It was hard to wipe the smiles off any of the Marlin players on Saturday as for the first time in a long time the Marlins pulled off wins against the Students in 1st grade, 2nd grade and for the 1st time in 10 years 1st grade colts. A tremendous effort by the top grades that will surely send a strong message to all of the other clubs about the Marlins intentions in 2011.

It was back to a combined format with both Grade and Colts fixtures being played in Manly.

3rd Grade Colts were the first game of the day in a very tight match at Keirle park that ended in a 7-7 all draw. The Baby Marlins were in control for large periods of this match and just couldn't strike the killer blow - nonetheless a great effort by this young side who have only lost 2 games in a very tight competition.

2nd Grade Colts toiled hard against Uni but were unable to come away with the points going down 29-15 to a Uni side that remain undefeated. No doubt a good learning experience for Micky Saunders troops who will regroup after the long weekend and look to get back into the winners circle.

1st Grade Colts was undoubtedly the match of the day and you would be hard pressed to watch a better match all year. The last time 1st Grade Colts had success over the Students was way back in 2001 when most of these Baby Marlins were still in primary school! Trailing 17 - 0 after around 15 minutes it looked like it was going to business as usual for Uni as they swept in for some quick tries. But somebody forgot to give the Baby Marlins the script as they rallied and by half time were right back in the mix. The half time pep talk from Wilson and Harvey obviously did wonders as the boys in blue came out like men possessed in the 2nd half. The style was infectious - there was back slaps, bum taps, hooting & hollering and all the while the Baby Marlins were playing some irresistible rugby! It was hard to take your eyes of this game it was hypnotic - I was warming up at the time and mid warm up found myself along with my teammates staring at this fantastic performance. It was truly awesome stuff and I am sure this is a win that will give this impressive young side every belief that they can go all the way in 2011. Congratulations boys!

Wins against the University 1st XV are almost as rare as wins against their Colts with the Marlins last tasting success against the Bumblebees in 2006.  With 1s coming off a disappointing loss against Souths the week before and Uni beating a much more experienced side there was no doubt that Laneys men were going to be in for very tough game. Uni came out firing dominating possession and territory but it would be the Marlins who would strike in the 1st half with tries to Chris Yarrington and Peter Gilmore. Uni struggled to penetrate the Marlins stingy goal line defence although they came away with 3 penalty goals to trail the Marlins by 1 at half time.

After the break the Marlins started firing out wide with Lui Siale setting up Yazza for his double then only a couple minutes later Yazza was at it again slicing through the Uni defence to find professional bench warmer Chris Cottee taking a lazy line up the middle for a fantastic Marlins try right in front of the flying saucer.  The crowd were loving the running rugby and most were beginning to feel that the Marlins would finally break the drought. But Uni don't die wondering and they came back with 2 quick tries to set up a thrilling finale at the Village Green. With a couple of minutes on the clock Uni went back to their pet play "the pick and drive" and battered away at the home sides line. It was tough no-holes-barred footy as the Marlins threw their exhausted bodies at wave after wave of blue and yellow attack. With the line in sight Uni went for one final charge. Some of the Students claimed a try, some of the Marlins claimed it was short but like the crowd nobody really knew! After the referee went to the match official the crowd waited for the Marlins reaction. When the Marlins players jumped for joy the crowd knew this one was finally in the bag!

Well done to the top squad a great turnaround in form after last week and a win that has them clear in 3rd place with a big match at Coogee coming up after the long weekend.

Congratulations to James Hilterbrand and Harry Bergelin for strong and enthusiastic performances in their debuts for First Grade. 

2nd Grade have now won 6 in a row and are sitting clear in 2nd with their sights well and truly set on the top spot in the Colin Caird Shield after a comfortable 25 – 10 victory. With the addition of experienced 1st graders like Elvis Taoine and Neil Mayer to the already strong pack the Students were always going to have a tough day out against the Manly forwards. After an emotional pep talk from coach McGoldrick who looked like he was ready to run out with the team – the Marlins dominated the early exchanges. The boys dotted over for 2 tries through Elvis and Will Matthews and from there never really felt threatened. Dylan Sigg made a welcome return to Manly colours with an appearance at outside centre! For those that don’t know Siggy is generally in the back rower and when forced a 2nd rower! It’s good to have Siggy back at Manly after a stint over in Italy. Dylans centre partner Joey “Shabbadoo” Christie capped off another strong performance and was rightly voted as player of the round. Well done Joey!

2s will enjoy the weekend off as they prepare to meet a quickly improving Randwick side after the long weekend.

3rd Grade will rue an unfortunate 10 minute period of play that cost them the match. Uni dotted in for 2 soft tries that were uncharacteristic of a game that was very tight. The Marlins at least come away with a bonus point in the close defeat. 3rd grade were served with some strong performances across the board with Trent Blaney, Cam Cole, John Baranyi and Tim Collins all having very solid outings.

3s will learn from this loss and they will need to put it in to practise as top of the table Randwick await in the next game.

The Mighty 4s toiled hard against a very handy Uni side that had players like Scott Stumbles on their roster. Execution was the one thing that let the Marlins down as they couldn’t convert pressure into points when they were in the oppositions A zone. Uni are the top dogs in 4th grade so it was good to see them remain pretty competitive for the majority of the match only to let it slip in the later stages.

The 4s will look to bounce back against the Wicks Saturday week.

The beers were flowing at the Bowlo after the days play with all of the players, coaches and supporters in a very jovial mood following the successful days play. Some of the more experienced drinkers decided to try their hand with one of Andrew Davis’ home made beer bongs during a secret soirée in the grandstand. There were a few star performers (Tom Mooney) and some not so spectacular (Chris Soderman) – I’m sure there were a few sore heads in the morning!

I noticed some old heads on the hill cheering the Marlins to victory over the Students. I spotted Zain Mohammed Kader and his plump mate Lee Guvnor Griffiths. I hear the Guv is making a comeback next week – we look forward to a few Tottenham Hotspur inspired chants over the coming months Whaleman!

All in all a top day for the Marlin Army that has really opened up the Club Championship! We need to keep clocking up the wins and by the pointy end of the season make sure we are within a real shot of some glory! Enjoy the weekend off gents, take care of yourself and we will see you all back at training next week.

See you at the rugby!

Bergo

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