In the second last game of the regular season, Ballarat has defeated an impressive Monash side 28-17, in a match that looked like it could have gone either way.
Ballarat, with high hopes of hosting a semi-final in the coming weeks, were met with a huge challenge from a strong Monash outfit who were playing to potentially take the 2nd spot on the ladder in their conference .
The game started with an early burst of energy from Ballarat, who were fresh from their recent week off and also hugely influenced by some key players returning from injuries into pivotal roles. An early stroke of genius by full-back, Mitch Cattell, found him crossing the line twice at the end of some perfectly executed set moves. Wanting to complete a hattrick, Cattell tiptoed down the sideline to score in the corner with an immaculate solo effort. An amazing Ballarat defense had the visitors lurking on the try line for multiple phases at a time, but being unable to cross for the points. After these long phases of defense, a strong set of attack found Ballarat with a penalty in the opponent's 5 metre line, where a quick tap from Michael Toohey found him linking up with winger Tom Azarnikow who crossed the line for the team's 4th try of the half. Ballarat weren't done yet, where a strong attack from the forwards found a menacing Chris Debono score the fifth try, just before the half-time siren went.
Going into the second half, Ballarat were confident with their 25-0 lead, although they knew they hadn't won yet. Ballarat went into the rest of the game with the same structure, but Monash came out and showed skill that had not yet been witnessed in the first half. A strong forwards game and a tactical kicking game had Monash on the attack for most of the half, scoring 3 tries whilst keeping Ballarat down to a single penalty goal. Their comeback didn't come quick or strong enough, as the full time siren went with Ballarat taking the victory 28-17.
This is the 11th win for Ballarat out of a total of 14 games. Ballarat remain undefeated at home.
Monash - 17
Ballarat Honourable Mentions:
Mitch Cattell, Michael Cachia, Henry Roffe-Sylvester
Mitch Cattell (3 tries,1 penalty goal), Tom Azarnikow (1 try), Chris Debono (1 try).
The next game is against the Melbourne Unicorns at home.