Moruya held its annual Indigenous round at home on Saturday, July 15, with four games of fast-attacking rugby league against local rivals, the Batemans Bay Tigers.
The clubs have long traded players and these matches always attract big crowds.
In first grade, Moruya were too strong, accounting for cellar dwellers Batemans Bay 40-4 in a fiery game.
Tiger Mason Harrison was sent off for headbutting and several players from both sides were sin-binned.
The Sharks led 16-4 at half time, with outstanding back rower Dean Scott scoring a double.
There were five first-half tries, but not one converted, an unusual stat in the modern game.
Batemans Bay opened the second half, scoring with another unconverted try to Gerard Dennis. They then showed great resilience in defence to frustrate the home team and hustled and bustled the Sharks into many errors.
Eventually the dam wall finally burst in the 70th minute when busy hooker Luke Jay scored near the posts for a well-deserved try.
Dennis Green then scored two quick tries in the 72nd and 74th minutes and Aaron Brierley got a fine solo try in the 78th minute. All four tries were converted by Jacob Hill and the score line blew out to 40-8. On paper, a convincing win.
Best for Moruya was Dean Scott for an outstanding display in attack and defence, while Bay halfback Mick Tadich was the Bay’s best.
The reserve grade sides played for the Robbie Stewart Shield, won last year by Batemans Bay.
Moruya players wore a striking Indigenous jumper designed by Lee Nye.
Former Shark Reece Nye opened the scoring for the Bay in the 16th minute – the only score until Jarod Cottington sliced open a tiring Bay defence in the 26th minute, scoring out wide and dully converting his try.
A second converted try by Greg McEwan just before the siren saw Moruya take a 12-4 lead into the break.
Batemans Bay came out firing in the second half with Jacob Bradbury scoring a quickfire double and when Corey Maddison scored in the 47th minute, the Tigers were up 22-12.
Moruya appeared shell shocked, but slowly worked their way back with a second try to Cottington, before former Tiger Scott Belcher equalled the game up with a strong try, 22-22 with 12 minutes to play.
However, following a regather from a clever kick-off, Reece Nye scored in the corner to wrest the lead back for the Tigers.
They then held out against Moruya’s pressure, until Brett Hanson scored right on fulltime to seal a deserved 30-22 victory for Batemans Bay to maintain the Robbie Stewart Shield.
Ladies league tag opened the day with the ladder-leading Sharkettes up against the young, inexperienced Bay Tigeresses.
The Moruya girls had way too much organisation and class for their rivals, scoring four first-half tries to one, with majors to Hannah Cadogen, Shae Chesher, Haley Johnston and Renee Colborough, with Georgia Laverack adding one late for the Bay.
The second half was all Moruya, with Nic Cowdroy, Ellie Doherty and Elka Pike all running in tries. Elka also kicked six conversions in a player-of-the-match performance.
Hayley Johnston was at her scheming best to be selected by the Bay as the best opposition player, while the Bay’s Erin Eade was likewise nominated by Moruya.
The Under 18s match was sadly a mismatch, with the Moruya team only able to field nine players.
They were competitive for long periods in the first half, but the fresh legs of the Bay team eventually saw them open up a commanding lead against a tired home team.
Matt Parish scored a double for the Sharks, who had lost half their squad in recent weeks.
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