PICTURE FOCUS: Featherstone Lions race for revenge in NCL game with Saddleworth Rangers
Below are Jonathan’s photos from a match in which the Lions beat Saddleworth Rangers 28-20.
With the sun beating down, they dominated from the start with full sets, minimal errors and impeccable discipline as they took a 20-0 first-half lead in the National Conference Division 1 game. .
First down the line was Josh Maden, selling two outrageous dummies that got the all-action playmaker through a gaping gap in defense. Returning Lions legend Ian Jackson converted and they were on their way.
Jackson created the next try after a hard drive from returning compatriot Steve Lawrie, a long carve ball that made room for dynamic winger Prash Veerasamy to score in the corner.
The procession continued with Sam Millard getting the third down and then Harley Ax cheating the defensive line at halfback to score a dummy, diving try. Jackson’s two conversions put Millpond’s side 20-0 ahead.
Saddleworth didn’t help themselves as their sideline coaching was directed more towards the middle man. When they put their grunts aside, they recorded their first club-ending scoreline before half-time and trailed 20-6 at the break.
Both teams grew tired in the heat in the second period. Saddleworth pulled back a few tries to give them the flavor of an unlikely and undeserved victory, but two more away scores for skipper Davi Garahan and left winger Lee Close put the game beyond doubt at 28-20.
The Lions had three teenage Trojans who made big passes throughout the 80 minutes. Veerasamy took command of the flank and inside him Will Smith had a big game down the middle. Equally impressive off the bench was Ben Flaxman, who lacked no aspect of attack or defence.
Rising temperatures on the pitch led to a shattering end to the game as too many mistakes and bad temper turned into an all-out brawl. A tactic that nullified Ax’s second try and resulted in a flurry of red and yellow cards from both sides.
In hot conditions, it was an excellent team victory where the future youth of the Featherstone Lions defended well. They could also be happy with their rebound from last week’s knockdown and they will face another home game this Saturday against Myton Warriors.