Roma's Round 4 Report – Canberra Day 2

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Jahan Emery

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Game 4 v University of Western Australia (UWA)

The Roma’s started their first match on day 2 receiving the ball, and we were gifted a great start with UWA kicking the ball out on the full. Ellie Konopka started with the ball in the middle of the field and switched to a steaming Karpani, then to Murphy and Butchers completing three big ball carries down field giving us momentum. We received a penalty at the ruck and Potter took the tap quickly and moved the ball to Gregory on the edge, another penalty followed for a high tackle. We moved the ball to midfield for a phase and then to the edge to Karpani who drew in three tacklers. The ball was then shifted across field to Pelite and Potter who set up Gregory for a try over the left hand side of the field. Potter recommenced play with a perfectly placed kick. The ball grazed the UWA players hands and rolled into touch giving us a line out in prime attacking position. Pelite threw into the line out and received the ball off the top from Butchers, under pressure Pelite threw a 25m pass to Aussie 7s teammate Murphy who broke through two tacklers and ran in the Roma’s second try under the posts. We kicked to restart play and gave UWA their first possession of the match where defensive pressure turned into a scrum awarded to the Roma’s. Pelite fed the ball and flicked it out to potter who switched with Murphy and the reverted back out to Gregory on the edge, driven backwards in the tackle Gregory delivered a good ball placement which was taken quickly from the back of the ruck. The ball met Pelite who held off a perfectly timed pass to Konopka who was running at speed into a hole, she made a line break and ran 50m to go under the posts for the third try of the match, Potter made it two from three conversions taking the score to 19 – 0.

Potter again found space just past the 10m line as she bounced the ball into touch. UWA with the throw secured possession and moved the ball to the far edge of the field, where they knocked it on and gave us back possession just inside the attacking 40m. Rowe fed the ball from the far side and popped to Potter who passed to Murphy running into the 22m line. White line fever got the better of Potter as she knocked the ball on at the base of the ruck calling halftime of the match.

The second half started with a Roma’s kick by Jones who came on at the break, she kicked to the edge allowing us to push UWA back into their 22m zone. In their first genuine possession of the match the moved the ball wide and gained 30m of field position, looking for their kiwi speedster #7 on the far edge the shifted the ball quickly but a handling error gave the Roma’s the ball on a platter. The ball shifted through the hands to Jones who ran into NRLW and Former Aussie 7s player Shanice Parker, who was penalised for being off feet at the ruck. Rowe took the tap midfield and moved the ball to Butchers who took on the line, offloaded to Konopka who then popped the ball out of a tackle to a flying Gregory on the far edge of the field, she proceeded to run in her second try of the match. Jones kicked again to restart play and UWA had another shot to move the ball forward. They moved it quickly back to the blindside where they caught us napping and their #7 wrong footed our defence and swerved through to run in UWA’s first try from 60m out. Score 24 to 7. UWA kicked the ball deep into our half with Rowe collecting and passing to Jones, in a confusing passage of player the ball was ripped from a tackled player and then Jones ripped it back in the same process, breaking forward for the Roma’s Jones was tackled and popped the ball but it went forward, giving a scrum within our half to UWA. They shot off down the field coming 10m short of the try line thanks to a ball and all tackler by Kildare, trying to play the ball again UWA knocked it on in a second effort attempt. We had a scrum on the 5m line and UWA’s pressure was immense. We shifted the ball for our exit play where Butchers steamed forward to make some valuable meters, where Meyer finished off the effort taking the ball to the 22m line. Relieving the pressure, we were award with a penalty as UWA were offside at the ruck. Butchers took it quickly passing to teammate Jones who became isolated resulting in a turnover. With Kildare down on the edge of play, UWA had identified this and tried to move the ball quickly. Luckily, Gregory was aware and shot up on 2018 Roma now UWA player Zakiya Kereopa and stopped any opportunity that was in front of them, recycling the ball they moved an identified an overlap and their danger player #7 sped around the edge for their second try of the match, score 24 – 14.

Entering the closing stages of the match UWA kicked off again to the Roma’s and put it down right in the corner. Rowe passed the ball to Karpani who helped us move the ball to the 22m line. The ball was passed to Butchers, who weaved back into traffic and beat 3 players to create her own line break, she was tackled on the oppositions 40m line and popped the ball up to a well time Karpani who was in the clear, but stopped to palm off a would be tackler. Karpani then passed the ball to a player in a worse position resulting in a blindside tackle and a knock on in contact. That was the last play of the day and it secure the Roma’s four wins from four outings in the final round of the 2019 Series.

