Shoalhaven Emphatic Victory Over Avondale

By Ron Wood

Shoalhaven have issued an emphatic challenge to all their rivals for the IDRU Premiership title in an amazing all round performance against Avondale at Shoalhaven Rugby Park. In a game that remained scoreless for the first twenty odd minutes, the Shoalies exploded on the back of the incredible attacking talents of the Brandon Brothers to register a 49 – 5 win over Avondale.

With six rounds completed in the disrupted 2022 season, Shoalies sit at the top of the table unbeaten on the back of their eighteen match, two year winning streak. With a points differential of plus 175, the Shoalies are currently conceding just over 6 points a match on the back of their outstanding defensive structure. Throw in the freakish attacking skills of the Brandon brothers and Shoalhaven seem destined to figure prominently in the end of season matches.

In a solid early contest on Shoalies home ground the match was closely contested until the Brandon’s put on four incredible tries in the lead up to the break. Wingers Keiran and Mark scored twice each in conjunction with fullback brother Steven, playing havoc with the Avondale defense. Mark added four conversions for Shoalhaven to take a 28 – 0 lead into the halftime break.

Ten minutes into the second term Steven and Keiran combined down the western touchline with an exchange of passes resulting in Steven scoring on the left. Another conversion from Mark and the Shoalies were out to a 35 – 0 lead.

To their credit Avondale came out swinging putting plenty of pressure on the unflinching Shoalhaven defensive line. As it has been all season the Shoalies defense was up to the task conceding just one try to Avondale wingman Jesse Lang. With the hard running Avondale forwards putting plenty of questions to the Shoalies defense the breakthrough came at the sixty minute mark. Big No.8 Othello Heka Tera took play to within centre meters of the home side’s line. With big prop Tavite Amone running wide from the ruck, Leng, running off Amone, was able to score in the corner for the Wombats only score of the match.

Avondale continued to raid away but the Shoalies defense held strong on the back of unflinching work from their entire forward pack. Shoalhaven were once again led by Will Miller who took the three points in the IDRU Player of the Year Award. The Shoalies dogged work in defense and at the breakdown frustrated the best Avondale could muster throughout the match eventually taking its toll in the dying stages of the match.

With Avondales effort falling away under the pressure, George Miller made a strong run from twenty meters out to score a converted try for a 42 – 5 lead. With fulltime imminent Keiran Brandon completed the try scoring with a fifty meter runaway try after swooping on a loose Avondale pass.

In an outstanding team effort Will Miller’s contribution to the performance was not only physical but inspirational as well keeping his side’s minds on the job before he took an early exit from the match. Front Rower Alex Wilson put in a huge effort with great support from his backrowers Michael Raftery, Duncan Maddinson and No.8 George Miller. Busy Halfback Connor Trudgeon, who took two points in the IDRU Player Award, had a field day playing off the back of the dominant forward pack, with Fly Half Harry Hibbs and center Jack Watts giving the Brandon brothers plenty of opportunity to run the ball and do their thing in attack.

What can you say about the Brandon brothers? They thoroughly entertained the big parochial Shoalhaven crowd with their uncanny attacking ability. The whole side’s effort in defense and again at the breakdown laid the foundation for what the Brandon Brothers did and all the signs suggest that there is still more to come from the competition leaders.          

Despite the unflattering score-line the Wombats effort was not without merit. Front Row brothers Anthony and Tavite Amone never flinched in taking the ball forward with back rowers Tuu Taanoa, Michael Malaki and No.8 Othello Heka Tera working well throughout. The effort of light weight Lock Jiah McKinnirey  was rewarded with one point in the IDRU Player Award. Wombat centers Andre Itula and Nua Alone put in plenty of effort but were overshadowed by the Shoalies defensive effort on the day.    

Shoalhaven 49 (Keiran Brandon 2 tries, Steven Brandon 1 try, George Miller 1 try, Mark Brandon 3 tries, 7 goals)

Def Avondale 5 (Jesse Leng 1 try)

Other Match Results

Campbelltown 31 Def Camden 29

Bowral 32 Def Vikings 19

Tech Waratahs 52 Def Kiama 19

Shamrocks 28 Def University 3