Ratz in nervous wait over fate of skipper

Manning Ratz and Wallamba players battle for the ball during the Lower North Coast Rugby Union clash at Nabiac. Wallamba won 27-0.

Manning Ratz and Wallamba players battle for the ball during the Lower North Coast Rugby Union clash at Nabiac. Wallamba won 27-0.

MANNING Ratz will now face a nervous wait on the immediate playing future of inspirational captain Dave Rees after he was sent off in the Lower North Coast Rugby Union clash against Wallamba at Nabiac.

Rees received two yellow cards during the clash, won 27-0 by Wallamba. This results in a send off. Ratz coach Jake Maurirere understands Rees will face the judiciary this week.

“Dave might have some carry-over points from last year, so we’re not sure how he will go,’’ Maurirere said.

Despite the scoreline Maurirere said he couldn’t fault the performance from the Ratz.

“We had a couple of players out injured and then three were late getting to the ground, so we started with 12,’’ Maurirere said.

When the tardy trio of Brodie and Blake Howard along with Chris Noonan arrived after 20 minutes the Bulls had put 12 points on the line. However, having the full complement of 15 players on the park was only fleeting for the Ratz. Rees was first yellow carded, meaning a stay in the sin bin, as was Blake Howard. No long after Howard resumed his place Rees was given his marching orders.

“At best we only had the bare 15 players,’’ Maurirere said.

“Then we were down to 13 and finished up with 14. But the players stood tall and I was proud of them.

“We held the Bulls to two tries each half and their last was scored just before fulltime. It was a remarkable performance – we could have just given up and been beaten by 100.’’

The Bulls also had their problems. Hard working prop Chris Phieffer spent time in the blood bin, but this did not stop the former Northern Suburbs prop having an influence on the game. His ruck work was excellent and well supported by flanker Daniel Hessing, who was easily the best player on the park and his strong charges and turn over in possession were a highlight. Improving forward Jayden Watt suffered an ankle injury late in the match.

Maurirere said Chris Fitzsimmons and Wayne Gahan were outstanding for the Ratz while Blake Howard, when on the field, was damaging out wide.

There are two matches remaining in the competition-proper. The Ratz play Old Bar and Myall Coast before the minor semi-final on August 5. Wallamba meets meets Myall Coast on Saturday before the July 29 fixture against Forster-Tuncurry where the minor premiership and major semi-final venue will be determined.

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