying to get under the skin of the Tigers gave the Bay handy field position.
The Bay was repelled and Jack Bennett’s potential go-ahead try was held up in the corner by the Gorillas defence.
The Tigers swung the ball left and opposite winger Chris Le Dieu found some space and scored in the corner to put his side up 18-16.
With the game in the balance an overzealous pass on the first tackle by a Warilla player in his own half gave the Tigers another attacking set.
Doug Ebsworth sliced through the Gorillas right side defence to score a try and gave his side a 22-16 lead.
The Tigers held on in the final few minutes and nabbed their first win since late March against the Shellharbour City Sharks.
Whitter said his team’s defence was aggressive and put the game in their favour.
“Josh Clarke and Baden Payne were two players who were aggressive in their tackles, putting their bodies on the line without malice,” he said.
The Tigers face Jamberoo away on Sunday and Whitter believed if his team could play like they did in the second half they would be in good stead for the match.
Batemans Bay Tigers 22 (Chris Le Dieu 2, Bailey Scholtz, Doug Ebsworth, Lachlan Knox tries Doug Ebsworth goal) defeated Warilla-Lake South Gorillas 16.