Easts player Danny Messenger tries to make a break against Queanbeyan at Campese Field. Photo: Jay CronanEASTS coach Jeremy Osborne has described his side’s against-the-odds win over the Queanbeyan Whites as ”one of the best I’ve ever seen” as it overcame a depleted roster to score a last-gasp 25-23 triumph.
Missing 11 regular first-graders – including prop Chris Cocca who will be named on Sunday in the ACT Brumbies side to take on the British and Irish Lions – Easts rallied late to score 10 points in the final 10 minutes to snatch a win at Campese Field on Saturday.
It was a massive boilover in a day of crazy results in the John I Dent Cup, which saw Wests thrash second-placed Royals 49-0 and Tuggeranong demolish Gungahlin 72-28.
But for the competition battlers Easts it was a monumental win in a resurgent season.
Osborne had to call on fourth grade players to fill his bench and an American professional skateboarder who only arrived in the country last Thursday.
In the end skateboarder Kolton Nelson set up a game-turning try in the dying minutes and then fullback Josh Munro booted a penalty with six minutes left to secure a tight two-point victory.
”It’s absolutely unbelievable, one of the best wins I’ve ever seen,” Osborne said. ”It was gutsy, we had no one. We almost had to go to uncontested scrums, but we dug deep and showed ticker. The Yankee ended up playing on the wing for the last 20 minutes, we didn’t even know who he was.
”Queanbeyan is my home town … I asked the boys for something. I didn’t care if we didn’t win for the rest of the year, but this is unbelievable.”
Easts raced out to a first-half lead, but the Whites’ superior power shone through as they fought back into the match and wrestled the lead away from the visitors.
Osborne feared his team would capitulate with a depleted line-up and a history of losing games by up to 100 points.
But they stayed tough to keep their season alive and remain in the hunt for premier division finals.
Cocca was absent from the Easts line-up, but he will get the opportunity of a lifetime when he plays for the Brumbies against the Lions at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday night.
Cocca moved to Canberra three years ago and has been a star for Easts and the ACT Griffins representative side.
The 122-kilogram tighthead prop admitted he was shocked when Brumbies coach Jake White delivered the news.
”I’ve been playing well, the club’s been struggling a bit,” Cocca said.
Cocca also had a chance to train with the Brumbies full-time during pre-season.
”I don’t know really what to expect against the Lions. Obviously it’s going to be a fast-paced game, and set pieces from them,” Cocca said. ”I’m hoping for at least 10, 20 minutes … and that would be huge. It’ll be something to look on.”
AT A GLANCE
John I Dent Cup: EASTS 25 bt QUEANBEYAN WHITES 23, WESTS 49 bt ROYALS 0, TUGGERANONG VIKINGS 17 bt GUNGAHLIN EAGLES 28
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.