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Iluka Cossacks get educated

Iluka Cossacks were defeated by Yamba on the weekend. Images: Contributed.

Last Saturday the Iluka Cossacks hosted the big improvers of the 2017 season, the Yamba Buccaneers in the first of three local derbies this season. Any doubts about Yamba being favourites for this season’s title were erased when the Buccaneers gave the Cossacks an education in rugby as they outplayed Iluka in all facets of the game running out winners 41-5.
Before an enormous home crowd the game that promised everything delivered everything in spades. From brutal defence, classic tries, old fashion forwards rugby and the odd sin binning and send off, supporters from both teams got their money’s worth on a perfect afternoon to play rugby.
The locals began in frantic fashion like a Schapelle Corby media scrum as they raced in a try in the first minute by Shaquille Roberts and were unlucky not to score another couple of tries in the opening minutes. Yamba, to their credit, weathered the opening onslaught and their forwards began to take control of the game. The Yamba forwards maintained possession for long periods, frustrating their Iluka counterparts, which saw penalties and momentum going Yamba’s way. Some of the forward collisions were colossal with one impact between Trent Cullen and Jordan Walker both in the120kg area culminating with Cullen flying through the air after a bump by Walker, much to the crowd’s delight.
On the stroke of half time, the crowd were treated to a great rampaging try by man of the match Jordan Walker, who raced 50 metres down the side line, which saw the Buccaneers go to the break leading 17-5. Iluka may not have been knocked out at this stage but certainly were getting an eight count from the referee.
The second half began the same as the first ended with Yamba applying an enormous amount of pressure on Iluka as they pounded away at the Cossacks line. When a Cossacks player was sent from the field, another sin binned in quick succession and a string of eight penalties, Yamba took full advantage and raced in three quick tries. Success in any sport is all about taking your opportunities when presented and Yamba did just this as they showed a professionalism which will take them a long way in the competition this year.
To Iluka’s credit the players were still in the contest right to the final whistle and the scoreline didn’t reflect the closeness of the game. Lenny Anderson was outstanding for the Cossacks but not much else went right for the locals. This Cossacks team’s pride has been dented and lessons will be learnt from this game and the education the Cossacks received will benefit the team going forward. On a lighter note Cossacks coach Tony Wiseman has enrolled at Iluka Public School to learn how to count pass three.
This week the Cossacks remain at home when they take on Evans River who are undefeated at this stage of the competition. Evans River are known for their regimented structure of playing the game and will give Iluka a tough afternoon. During the week Coach Wiseman has been frantically trying to get a copy of the rule book for a quick education lesson for his players to understand the rules. On the other hand, rugby supporters have come to expect the unexpected from Iluka and this week will be no exception. The Cossacks play high risk and supporters are always on the edge of their seats but who wants to spend a boring afternoon running around the park, not the Cossacks. See you there for another classic afternoon of rugby starting 2pm at the home of rugby, the Iluka Sports Ground.

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