The defensive call to arms for the Melbourne Rising can clearly be heard from the sidelines. With each wave of attack ‘Fire’ rings around the Harlequins Oval to initiate another charge in defense. The Rising failed to respond to the call on numerous occasions as the Western Sydney Rams claimed the Horan-Little Shield. The result may have been a surprise, but on the day the Rams were well worthy of their 68-30 victory.
Failure to Play to the Conditions
Despite glorious sunshine in Melbourne, the presence of a wicked wind blowing in gusts from one end of the field to the other suggested both sides would have to adapt. The Melbourne Rising had the wind at their backs throughout the first half but were unable to take advantage. Rather it was the Rams, forced by the conditions into keeping ball in hand, who prospered.
On field decision making is becoming a continual issue for both the Rising and their Super Rugby counter parts the Melbourne Rebels. With such a heavy breeze at their backs the Melbourne outfit should have been piling the pressure on the away side but they failed to do so.
Discipline Hurts the Rising
The brand of rugby that the Rams played was simple but mightily effective. With a dominating pack putting them constantly on the front foot, the Rising’s discipline was put to the test. Three yellow cards for one team is indicative of this NRC competition. With a heavy emphasis on try scoring, free-flowing rugby referees have been told to be harsh on any play that looks to ‘slow the ball down’.
With a full complement of players, the Rising looked susceptible to conceding tries, and the periods in which they lost men to the bin, the Rams duly took advantage.
Final Week Match Up
The Melbourne Rising will head into the final round of the regular competition, sitting 3rd on the ladder. They will play host to the Sydney Rays in Frankston as they take their game on the road. The match will be the culmination of the ‘Frankston Festival of Rugby’ that includes the Melbourne 7’s tournament.
They will need to ignore the party atmosphere and produce a massive response, after this loss to the Rams. With a potential home semi-final at stake, winning this match is all the more important for the Rising.
“Main photo credit”