Starting teams: Breakers: Swancott, McManus, Pryce, Sprod, Austin, Edwards, Ritchie, Lowe (RC 44mins), Ironside, Lane. Falcons: Jeudjevic, Bell, Gotis, Sekulic, Palamaras, Tsaltas, Hastie, Osman, Tricarico, Mihajlovic, Foy. (Archie Thompson came on at some stage)
Well I'm not going to dwell on this game much and especially not the gory details. Two youngish teams lined up, both non-metropolitan sides facing the pressures of commercial success for Soc Aus. For the Breakers 2,888 faithfull fans came out on a warm overcast night to stand in solidarity with their players given the lowly table position and the perceptions of the opposition. Both coaches revealed surprises: Of course Zane was suspended but only one normal striker started, rookie Benn Lane, with Ironside pushed up front. Arok had to leave out big experienced Canosa and keeper Kourtis with Bosnian Jeudjevic in his first start in goals. As the game kicked off after the NYL (NTB 1 NSW ITC 1) rumours and 'dead sets' were bouncing around Rowdies Hill. We shall just wait and see!
Falcons looked sharp from the start with some strong direct running and in the 4th min Foy showed how striking is done with a nice little swerve in from the right and a powerfull wack into the top left hand corner which bypassed the 3 NTB players and Swancott in front of him. Over the next 35 minsthe Breakers could have had 3 or 4 chances had the good lead up work resulted in direct runs on goal or strikes on target. The rumoured $500K cheque book had better open for a striker. At 41 mins former Joey Tricarico scored. 3 mins and a moment of madness by promising young Matt Lowe saw him charge Hastie late and after a careless yellow (one of 4 to NTB in just the first half - "The refs a p....!" chants all round! - and he was.) he quickly walked to the tunnel with the colour red burned into his short term memory. 0-2 down and ten men ... shite!
The second half saw a more even battle for 20 mins as the Breakers did well with a man down. Your know when you watch a run and you say to yourself here's a goal? Well yes Tricarico runs into and across the box trailed by Sprod and deftly swivels placing the ball cms inside the left corner giving Swannie no chance. In quick succession Tsaltas and McNicholl stun but not surprise the crowd with 2 goals. Only one goal has been at all Swancott's responsibility. Reach for cheque book. It is only at this humiliating point that the Breakers rise, or the Falcons ease, or both, for the rest of the half we are marginally on top. A penalty taken sweetly to the right corner by Captain Pryce provides little consolation.
Best: Falcons - Tricarico, Foy, Gotis Least worst for NTB: Sprod, Swancott, Wilson.
In short Falcons are still on the rise and have found the touch of clinical finishing, and the Breakers are losing all confidence and wouldn't find goal if they had an NRMA map to it. At least Kossie tried something but moving Ironside around the park like a chess piece is solving nothing. The defence lacks a marshalling force and is lost. Still 280km was a good time with my kids, some good company, and still a team I feel I can cheer for! We only sing when we're losing! :-) Oh my, it's Wolves next home game!