Three send-offs, three sin-binnings and multiple fights marred Sunday’s Group 11 reserve grade decider derby between Dubbo CYMS and the Macquarie Raiders.
The match was always expected to be heated but few expected the scenes which played out during the match, which CYMS went on to win by 10 points.
It was the Fishies’ third successive reserve grade title but all the talk post-game was the numerous incidents, particularly a string of fights early in the second half.
Tye Gordon and Craig McLean, of CYMS and Macquarie respectively, were both sent off for fighting by referee Daniel Thornton, while the Raiders’ Madison Reynolds was also marched soon after when things flared up again.
“I was very disappointed in that,” CYMS coach Joel Rapley said after the game.
“I spoke to their coaches and apologised for out boys and they apologised for the same thing. We don’t want to see that.
“But everyone is happy now and they’re shaking hands, just out there tempers flared and hope it doesn’t happen again.”
Raiders’ co-coach Anthony Egan agreed it was a bad look for the game.
“We try and pride ourselves on being a good club,” a disappointed Egan said.
“There was niggle in the first half from both sides and just got on with it but in the second half things kept getting dragged back.”
CYMS went into the sheds with a 10-6 lead, holding firm while Nick Karydis was in the bin before striking late when the Raiders’ James Pomfret was sent for 10.
The biggest moment of the game came inside the first minute of the second half when Ash Conn was sin-binned, leaving the Raiders with just 11 on the field.
CYMS took advantage in a massive way.
The Fishies scored five tries in the next 15 minutes, three of those to centre Viliame Turuva.
The Raiders were caught short on the edges time and again and with CYMS having the likes of Matt Toole, Mark Kilby, Harry Kempston and Karydis all capable of ball-playing, Turuva was allowed to have a field day.
However, the best was being saved for last.
CYMS spread the ball to the right and John Grey, in the side having failed to fully recover from a hamstring injury and take his place in first grade, was given no room to work with.
But he leapt into the air, and out of the field, before miraculously planting the ball down in the corner.
That made it 30-10 and with frustrations growing in the Raiders camp, things soon boiled over.
The Gordon-McLean fight and a number of other spotfires broke out soon after, leading to Reynolds also be marched.
The Raiders scored two tries late on, but they were mere consolations.
The win was the third in a row for the Fishies, all recorded with Rapley at the helm.
“I’m very happy about it,” he said.
“We haven’t as big a first grade influence (this year), but we did have John Grey in today and that was a big thing.
“From the start we’ve had one good squad that’s worked hard and come through the whole way.
“We had three wins and three losses to start the year and then we won 10 straight.
“I’m very proud. This is a great club.”
While Egan said he and his Raiders were “shattered” after the clash, the co-coach said his side’s result can be used to inspire the club moving forward.
There was a huge amount of changes made at Macquarie during the off-season, with each grade having a new coach to work under a new executive.
The first grade side missed finals and the league tag and under 18s sides were both knocked out early in the finals series.
“We’ve had a great year,” Egan said.
“We’ve got a young side and I think I’m the second oldest at 27 so hopefully the boys stick around and we can have a few good years together.
“Hopefully we can start to build the club back up to where it should be.”
- DUBBO CYMS 30 (Viliame Turuva 3, Kaide Rapley, Lee Price, John Grey tries; Nick Karydis 3 goals) defeated MACQUARIE RAIDERS 20 (Chris Pomfret, Ted Ebsworth, Jake Grady, Caleb Duncan tries; Craig McLean, Grady goals)