Australia v Great Britain international Rugby League Test Match last November at Lang Park.
Welcome to the liveblog! In the spirit of HG Nelson and Rampaging Roy Slaven I’ve set up the ‘card table‘ for the first game of the National Rugby League season, between the Brisbane Broncos and the North Queensland Cowboys, at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
Since I’m nowhere near as funny as HG and Roy, I have to bring my own special flavour to the liveblog. So I’ll be breaking the game down for people who don’t know much about it. Hundreds of thousands of people in the last decade have moved to Queensland from the southern states of Australia where Australian Rules Football is the main game. Like me a few years ago, most of those people don’t have a clue about how League works, and the Channel 9 commentary team do a very bad job of explaining the ins and outs of the game. Sometimes the ball changes hands and you’ll have no idea why. And that’s my job – to let you know what just happened, why it happened, and what effect it will have on the game.
Lang Park – otherwise known as The Cauldron.
If you want to read up on the game, you can check Google News here. You can also use Google Blog Search to find out what bloggers are saying about the game.
If you want to read up on Rugby League, Wikipedia has a main article about the game, plus articles on playing and understanding Rugby League, and the positions in the game. There is a list of some of the phrases here (but some of the phrases are different in Australia). There is a good deep article about some of the concepts of the game here, but it has the worst background screen I have ever seen. Epileptics be warned!
Anyway, it’s 6.30pm, and Channel 9′s coverage of the game starts in an hour, when I’ll be back. That’s 7.30pm Brisbane time – click here to see what time that is in other cities in Australia and the world.
Keep refreshing your page every few minutes to see the latest comments – I’ll be updating this post right throughout the game. And leave a comment with any questions you have about the game.
Mark Gasnier scores a try for Australia in the Test Match last November.
7.38pm: OK, if you’re watching Channel 9, you’ll be seeing commentators Andrew Voss, Ben Ikin and Kevin Walters. They’re running through the teams – click here to see the team lists for tonight, and remember the Wikipedia article explaining what the different positions do.
That was Tommy Raudonikis being interviewed on the sideline.
7.41pm: What a great aerial shot of Lang Park on Channel 9.
7.43pm: Ok, here come the Cowboys onto the field.
7.44pm: And here’s the Brisbane Broncos, the home team and 2006 NRL champions.
7.45pm: Kick off! The Broncos receive on the 20-metre line and push towards half-way.
7.46pm: If you get caught with the ball after being tackled 5 times, you have to give the ball to the other team. So on the fifth tackle, most teams kick.
7.47 Oops! The Broncos player got dragged out of the field of play in the goal area he was defending. That means the Broncos have to kick the ball in from their own goal line, which means the Cowboys have a great chance to attack, with six whole tackles to score.
7.48 Penalty – The Bronco did not get off the tackled player fast enough.
7.49 – Jonathan Thurston from the Cowboys takes the penalty kick and puts it between the goalposts. Two points to the Cowboys.
7.50pm – The Cowboys receive the kick-off on their own goal line.
7.51 – The Cowboys kick one tackle earlier than they have to and the Broncos get the ball on their 30-metre line.
7.52 Broncos player was offside – that means he was too far forward when at the ‘play-the-ball’ – when the ball is back-heeled after a tackle. Penalty. Since it’s not in range of the goal, the Cowboys get to kick it forward and if it goes out of play, they get to start their ‘tackle count’ again.
7.53 And the momentum of the penalty gets the Cowboys over the try-line. 4 points, and a chance to ‘convert’ the try from a place kick and get another two. Cowboys 6, Broncos 0.
7.54 The conversion attempt is taken from directly in front of where the try-scoring player crossed the goal line. You can move back as far as you like, but you must be at least 20 metres away from the goal-line. Conversion missed by Thurston – score stays 6-0.
7.55 Cowboys receive the kick-off on their goal line and kick early again. He tried and failed a 40-20 kick, which is a high-risk manouever but can pay off big-time.
7.57 Broncos get the ball from where it went out. Cowboys concede a penalty for a high tackle. Broncos kick the ball into touch at the 20-metre line and have 6 tackles to score. Dane Carlaw scores a try. Cowboys 6 Broncos 4.
7.59 Darren Lockyer misses the conversion attempt. Still 6-4, Cowboys lead.
8.00 Broncos receive the ball at the 5-metre line. They drop the ball on the third tackle, which means that the Cowboys get to feed the ball into the scrum. They will get posession.