Final Score: Roma’s 24 v 14 University of Western Australia
Try: Alice Gregory (2), Mahalia Murphy (1), Ellie Konopka (1)
Conversions: Lauren Potter (2/3), Hannah Jones (0/1)

Game 5 v University of Queensland (UQ)

The Roma’s first top four outing for 2019 was against UQ. Roma’s commenced play through captain Potter kicking off. The ball went right to the close edge of the field with UQ looking to move the ball wide early. UQ moved the ball side to side with the defence holding strong, until they found a gap on the far side of the defence. Our sweeper couldn’t cover the tackle and UQ went out to an early lead. Receiving the ball after the kick off, Butchers took a clean ball and Karpani went for a 20m effort at the edge of the ruck. Momentum continued forward with Pelite making a strong run, but a miss pass changed over possession. UQ immediately went on the attack with a series of clinical offloads to keep working their way up the field. They worked their way to our left hand side and caught us overcommitting to the ruck. UQ’s Mosby got her hands on the ball in space and sprinted down the sideline for UQ’s second try, taking the score to 0 - 12 in their favour. The Roma’s received possession and moved the ball around and found Karpani who gave us some forward momentum. Rowe then sized up the opportunities at the ruck and passed out to Murphy who was hanging on the sideline, once she had the ball in her hands she beat one UQ defender and skipped down the touchline to run in the first try of the match for the Roma’s right under the black dot. Potter kicked the conversion to take the score to 7 – 12. After a substitution by UQ, play was back underway, unfortunately we kicked short giving UQ prime attacking position. Waiting for the Roma’s to bite, UQ sized up the defence and Mosby took the direct option steamrolling her way through for UQ’s third try of the match. UQ restarted play with a retained kick, again giving them good attacking position. Pelite wasn’t too happy about this and timed a big hit on the unsuspecting UQ player, she stayed on her feet and gained a penalty and immediately took it quickly. Pelite switching to Karpani on the run, Eva palmed 3 players and sent them flying and started a stride for the try line, but was brought down within the 22m, Murphy quickly took it from the base of the ruck and ran the ball to an edge being brought down 2m out by some desperate UQ defence. Support was lacking for Murphy’s effort and UQ’s Hannaway jumped on the ruck to gain a much relieved penalty for her side. UQ kicked the ball out for halftime of the match where they were leading 17 points to 7.

Starting the second half the Roma’s subbed on Nathan for Rowe and Konopka for Karpani in a effort to provide a needed boost to claw back the 10 point deficit. UQ kicked the ball high to commence the second half proceedings. A mistimed jump from UQ resulted the ball hitting the ground where Murphy snatched it out of the air, committed two defenders and passed to Pelite who sped down the sideline, stepping a UQ sweeper to go in under the posts. Nathan kicked from in front to take the score 14 points to 17. Nathan commenced the second half with a perfectly placed kick which just grazed the 22m line and bounced out. UQ took the throw and Mosby hit the line, nearly breaking through. Taking the ball quickly Kevitt kicked through the defensive line and chased heavily. Roma’s defence got back but knocked the ball on just past the 40m in our defending half. A break in play allowed Hannah Jones to come onto the field and provide some fresh legs. UQ fed the scrum and Pelite provided immense pressure, the Roma’s were unlucky not to receive a penalty through Murphy after she got hands on the ball, but the call went the opposite way. UQ took the tap quickly and passed the ball wide to Ciesolka who used her crazy footwork to evade the Roma’s defence and run through for a try. Taking the gap to 8 points.

UQ kicked to space with the ball rolling over the sideline. Pelite threw the ball into the Roma’s lineout and the Roma’s proceeded to exit the 22m line, but UQ’s defence stepped up and halted any forward momentum. UQ’s player was ready for a chop tackle and rushed into an unsupported ruck where they gained a penalty within the Roma’s 22m line. UQ passed the ball to the sideline and in a messy ruck, Jones managed to get her hands on the ball passing in field to Butchers who with a strong run started to make her way upfield. Nathan got her hands on the ball and with no options being offered by the Roma’s she popped a kick over the defence in the hope that Gregory would catch it on the bounce. UQ were too weary of the kick and got ball back in hand within the Roma’s half, Gregory stuck to her oppose and brought her down to give the Roma’s defence time to set. Moving the ball across field, Roma’s caught a break where a tired UQ player passed the ball forward, which was luckily picked up by the sideline AR, giving the Roma’s possession and a scrum just inside our own half. Meyer made her way onto the field replacing Butchers. In possession of the ball the Roma’s moved it around and found Gregory out on the edge. Stretching the defence Gregory kept the ball alive passing the Nathan in support and went into contact. The ball was popped up from the tackle and found Murphy who ran blind and score on the far side of the field. Taking the score to 19 -22, the conversion didn’t go over and that was the match. UQ’s start of the match proving to be the difference and securing them the series championship and a birth in the Gold medal match.

Final Score: Roma’s 14 v 22 Uni UQ
Try: Mahalia Murphy (2), Vani Pelite (1)
Conversions: Lauren Potter (1/1), Brianna Nathan (1/2)

Game 6 v University of Canberra – Bronze medal match
The Roma’s secured their first outing in the top four after going through the pool rounds undefeated, coming up against Tournament hosts and game 1 opponents the UC.

