SATURDAY WAS the second game of the season for the The Gentlemen of Murwillumbah ‘Bananas’, as they took on last year’s premiers, The Iluka Cossacks.
Murwillumbah who were lacking the guidance of player coach Graham Dodge and captain Nick Reeve, were up for a tough game.
The Cossacks came out with a very physical game straight from the start, with plenty of pressure around the ruck.
Bananas, immediately caught on the back foot gave away an early try to the Cossacks.
However the Bananas tightened up their defence and spent the majority of the first half defending in their own half.
The possession was very little as the referee was not afraid to blow penalty after penalty against both sides, in all sending six players off with a yellow card, including three of the Bananas.
Breakaway Branden Arndell, Winger Jackson Atkin and Fly Half Damien Boyle all spent 10 minutes in the Sin Bin throughout the game.
Injury also played its part with the loss of veteran Prop Yu ‘Frankie’ Abekawa, who went down with a knee injury.
Half time saw the Iluka Cossacks up 21-nil over the Bananas.
With their backs against the wall the local boys sorted their attack and set about playing smarter, slower rugby which worked in their favor.
The Bananas first try came early in the second half when Michael Rossal crashed over out wide, the referee deemed it a penalty try as the Cossacks took Michael around the head defending their try line.
Cossacks however soon capitalised on a Bananas error, running the field to score their final try. Desperate for redemption the Bananas muscled their way up the field in the final minutes, with a strong performance in the forwards allowing Morgan Buchanan free space to push off a defender and score under the post.
The Bananas unfortunately unable to take the win, went down 28-14 to the Iluka Cossacks.
The Gentlemen of Murwillumbah ‘Bananas’ will play away this Saturday against competition favourites Evans Head. With the return of both Captain and Coach, they will look to put up a fight against the Evans Head Killer Whales.
Bananas next home game will be May 27 against the Kyogle Cockatoos at ‘Banana Park’ Bill Carol Oval, 1 Dorothy St Murwillumbah.