8.01pm: Cowboys pass the ball forward – Broncos get to feed the scrum and will get posession.
8.02pm: Cowboys concede a penalty. Since they are close to the goal line, they ‘tap’ the ball instead of kicking it forward.
8.04pm Broncos try to kick the ball forward – if a Bronco had managed to force the ball onto the ground in the in-goal area, it would have been a try. Instead, the Cowboys get the ball on their own 20-metre line.
8.05pm: Cowboys pass the ball forward, Broncos get to feed the ball into the scrum around the 50-metre line
8.05pm: That tiny error from Bronco captain Darren Lockyer means the Cowboys get to feed the ball into the scrum. If you drop the ball, even for a second, and it goes forward, it is the same penalty as a forward pass.
8.07pm: Cowboy Thurston kicks the ball forward, and it might be a try – but the video ref has to decide if the Cowboy player applied downward pressure on the ball before the Bronco did. The ball has to actually touch the ground while a player is pushing it downwards – just crossing the line while you touch the ball is not enough.
8.08pm Try. 10-4 to the Cowboys.
8.09pm: Thurston makes the conversion – 2 points. 12-4 to the Cowboys.
8.10pm – Cowboys receive the ball in their in-goal area. After 5 tackles they only get to their 40-metre line. They kick the ball to the Bronco’s 3-metre line.
8.12pm After the kick from Bronco Darren Lockyer is collected by the Cowboys, the Cowboys are llucky that the fumble is not penalised – Brisbane would have had a great chance to score.
8.13pm After tackles, the Cowboys kick and the Broncos return to the 15-metre line. AFter 5 tackles the Broncos get to the Cowboys’ 40-metre line. They kick, the Cowboys receive on their 10-metre line.
8.15pm: Cowboys have to kick deep in their own half and the Broncos get the ball just around the half-way line.
8.16 The Bronco drops the ball, and it rolls forward. Cowboys get to feed the ball into the scrum.
8.17 That was almost a break for the Cowboys – it was almost certainly a try if the Cowboy had not been tackled. Matty Bowen, the Cowboy, looks to be injured after that tackle.
8.18 A Cowboy error turns the ball over the the Broncos. Because it was an error, the Broncos get 7 tackles instead of 6 before they have to kick the ball or turn it over.
8.19 The Cowboys receive the ball on their 10-metre line, and turn over at the half-way line.
8.19 Cowboys concede a penalty – climbing on top of the tackled player. The player who conceded the penalty is complaining that he was eye-gouged, but is not prepared to make it formal, so nothing will happen.
8.21 Lockyer nails the penalty goal – 12-6 to the Cowboys.
8.22 Broncos receive the ball in their in-goal area. 4th tackle on their 3-yard line and they kick.
8.23 Cowboys receive the ball on their 20-yard line. 5th tackle on the Broncos 40-metre line, the kick goes to the Broncos 5-metre mark.
8.24 OH! That was almost a great try! But because of the knock-on (Hunt, the player on the break dropped the ball and it went forward) the Cowboys get to feed the ball into the scrum on their 10-metre line.
8.26 The Broncos are tackling hard – if they can get the ball back deep in the Cowboy’s territory, there is a good chance they can score a try just before half-time (40 minutes).
8.27 But the Cowboys kick deep into Broncos territory. Broncos return and after 5 tackles kick deep into Cowboys half of the field.
8.28 Try!!! The Cowboy did a little chip kick, the Bronco gathered it but the pass was intercepted by the Cowboy. Cowboys break and score a try. 16-6 to the Cowboys with a conversion attempt to come. (Even though the half-time siren just sounded).
8.30 Conversion failed. Half-time. Cowboys 16, Broncos 6.
Never mind the players, I need a rest.
8.45pm: Second half begins. Cowboys receive the kick-off on their goal line.
8.45 Penalty to the Cowboys – Dangerous tackle by the Broncos. They get the ball 30 metres away from the Broncos’s try line.
8.46 The Broncos were the last to touch the ball before it went out of bounds behind their own goal line – they have to kick the ball in from under their own goal posts and let the Cowboys receive.
8.48 Cowboys kick the ball out on the last tackle – Broncos get to feed the ball into the scrum.
8.49 Cowboys concede a penalty. But the Broncos lose the ball a couple of tackles later and Cowboys get seven tackles instead of six to move it forward.
