For the first game of preseason, Strets welcomed a touring team from the USA, on a Tuesday night. With only 4 weeks of preseason training completed, the game was structured by 20 minute thirds, with both teams bringing large squads with plenty of subs.
Strets started the game very strongly, and implemented the game plan set by coach Matt Hawkes perfectly with the system working well. New fly half Joe West was reading the game well and used our forwards effectively. Some nice offloads from captain Adam Barnes, James Benyon and Freddy Green sent Angus Mainland through for the first try of the game after a nice finish from the opponents 22. Jack Kelleway slotted the conversion.
The structure began to break down slightly with rolling substitutions, and Strets admirable defence was eventually broken down after our opponents went wide after some sustained pressure on our line to go in under the posts. Conversion duly followed.
In a moment of individual brilliance, Ibrahim Campbell reminded us how impactful he can be. Reading the game beautifully, he took an interception on the halfway line and sprinted under the posts to put Strets in front. The simple conversion was again slotted by Jack Kelleway.
Some more excellent defence followed, with the fringes of the ruck being defended well by forwards like Daniel Murley, who constantly reminds us of his fearless defensive abilities. The outside channels were well managed too by a new centre combination now including former prop Charlie Pattihis, marshalling the outside backs well.
Unfortunately Long Beach Island broke the line a couple more times to put them ahead, and after some pressure on the Long Beach line, they managed to clear and secure the victory.
For the first game of preseason against a team nearing the end of their season, Strets at times played some really nice stuff, filling us with optimism for the rest of the season. With new boys Craig Metcalfe, Joe West, Alex Buck, Pat Coffey, Jack Hardwick looking good, theres plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming season.
Man of the Match: Cameron
Dick of the Day: Michael Parker, for deciding to sub himself out during a lineout without telling anyone...
Good luck Long Beach State for the rest of the tour!