Unlikely saviour for school’s GPS season

 

A WINGER plucked from the Third XV to the Firsts has kept Nudgee's season alive with a hat-trick of tries to topple undefeated Ipswich Grammar, 39-19.

Sunshine Coast product Daniel Muller was a battler in Nudgee's third-string team last year but has rewarded selectors with seven tries in just four First XV matches to lead the competition.

His three against Ipswich Grammar on Saturday were the most important of his rugby career because a loss would have ruled Nudgee out of trophy contention.

Muller was the tip of a Nudgee spear that fired for seven tries in total, with five falling to the back-three combination of Muller, Trezman Banjo and Athen Waia.

Nudgee's defence was the real winner of the day by holding the competition's most freewheeling attacking side to three tries.

Ipswich Grammar winger Mitchell Harsant takes on the tackle of Nudgee prop Harry Vella as Dillon Stone and Eyzaiah Ulia watch on.
Ipswich Grammar winger Mitchell Harsant takes on the tackle of Nudgee prop Harry Vella as Dillon Stone and Eyzaiah Ulia watch on.

Captain Harry Vella said the team entered the match with "100 per cent" conviction they would beat their 3-0 opposition.

"Our goal today was never to give them anything on the field," Vella said.

"We knew they were going to be good in broken play so we tried to minimise opportunities for that to happen.

"We were getting up quick on them, smacking their big fellas as quick as we could and setting a precedent that we were the team who wanted it most in defence.

"We were aiming to not let them score at all but it was a credit to Ipswich that they proved why they are that position on the ladder."

Ipswich Grammar thwarted that plan inside five minutes when fullback Seamus King-Smith cut back against the grain to score next to the posts.

Nudgee patiently controlled the rest of the half with three tries before Ipswich broke free for an 80 metre score from a quick lineout inside their 22 to bring about 19-14 at halftime.

Flyhalf Reesjan Pasitoa began to inject himself more as the second half progressed, creating space for Muller and co to outscore Ipswich four tries to one to seal a key win.

Nudgee College 39 (W Jones, R Nutley, D Muller (3), A Waia, T Banjo tries; R Pasitoa 2 cons) defeated Ipswich Grammar School 19 (S King-Smith, K Chan-Tung, K Thomas tries; King-Smith, Thomas cons)