The FUGS woke up early on Sunday morning and noted that the sky was blue and the sun was golden. Hang On! That couldn’t just be a coincidence. It had to be an omen!
At 11.03am, Tav, Ken & Macca sipped lovingly on their first beers at the Longboard Bar on the strand. They barely had time to go “aaaahhhh” when Cookie and the product of his loins (Travis) arrived and joined in. Then Fuller limped in complaining of arthritis which didn’t fool the other FUGS, and for the rest of the day he was dubbed “GOUT BOY!.” Then another of the 1991 Under20s premiers arrived, Ren Pederson, who began making it clear by the way he was drinking as to what the REGGIES game plan should be … “Start as fast as you can, get a big lead, and then try and hang on.” Mario made his entrance as inconspicuous as he could, waving his Blue and Gold flag as high as he could and then Crowley arrived with a pie stealthily hidden in his Brumbies brown paper bag. “everyone is going to know that’s a pie Steve” the FUGS announced. So, he took it out of the bag and hid it in his stomach. Tits arrived as most retired 60 year olds would … in his shiny blue sports car… which was clearly custom built for the small in stature, famous French half back.
12.15: “Last Drinks”
12.20: “Last Drinks”
12.25: “Last Drinks”
12.30: SOME began the walk to the sports reserve. OTHERS got a cab. Crowley got a lift with Tits, and the FUGS vowed that when they were to pass into the next life, they were keen to find out the answers to the mysteries of life i.e. Who really shot JFK? Did a dingo really take her baby? And, how the hell did Crowley fit in Tits’ car?
12.45: In the sports reserve gate and the butterflies began flapping.
DOIGY won the toss at 12.57 pm and as the REGGIES had done so well for the whole of the finals series, they elected to back themselves, run with the strong breeze in the first half and stamp their authority. At 1.10pm they ran through the arch and were ready to create HISTORY.
The FUGS were positioned at the bar and ready for kick off. WHAT!?!?! Crowley’s eating another pie? The FUGS were shocked and disappointed, because, they had $100 with Sportsbet at $2 that Cookie would be the first to eat at the grounds. Worthy arrived and the FUGS were quick to congratulate him on his 53rd Birthday. Is he really only 53?!??!
KICK OFF!! Crowley barely had time to wash down his pastry delight before Zach Anderson put up a towering bomb which had the HerbertRiver fullback’s sphincter slapping, making him spill the pill and Nicklin Evans was on hand to pounce and he took the ball from his fumbling grasp and UNI drew first blood. 4-0.
Seven minutes later the SAINTS were attacking again and they went left and five eighth Johnathan Pepper found strong running winger Alex Jurassic who while fighting two defenders, slipped the ball back inside to Pepper who dived over for UNI’s second try. The FUGS high fived and Rick Rayment almost dislocated his shoulder after Zach’s successful conversion from the sideline. 10-0.
The REGGIES were using the strong breeze well in the first half maintaining good field position with a strong kicking game. But, HerbertRiver had clearly come to play and were showing why they were minor premiers with some resolute defence. During another break in play Mario posed the age old question, “Cookie, why does everyone hang it on you?”. Cookie ignored him and continue to bait Crowley who crossed his arms and said that Cookie was now on report and had booked himself an appointment with a spear tackle … …somebody told Crowley that was not allowed anymore . “I live in the 80s was his retort”, and Cookie was quick to return with “and he ate his way through the 90s”.
The FUGS had slightly lost focus which seemed to mirror what was happening on the field as the REGGIES momentarily stopped completing their sets and allowed HerbertRiver to get some time in their own attacking zone. UNI defended well but made the mistake of assuming a kick would ensure on the fifth tackle and instead the opposition gave it to one of their big men who found space in the middle of the ruck and scored adjacent to the posts. After the successful conversion the score teetered at 10-6.
HebertRiver continued to out-enthuse the UNI boys and with 4 minutes left in the half and with the score still at 10-6, the FUGS were adamant that the lead was not big enough, considering the strong breeze they would need to run into in the second half. The SAINTS struggled to get out of their own half and then on the fifth tackle big James Tronc (V3) ended up with the ball. “WHAT!?!? FIFTH TACKLE!” The FUGS yelled, “get rid of it.” Troncy duly obliged and got a great pass to full back Moses Nelliman-Adams who collected it with one hand and beat two opposition players with steps and swerves and then audaciously chipped over he full back. Fortune favours the brave and the ball bounced beautifully to allow Moses the luxury of not having to break stride, regather, and score under the posts to the roar of the FUGS. Zach converted and then UNI hung on grimly for the remainder of the half to go into the sheds leading 16-6.