We kicked to start the match putting it straight into UC’s hands and gave them an early penalty for not releasing in the tackle. UC took it quickly and moved it to Sharni Williams. Butchers ripped the ball and it bounced forward and UC picked it up on the fly and ran downfield to score the first try of the match courtesy of UC’s Dawa. UC kicked to the Roma’s for their first possession of the match, but the ball was kicked out on the full giving us a penalty on halfway. Nathan took the lead and passed to Pelite who put the boot to ball through and picking the ball up on the fly and scoring an amazing individual try. Roma’s kicked deep but it was straight to a UC player, the moved the ball wide and played some phases close to the ruck, where they found space after some slow Roma’s reloads. UC sprinted away and went in under the posts with Murphy hot on their tails.

Williams restarted play for UC and kicked it to Pelite who took on the defender making 10m up the field. Potter took the next run creating momentum and Karpani was next to get her hands on the ball, runs for Murphy and Butchers followed close after slowly gaining metres upfield. Pelite executed a much needed attack steal preventing the ball being turned over, passing the ball wide Potter found some space and linked up with Gregory for a back and forth affair resulting in Gregory going over the line for the Roma’s second try of the match, taking the score to 12 points all with a kick from Nathan just missing the uprights.

Restarting play Nathan bounced the ball 10m where UC moved the ball to Williams who broke the line and was brought down by Pelite. UC moved the ball side to side and attacked into the Roma’s defensive line where we committed too many players to a tackle allowing UC to create and overlap with Dawa going in for her second of the match. Half time followed with the momentum of the match in the hands of the home side.

UC started with the kick to commence the last half of the 2019 Aon season. Kicking deep the Roma’s got their hands on the ball courtesy of Pelite who found Jones setting up Butchers for another trademark run. Breaking a couple of tackles Butchers flung the ball wide to a Pelite at pace, she palmed off a would be defender and broke through the line striding away for her second try of the match. Nathan recommenced play and kicked to Williams to started the next attacking phase for UC. They moved the ball wide to a waiting Gregory who drove her opposite player over the sideline 10m out from our 22m line. Taking our own lineout we pass the ball right across the field with an aggressive UC defence in chase. The ball made its way to Gregory on the edge who offloaded back to Jones taking the ball into contact. In a slight disconnect of support, Nathan came screaming into the ruck and the ball was accidentally knocked on just metres out from our 22m line. Konopka came onto the field for Butchers as we defended the UC scrum and in a powerplay by Pelite she tackled the UC halfback and stole the ball for the Roma’s and gained a penalty in the process. We moved the ball wide to Jones who made a break over the far side of the field, being brought down on UC’s 22m line. We moved the ball quickly into mid field where Konopka tired to keep the ball alive, but an aware UC stole the ball from an offload to gain back possession. An under pressure UC passed the ball wide as they looked up to the Roma’s defence, causing a knock on where Murphy picked up the ball and ran the ball in her first for the match. Jones provided a crucial kick 8m from the sideline, struck it beautifully and the ball sailed over the crossbar.

Williams got the ball in hand and provided a strong run up the middle of the field, and UC played their next phase quickly where the ball found youngster Mason-spice her made her opportunity from some slow Roma’s defence. She ran through the line untouched to score a much needed 50m try for the home side taking the score to 26 all. The match was hanging in the balance.

Roma’s received the kick which went straight to Murphy on the edge. Jones made a run upfield and UC were too quick on a tackle reload gaining a penalty just outside our 22m line. UC took an ugly tap of the ball quickly and under pressure to continue their forward momentum. Nathan did her best to force a mistake by the UC side after a massive hit, putting herself on the line for the Bronze medal. UC played their next phase and the Roma’s defence was aggressive rushing up and shutting down their time and space to attack. The Roma’s were so close to gaining a turnover but UC somehow managed to hang onto the ball. UC moved it to the far side with the Roma’s defence holding strong, Nathan put on another hit and took space over the ball for a counter ruck, but the Roma’s dove on the ball in the ruck space, giving UC a needed penalty. They took it slowly and move the ball switching on the edge, advantage was given for a high shot by the Roma’s as UC continued to play the ball. Luckily advantage was over and Gregory came into the ruck and gained a relieving penalty for us with the score still locked at 26 all. The refereeing signalling full time to Pelite, she tapped the ball and passed wide to Jones and Potter making metres up field. Pelite stood static and passed to Murphy for a settling play. The Roma’s passed the ball wide and didn’t not communicate a plan, so the ball player was left with no runs and in a state of confusion took the ball into contact, luckily retaining the ball. Nathan secured the ball but in the effort gave away some field possession allowing UC to set their defence, but we were too slow to react and UC jumped over the tackle played and gained another penalty over the ruck space. UC took the ball quickly from the mark and it was an individual effort that broke the deadlock and gave UC the bronze. They kicked and regathered the ball in the in goal which sealed the match in 3 minutes of overtime. Making the score 31 points to 26 as UC elected not to take the kick.

Final Score: Roma’s 26 v 31 University of Canberra
Try: Vani Pelite (2), Alice Gregory (1), Mahalia Murphy (1)
Conversions: Brianna Nathan (1/2), Hannah Jones (2/2)