A defiant Luke Branighan has declared he’ll be at Oberon come round one of the Group 10 season after steering his All Stars side to a 26-24 victory over a gallant Indigenous team at Cowra on Sunday.
Orange CYMS winger Tom Satterthwaite was the star of the third installment of the Group 10 All Stars, scoring four brilliant tries to win the Terry Brown Medal as the game’s man of the match, but all eyes were on the Oberon captain-coach after he was stood down by the Tigers board mid-week.
Branighan and Oberon will meet again this week to determine his fate for 2018 but the veteran playmaker’s confident he’ll remain in black and gold this season in light of a “small issue that’s spiraled out of control”.
“It’s a very small problem … we’ll get it sorted,” Branighan said.
“My first preference is to captain-coach at Oberon and I’ve got the support of the majority of the team. We’ll sort it out. There’s not much in it, to be honest.
“That’s what I want to do (captain-coach Oberon). We’ll leave it in the club’s hands.”
On the back of some great kicking from Branighan and fellow half Luke Petrie, Group 10 played the territory game better than its opposition and it helped the light blues build a 22-8 lead mid-way through the second half.
Satterthwaite had four of those five tries for Group 10, the final of his quartet a spectacular leap and catch for the ball over his opposite number.
The Orange CYMS fullback’s finishing on the back of the Group 10 All Stars backline was simply superb.
But goal-kicking proved an issue, with Branighan booting just one from his four attempts on goal and Jackson Brien missing another.
Branighan admitted post game he thought successfully converting tries might be an issue without a front-line goalkicker.
HT | Group 10 leads 14-8 over the Indigenous outfit.— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) March 25, 2018
Pretty decent half, but wet conditions making the ball hard to handle.
Tom Satterthwaite with 3 tries. Luke Branighan's kicking has been top shelf. Indigenous boys need more Gordon-Merritt-Bugg. Wet is hurting though #Group10
He was right, too, as the misses allowed the Indigenous side to mount a serious comeback in the second half, Josh Rainbow scoring two tries and Blake Lawson crossing for a pearler of his own late in the game to edge their team ahead by two points.
With just a minute left on the clock, though, Group 10 struck with hooker Ben Thompson darting down a short side to put Lachie Munro in space.
The young CYMS utility put in a small chip kick only for it to deflect off the Indigenous defence and land back in his chest before diving over to score in the corner and secure the 26-24 win.
“It’s been a very long week for me and it’s nice to see there’s a positive at the end of it,” Branighan smiled.
“Ben Thompson, very gutsy in the end, going down the short side and it paid off.
“I definitely wanted to win. There was much more to that in terms of the whole day but (Group 10 All Stars) haven’t won this before, and anyone that plays under me knows I like to win.”
Skipper Will Ingram, and his teammates, thought they had the game after Lawson scored to edge the Indigenous side ahead for the first time in the contest with three minutes remaining.
It wasn’t meant to be, though.
“That’s the cruelty of football. You’ve never got anything until the final siren goes,” Ingram said.
Still the clash was a wonderful spectacle, one celebrating both the Indigenous culture Group 10 boasts and, as Ingram said in his post match speech, the multicultural Australia we currently live in.
The Group 10 All Stars side boasted a number of players with Pacific Island backgrounds.
Ingram first helped facilitate the game back in 2016 and said he’d continue to help organise the All Stars fixture into the future.
“While ever the boys are keen to play in it, I’ll help out. As best as I can, I’ll help keep a game like this around so that future generations can be part of it as well,” Ingram said.
- GROUP 10 ALL STARS 26 (Tom Satterthwaite 4, Jackson Brien, Lachie Munro tries; Luke Branighan goal) def INDIGENOUS ALL STARS 24 (Josh Rainbow 2, Blake Lawson, Chris Kirby, Desi Doolan tries; Jeremy Gordon, Joey Bugg goals)