In the first home game of 2013 The Moonshiners donned a new strip replicating the original 1989 Shiners jersey, and charged out in front of a crowd nudging 300 to take on the Evans Heads Killer Whales. There was a double edged minute’s silence before kick-off in tribute to a dearly missed team-mate Luke ‘Blacky’ Whipps and also for former zone president Maurie Ryan. Captain Teale Pyne set the expectation in the change room: ‘There’s too much at stake for us to not win this game’.
The lads responded with an aggressive start. The brothers Pyne were early christening the new jerseys with their own claret. Every time Evans crossed the halfway line, Nathan ‘Super Boot’ Nicholls kicked them back. The Killer Whales defended stoutly with just three points conceded until Darcy Stephens took the running option, made thirty metres, off-loaded to Todd Arthur onto Wally Andrews for a 10-point lead the Shiners carried into half time.
During the past seven years Moonshine wins have been as rare as rockinghorse shit, but the players stuck fat, took no backward steps and forged a powerful spirit that extends beyond the rugby field. For the most those rare wins have been slogging affairs. In the second half the lads stood up to a man and smashed the Killer Whales. Fierce tackling had the Evans injury count increasing at an alarming rate. Their backs combined cohesion and powerful running and the floodgates opened. Todd Arthur scored the first of his two tries by steamrolling a winger, then kick and chasing across the line. Jackson Lewin starring at halfback and Nathan Nicholls both cashed in with five-pointers. Teale Pyne nailed the last of the day and players’ player Lucas ‘Smokin’ Joe’ Frazier in his farewell game slotted the kick. A chorus of You are my Moonshine rang out from the crowd as the ref said ‘yibbida yibbida, that’s all folks’. Brad Walsh was excellent and Duncan Kendall added inspiration with his return to the side. There is still plenty of season to go, but the club is in great shape with good numbers at training, plenty of volunteers and a big following making Saturday arvos at home games a cracking day out. Next week the team bus will roll out to Grafton; departure time will be advised at training on Wednesday.