Three late tries in a thrilling finish to the weekend’s clash with Moruya gave a shorthanded Eden Tigers’ reserve grade outfit a morale-boosting win, in what captain-coach Alan Aldridge described as a “gutsy” performance.
Aldridge scored the match-sealer in the dying minutes to give Eden a 32-22 victory, after halfback Ronald Callaghan’s second try had nudged the Tigers ahead just minutes previously.
Prolific try-scorer Morgan Stewart also bagged a brace of four-pointers for the competition leaders, who were decimated by injuries and could field only 14 players.
Corey Stewart also crossed the stripe for the visitors, with four conversions from Callaghan.
Aldridge was glowing in his praise.
“It was gutsy, a real team effort,” he said.
“We had a lot of injuries so we only had 14 players, but everyone put their hand up and gave a little bit extra.
“We just really wanted to win and it was a great effort to score three tries in the last eight minutes with only 14.
“A few of the boys even backed up to play first grade after a full game of reserves.”
It was an emphatic way to bounce back for the competition leaders, who had suffered their first defeat of 2014 in an 18-14 home loss to the Candelo-Bemboka Panthers a week previously.
With a vastly superior for-and-against to the second-placed Panthers, who sit two competition points back, a win in either of the Tigers’ last two matches against the Cooma Stallions and Tathra Sea Eagles would give them the minor premiership.
With that comes a home major semi-final, with the winner qualifying for the grand final and the loser getting a second chance against the minor semi-final winner.
“Both of our last two [regular season] games are at home, so we’re obviously hoping to play well and get the wins,” Aldridge said.
“I’ve been really impressed with Morgan [Stewart], he got another double on the weekend, he’s a great kick-returner and he can certainly spot a hole.
“Ronny Callaghan gave us great direction all day from halfback and also got a double, and Travis Blackburn and James Thomas had great games too."
The Eden reserves round out their regular season campaign with two home games, firstly clashing with Cooma at 1pm this Sunday, before hosting Tathra at the same time on Sunday, August 17 at the George Brown Memorial Oval.