IT’S the ‘rocks or diamonds’ play that could well define Orange Hawks’ under 18s 2013 campaign.
And when Hawks halfback Tony Pellow raced 90 metres after plucking an intercept with the score at 28-24 in his side’s favour and less than a minute left on the clock in the minor semi-final against CYMS, coach Jared Brodrick wasn’t even watching.
“As soon as he had the ball I was just jumping up and down,” Brodrick said, Hawks running out 34-24 winners after Pellow’s remarkable effort at Lithgow’s Tony Luchetti Sportsground on Saturday.
“When he caught it, they had a two or three man overlap, he’s that quick he was home.”
As Brodrick said, CYMS could very well have scored themselves to draw the sudden-death contest level and finish the game with a kick to win it.
Not short of youthful exuberance, Pellow’s play at the death was brilliant.
Early on it looked like anything but a Hawks victory was on the cards.
CYMS started strongly, making easy metres down Hawks’ right edge defence to race to a 24-4 lead.
A Hawks four-pointer and conversion from Keegan Harding late in the first half reduced the margin at the half-time break to 14 points.
“They weren’t doing very well. Me and (co-coach Lawrence Fogg) Foggy pretty much gave them a spray and told them to pull their fingers out and have a decent crack at the semi-finals,” Brodrick recalls.
They responded, because the second half belonged to Hawks.
The two blues juniors scored all of the second stanza’s points to run out 10-point winners and progress through to the competition’s preliminary final against minor premiers Bathurst Panthers on Sunday at Wade Park.
“The last time we played Panthers we were winning and they got us with about a minute to go. We’ve improved our ruck work a hell of a lot so if we keep going we should be able to give it a good crack again,” he added.