Eden Tigers Brand Sun

Tigers hit form to pluck Sea Eagles

June 21st 2009-By Dave Evelyn

The stage was set for a great game of footy last Sunday at Tathra as the defending premiers Eden took on the top of the table Tathra Sea Eagles. A strong contingent of Eden fans travelled to the game and were encouraged to see the comforting sight of Tiger's legend Neil Baker warming up with the side prior to the game.

Neil Baker (back from retirement again!) in action against Tathra on Sunday.
Tathra received an early penalty for a hold down, but Eden were first to score shortly after when Dane Bamblett latched on to a clever Matt Bell cross field kick . The conversion was unsuccessful but Eden led 4-0. Disaster struck from the restart when Eden knocked on from the kickoff, Tathra went straight on the attck and scored a soft try out of dummy half next to the posts and Tathra led 6-4. Laurence Bamblett was doing a great job at fullback defusing and returning kicks. The Tathra side received three penalties in short succession, although the scrutiny of the officials was somewhat lacking when Eden's Matt Bell put through a kick and was hit with a late and high tackle. Much to the relief of the Eden crowd he courageously stayed on the field.
Todd Bolton looks to unload on Sunday. Todd has moved from Full Back to the halves this year and his class is helping lead the Tigers around the paddock
Crowd favourite Baker came off the bench and made an immediate impact with his trademark heavy defence. Laurence Bamblett showed great skill to put Todd Bolton through a gap and over the line, and Todd's conversion gave the Tigers a 10-6 lead. Tsai Tui was revelling in the tough stuff, hitting the ball up hard and driving the Tathra players in punishing tackles.
Tsai Tui shows his worth with a powerful burst against Tathra on Sunday. Tsai has recently returned to Eden from Canberra and is quickly regaining top form. His dedication can not be questioned as he played the reserve game on Friday night to improve his fitness and backed up with a powerful effort against Tathra.
Matt Bell was felled again after putting a kick through but when Brad Chatfield regathered the kick and scored a brilliant try the Tathra crowd were silenced.
Another penalty to Tathra from the restart put Tathra back on the attack and they scored off the next set from a towering bomb which landed just inside the dead ball line and bounced perfectly for the chasers, and Tathra were back within striking distance at 14-12. Another penalty to Tathra put them on the attack again, but they were unable to take advantage of five consecutive sets in possession. Just before the break Tathra received another penalty to go on the offensive yet again. A final penalty to Tathra on half time gave them the opportunity to level the scores at 14-14 at the break.
Todd Bolton and Tom Bell get put on report for lifting in the tackle.
The second half opened with both sides turning over possession before Eden tryscoring machine Tom Bell made his customary contribution to the score to put Eden back in the lead 18-14. Poor handling from both sides and a couple of mysterious decisions from the officials had the crowd confused, but there was no doubt about Tom Prior's try for Tathra which put them in the lead for the first time at 20-18.
It was the Tiger's turn to go back on the attack, and after an Eden scrum win Neil Baker proved unstoppable to smash over from short range and put the travelling supporters into raptures and his side back into the lead 24-20.
The game developed into a classic "knock em down and drag em out" affair with heavy defence, touches of brilliance, desperation and despair from both sides as they fought for the ascendency. The kicking game was well employed by both sides and was proving effective in the slow conditions. With the game in the balance it was highly appropriate that a bit of magic from Tsai Tui feeding a great ball to the ever present Laurence Bamblett , two of Edens best, put the match out of Tathra's reach.
But there was one last highlight to come. From the restart the Tathra kickoff didn't go ten metres and the referee awarded a penalty to Eden, which made the penalty count 10-1 to Tathra.
Every Eden player contributed to this great win which will put all the other sides in this very close competition on notice that the premiers will be hard to beat if they can perform to the standard they displayed in this fine win.