COUNTRY CALLER FOOTBALL COVERAGE SPONSORED BY INTURA

By HARRY CLARKE

CHINCHILLA playmaker Ramon Mutch may have summed up the Bulldogs’ clash with Roma Cities best when, coming off the field after the final siren, he simply said “that was a f***ing slog fest”.

Such were the conditions at Bulldog Park on Sunday (wet, muddy and drizzly) that games in all grades were played mostly in the middle, by forward packs trying to keep hold of the slippery football and hoping to eventually find cracks in the opposition defence.

Hosting top of the table Cities, Chinchilla A-graders needed a big improvement on last week when they copped a hiding from the Magpies in Mitchell.

Early tries to Roma second rower Jackson Shelswell and halfback Cameron Bartley had Cities on the front foot, but a dazzling intercept and runaway try by Bulldogs centre Declan Bell in the 20th minute put the host back in the game.

WATCH: Bulldogs center Declan Bell’s intercept try. FOOTAGE: Maveric TV

From there it was a closely contested, highly entertaining game of football.

The crowd of close to two hundred sought cover as the rain came down throughout the second half, but the grinding, end-to-end rugby league happening on the field kept the shivering spectators interested until the end.

Chinchilla stayed in the battle, but when Roma’s Tom Baron pounced on a loose ball at the try line Cities began to slowly edge ahead to a final score of 24-12.

Tom Barron scores for Roma Cities

“It was a tough game, typical wet weather footy – complete your sets and kick early – and both sides did that well,” Roma captain Tom Packer said.

“It probably came down to our defence in the end.

“The oval held up well considering the conditions. Last week a lot of teams didn’t get to play because of the rain so we’re pretty lucky to still get some footy today. 

“I thought our forwards really put their hands up today. Big Jordan Collinson off the bench really had an impact and Chris Gelhaar – some of the shots he was putting on at the end, I wouldn’t want to be running it at him.

“But on a day like today it was a real team effort, our handling was good in the rain and it was just a good defensive effort.”

Jackson Shelswell with a kick return at Bulldog Park

COUNTRY CALLER FOOTBALL COVERAGE SPONSORED BY INTURA

The Bulldogs were positive in defeat. Captain Matt Eising praised the effort of the forwards, both from the run-on side and and the reserves bench, and the team’s discipline with the ball amid the slippery conditions.

Eising was reluctant to single out individual efforts but when pushed, named prop Josh Schwerin, hooker Hayden Bender, centre Declan Bell and winger/centre Matt Hart among his standout players.

“For a wet weather footy game you probably couldn’t have asked for much more from our boys,” Eising said.

“The effort and the enthusiasm was there but we just weren’t quite good enough to get the win.

“During the week at training we worked on completion. We knew that was going to be the key if we were a chance of sticking in this game and I’m really proud of the boys in conditions like this.

Young pups from the Chinchilla Bulldogs watch on at the seniors host Roma Cities

“It’s really hard to even catch a ball in these conditions – it’s like being in a shower out there – so I’m proud of their effort.

“Cities were really good in the middle. They get you on the back foot, work really hard and they can suck the energy out of you, but we kept coming for the full 80 minutes.

“As we came off the field we said we can hold our heads high with the effort. I’m excited for our next clash, which is in about two months.

“We can really build a lot as a football side in that time.”

Cities have a bye next week before taking on Miles, while the Chinchilla Bulldogs host Wallumbilla-Surat next week ahead of another home game against Miles for the revived Dagma Gleeson Cup on June 18.

Roma’s Riley Shelswell, wrapped up by Layton Hohn in Reserve-grade
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