The Mullumbimby Moonshiners only loss so far this season was at the hands of the Iluka Cossacks.
Saturday at Brunswick Heads was the opportunity to square the ledger. The Shiners surged deep into Cossacks territory early. Todd Arthur sniffed an opening and directed play to the clubhouse corner. Fly half Nathan Nicholls burst from the back of the ruck and gave four Cossacks windburn to open the scoring. Super Boot then converted his own try. A penalty soon after had the lead out to 10 points and then the game went into slow motion.
Intensity from both teams dropped off and the game had the energy of a radio with a flat battery. Veteran prop Matt Perry tried to spark things with a trademark bustling hit up. It was his last play of the day. A crunching tackle left him spread eagled and motionless with a dislocated hip. At last report on Saturday he was undergoing surgery at Tweed Hospital. Plenty of concerned team mates and supporters will be hoping Matt makes a full and swift recovery. In one of the more unusual scrums of the day, both Iluka and Mullum forward packs combined to drive the ambulance backwards from a bog beside the field.
The forty minute delay galvanised the Shiners. Where the first half was indecisive, pedestrian and disjointed the second was precision, commitment and cohesion. Teale Pyne and Jarrad Hicks were two of many to rattle some Cossack cages with thumping tackles. They didn’t like it and isolated Iluka defenders could have been mistaken for playing hot potato.
Mullum second rower Lucas Moffatt was getting higher than Joe Cocker in the line outs and Leon Matchett-Oates was leading the scrum from hooker. With the Shiners threatening the Iluka line, Jacko Lewin sharp at half back sent the ball wide through three sets of hands to winger Simon Hutton at full throttle for his third try of the season. Then in a set piece that was rugby eye candy, Todd Arthur sent a cut out pass to Dylan Fitzgerald to pop the ball into the imposing path of full back Keelan ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ Jenkins to stretch the lead to twenty zip. ‘Mister consistent’ Teale Pyne had the Cossacks shot, shagged and run over when he set up the last two Moonshine tries.
The first a bullocking run deep into attack, from the ruck Louey Lewin redirected play in bound for Nath Nicholls to bag himself a double beneath the post. Then Pyne offloaded in heavy traffic for Jarrad Hicks to seal the deal with try number five. Iluka were awarded a penalty try at the death for a sweet 34 – 7 Mullum victory. Fourteen tries in the past three games has eclipsed the number of Moonshine tries in the previous four years.
The Shiners host the Grafton Redmen at Bruns next Saturday with a 2pm kick off. Post-game it’s on to the Bowlo for Dave and Sarah’s engagement!