07 Jul Near perfect day
A near perfect sunny day was spoiled when first grade was beaten by Royals and the Royal prince, Pedro Rolando, 14-23 with reserve grade winning 15-12 and colts 14-12.
In an action-packed day featuring the Gold Blooded Tour, Ladies Day and a Headspace presence along with the Foxtel ladies the three grades were turnarounds from the last time the two clubs met.
First grade was beaten in round seven 56-14, seconds 56-14 and colts on the bell 29-26.
The turnaround still left first grade with no breathing space with games against Owls and Easts left. University-Norths nearly pulled off a win over Gungahlin and will be out to cement fourth spot next week at their home ground.
The Whites could not have put a better side on the paddock with the inclusion of World Cup under 20 reps, Nic Frost and Becs Seeto. But there will still scrum problems. Prince Rolando is probably the most influential player in the competition and his match-control is not matched. He knows what, where and how.
A score line of 14-23 might indicate a close affair. It was not as Royals had control until the last ten minutes or so when the Whites lifted after a tired looking first half. By half time the home side was struggling at 0-17.
By far the best was Justin Sikimeti followed by his fellow flanker Zeph Tuinona. In the backs, captain James Marmont was calm, JR Morgan threatened continually, and Jack Gilmour had plenty of yards.
Coach Dave Carter must be impressed with his charges as they show their grit in hanging in there. A Pierre penalty gave the side the three- point win and an outside chance of making the final four.
Five eighth Fraser Smith won the Headspace player pack and he pipped No 8 Rowland Mateyawa, Ryan Jones and Sam Bartholomeusz for the honours. It was the attacking defence of the Whites that turned Royals back.
Colts had to play most of the game with BJ Jimenez red-carded for a lifting tackle. The side overcame a hard-running opposition to take the lead 7-5 at oranges. The Whites decided to fight fire with fire and headed straight up the paddock with Mika Eli, Dennis Menace, and Dave Teoteo leading the barge. The work of Matthew Winchester must be recognized.
Winger then fullback Michael Rademaker helped the other 13 to compensate for the send-off.
The side also showed plenty of smarts at the end of the game chewing up the time by picking and driving.