While the players were enjoying a half time break, the FUGS maintained their relentless niggling of each other. Doug (man with a shovel) was there and people were wondering where his famous water bottle was. Bear Allen had snuck in hoping to avoid the niggle .. unusual for him. They all hoped that 16-6 was enough of a lead, but, were unsure.
The second half didn’t start well as the UNI boys dropped the ball on the 4th tackle and immediately put themselves under pressure. The boys were up to it and defended two sets by the opposition on their line, then proceeded to make their way up the other end of the field. Six minutes in and after a couple of strong hit ujps from the big men, including Dan Tronc, DOIGY was at first receiver and found half back Zach Anderson behind a couple of decoy runners, then a long pass to winger Alex Jurassic give him a little room and that’s all he needed and he seemingly strolled over to score, but as the REGGIES love to do, it was once again in the corner. 20-6 and the Reggies ‘phewed’ and Tits’ experienced eye noted “nice lead”.
With 25 minutes left the SAINTS were attacking again and then got a penalty. “Take the 2” yelled Mario. He was promptly shouted down by the rest of the crew and the REGGIES were on the same page as they tapped and within a couple of tackles Dan Tronc (V1) who hit the line hard, kept pumping his big legs and then spun and dropped and drove the ball into the sports reserve turf which was marked with the try line. The FUGS jumped and jived and Mario quipped “great decision to take the tap.” The conversion was from in front, but, who was that taking it? DOIGY!!! The flags were up and the Doigy was off, replaced with the score at 26-6.
Some of the FUGS were confident enough to declare it, particularly Stevie Mac, but, Tav scolded him severely and Macca felt slightly hurt. Mario obviously thought that the lead was big enough as he had moved on to complaining about Worthy’s bet for the punters club the day before. Fuller commented that Crowley had wasted away to a block of flats. Cookie was concerned that Ken and Tav had become to close lately and when Worthy’s contractual tenure as his best friend was over at the end of the month, he may have to look elsewhere, which made Rick very nervous.
It appeared that Tav’s caution was warranted as the UNI boys dropped the ball off the ensuing kick off and HerbertRiver had the ball inside their red zone. It was from this point that it became absolutely clear to the FUGS that the REGGIES had not just rocked up to score points. They were prepared to dig deep in defence.
They held out HerbertRiver for two sets and then received a penalty which they failed to kick out on the full and then had to defence again, and again. With 15 minutes left and no change to the score the SAINTS once again found themselves having to defence their line. For three consecutive sets they held out the opposition who threw everything at them and were held up over the line on one occasion. The FUGS yelled their approval and commented that it was this type of defence that wins grand finals, but, Tav was not yet ready to relax.
Twelve minutes on the clock and a pin point clearing kick by Pepper finally gave the SAINTS some field relief. They then found themselves with the ball after more strong defence and a chance to attack again. Tronc (V3) hit the ball up gaining momentum and then his brother Dan (V3) was keen for another meat pie (maybe he’s related to Crowley) and he once again stormed over adjacent to the posts. Conversion successful and at 32-6 with less than ten minutes left, EVERYONE, relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the game.
Seven minutes left and the FUGS roared again. DOIGY was back on. There was no change to the score and no change to the REGGIES relentless second half defence. The whistle went, the FUGS sang, the players hugged and the one of the first persons DOIGY hugged was Jasmine. The FUGS were touched and crowd was appreciative.
Shane Hackett was one of the defensive leaders in the second half along with his clever running from dummy half and that earned him the Man of the Match. DOIGY was presented with the Shield and the REGGIES made their way over to the FUGS at the bar.
The day didn’t finish there and the celebrations may continue for some time. In September 1981 John McEnroe beat Bjorn Borg in the 101st US Open. The Rolling Stones began the 6th tour of the US, not their 66th. And, the Uni Reserve Grade won their fourth TDRL Premiership, with Herman as the coach.
And now, the 2015 version of the REGGIES had made it their fifth. Another page in UNI RUGBY LEAGUE HISTORY!