Last time out the Reds had snatched a narrow victory over the Sharks. They were on a high and came to nib Stadium with high hopes. The Force, despite playing well, had suffered a narrow loss to the Waratahs so they were playing for redemption. The Western Force were also playing to cut short a 10 match losing run at home. Could they…?
They started sensationally after a set move from a line out. Ryan Louwrens fed the ball to Billy Meakes who played a nice pass to Curtis Rona. Rona set a nice pass back to Chance Peni who put his head down. He showed his speed and outpaced Eto Nabuli and scored one of the tries of the season! Sensational!
Another lineout resulted in another try. This time Stephen Moore threw into the lineout and the maul began to trundle on. Nick Frisby then passed down the blindside to Eto Nabuli and he managed to evade Dane Haylett-Petty and score right on the touchline.
Nabuli was then over again but this time due to pure class. Jono Lance juggled with ball and lost it. Samu Kerevi flung the pass out to Nabuli and he stepped past Rona and Peni then outpaced Louwrens and finished off a superb solo try.
The Reds intensity was overpowering the Force but when Billy Meakes took the ball up at pace, Scott Higginbotham deliberately knocked the ball out of his hands. A penalty was awarded and Louwrens took it quickly. He caught the Reds on the back foot and Meakes continued his support. He secured the ruck and Mathew Phillip picked and went while just managing to reach out and score the try.
The Reds would not lie down though and Duncan Paia’aua grubbered through perfectly for Nabuli who caught the ball and beat Haylett-Petty again to get his hatrick! He had been superb throughout the game and deserved the hatrick.
There was 15 minutes left and Western Force were awarded a penalty. Ian Prior, who was one for Louwrens, stepped up and the experienced man slotted the kick to put the Force within a point.
A few minutes later, they scored the try that put them ahead. Billy Meakes’ handling was superb and he tied in a few player. Haylett-Petty then got close but was brought down just shy of the line. He popped the ball up off the floor Pekhou Cowan. The prop used some quick handling to get the ball to Curtis Rona who dived in! Prior converted and hit the penalty that stretched their lead out even further.
The last play was a scary one for the Force. The Reds kept hammering at the line but could not get over. Nick Frisby decided to do the work and took it up. Billy Meakes then proceeded to sensationally steal the ball! How I will never know, but when Dane Haylett-Petty booted the ball off the park, the game was won!