8.51 Cowboys lose the ball and Broncos feed the ball into the scrum.
8.51 And now the Broncos lose the ball – Cowboys feed.
8.52 Bronco holds onto a Cowboy who did not have the ball – Cowboys go for a quick restart and now have 5 tackles to score while directly in front of the goal. They almost make it but the pass to the player who crossed the line was forward. Scrum feed to the Broncos.
8.55 Cowboys get the ball deep in defence and work it forward to the 50-metre line where they kick.
8.56 Broncos get the ball on their 15-metre line and the 5th tackle is on their 45-metre line. Kick is received by the Cowboys on their 15-metre line.
8.57pm An error from each team – Cowboys lost the ball, then the Bronco knocked it forward. Broncos get to feed the scrum, because the cowboys made the first error.
8.58pm The Bronco did not play-the-ball (backheel) it properly and they concede a penalty. Harsh game.
8.59 Cowboys restart only 20 metres away from the Bronco’s goal. Cowboys kick to try and score a try, and even though the Bronco gets the ball, because he is brought down in his own goal area, the Broncos have to kick the ball from between their own goalposts – which is a great chance for the Cowboys to attack.
9.01 Because the Cowboy started the play off on the goal line when he was brought down in his own goal area, the Broncos get the ball on their own 20-metre line. Karmichael Hunt breaks 80 metres and crosses the line! The video ref has to decide if that was a try, or if Hunt’s leg was grounded out of the field of play before the ball was pressed into the ground. If the leg went out first, no try.
9.03 Video ref says try to Brisbane. 16-10 with a conversion attempt to come.
9.04 Conversion fails. Still 16-10.
9.05 Broncos receive in their in-goal area. High tackle by the Cowboys, Broncos kick to the Cowboiys 45-metre line.
9.07 The Bronco’s kick ricochets and the Cowboys catch it.
9.07 Cowboys lose the ball. Broncos have seven tackles on 22-metres away from the scoring line. line
9.08 Broncos try! 16-14 to the Cowboys, conversion attempt to come.
9.09 Kick is good. 16-all, 17 minutes to go. Broncos will receive the ball on the restart.
9.10 Broncos receive at their goal line. They kick just near the half-way line.
9.11 Cowboys receive at their 10-metre line, work it back to the Broncos 30 metre line by the fifth tackle. While breaking for the line, they make an error and pass it out of bounds. Scrum feed to the Broncos.
9.13 Brisbane bomb the ball from the Cowboy’s 40 metre line, but Cowboys gather and get the ball because the Broncos did not score after 6 tackles.
9.14 Cowboys kick back to the Broncos, Hunt breaks for the Broncos but loses the ball on the Cowboy’s 30-metre line.
9.15 Field-goal attempt missed by the Cowboys. Broncos get the ball on their own 20-metre line.
9.16 Broncos on a break but they knock the ball forward – Cowboys scrum feed.
9.17 Bad scrum – start again.
9.18 Cowboys lose the ball only 35 metres out.
9.19 Broncos lose the ball but the Cowboys make an error! Broncos have 6 more tackles only a few metres away from the goal line. But Carroll makes an error for the Broncos and the Cowboys get the scrum feed.
9.20 Matty Bowen breaks and scores a try for the Cowboys, against the momentum of the game. What a break! It’s not over yet, though. 20-16 Cowboys, conversion attempt to come.
9.23 Conversion is good. 22-16 Cowboys.
9.23 Short kick by the Broncos to restart. Cowboys make it to the Bronco’s 30-metre line and kick.
9.24 Broncos lose the ball! That could be a big problem, they need to score a converted try in the next 3 minutes just to tie the game up.
9.25. Field Goal to the Cowboys. The game is over, miracles excluded. It’s only one point, but at a crucial part of the game, it means the Broncos can’t get ahead even if they get another try. 23-16 to the Cowboys.
9.27 Cowboys deliberately kick the ball out with only 40 seconds to go.
9.28 And that’s it. 23-16 to the Cowboys.
And now for the wrap up. Not about the game, but about my performance. Not happy with my speed – I don’t think I explained as much as I could have. Next time I will have a lot of explanations about common events – scrums, fumbles, kicks, line drop-outs, penalties etc – pre-prepared so I won’t have to type them in. That will give me more time to focus on what is happening on the field. I don’t have my room set up properly, either – I had to keep turning around to see the TV.
But I hope you got something out of it. Suggestions, questions or comments greatfully accepted
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