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 ROUND 1 - Sat 3/5  Redfield (25) - Chevalier (10) 
An Arctic blast in early May? This is not what we expected to get ourselves off to the official season opener! Nervous jitters were out-weighed by the need to keep warm, in a chilly 6 degrees C with wind and rain drops that felt like needles. The boys looked determined to keep their strong form from seasons past intact.

Right from the kick-off we could see that good structure and discipline were still in abundance, although fell foul of the opposition’s desire for us to play a forward's contest in the initial periods. This saw the boys concede the first try of the season to a determined Chev forward pack. From this wake up call, we soon worked out that they needed to test the entire Chev team and see if there were weaknesses to be found. Sure enough, quick hands from a stand out Chrissy at his new half back position, along with excellent ball movement from the backline, marched the ball forward time after time to allow Fitzy to muscle over for two well-deserved consecutive trys, followed by a consistent performer JP Baladi. Strong, reliable defence, coupled with a trusty backline making ground was the key to our 15-5 lead at half time.

Even with all the running around we were doing, that biting cold was still evident in their faces. Slippery conditions and a number of dropped balls due to frozen fingers meant that positional play was going to be key in the second half. The mighty boot of Tim Smith was going to have to rev up and keep our boys in Chev's territory. Pleasingly that's just what Tim did. Multiple boots out of the danger zone followed by fast backline support, pressured the Chev backs into making mistakes which were soon capitalised on by phase after phase of clean ball and an unselfish Tim delivering a perfectly weighted short pass to the expertly positioned Nathan, who saw what was evolving early in the phases and hung back just enough to be ready in support for both attack and defense, he crossed to increase the buffer and secure the bonus point.

Not to be outdone, Chev soon exploited the missed tackles and penalties presented to them to remind our boys that they always need to be accountable for their opposite number and commit to making solid, effective tackles every time. Dom Meney displayed this accountability in defense. Waiting patiently on the wing and trusting his teammates to do their job and not allowing himself to be drawn into the oppositions tactics. An example to all.

With full-time closing in, the boys kept the hammer down and from a sea of bodies over the Chev line emerged a jubilant JP Baladi, grounding the ball for a second time in the match. With no kicks forthcoming today, it is something that will need to be focused on moving forward. Special mention to the lonely figure of Tommy Del, who sat way back at fullback all match without complaining, even though we could see him shivering, only to see him wipe out any opposition who happened to make it within his range. Thank you Tommy. Well done to George Hanna, who played all of the second half and did a great job in tough conditions, this being his first official game with the mighty Redfield Lions. Well done boys, an excellent start!

John Bernardello (Manager)

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