PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
4 hours ago
Watching from the sideline your heart thumps loudly as your eyes scan the boys in their jerseys that are seconds from running out onto the field. You spot him and there your eyes stay focused.
He falls into line along with his teammates horizontally across the field and you watch as he impatiently waits for the ref to call game on. Trotting on the spot, playing with his mouthguard or the hands on hips are the well-known movements of your son.
The whistle blows and the ball is kicked towards the opposition. You hold your breath as you wait to hear the crunch of the first tackle knowing full well that your son will be amongst the tacklers. You watch as he falls into the routine of arms outstretched and the shoulder raised as he charges into the opposition?s waist and push him backward towards the ground. You hear the applause and well wishers around you congratulating the boys for a great first tackle and then the calls for them to get up and back into the defensive line. You watch as your son peels himself of the player and ground and trots back to be in line with the referee and ready himself for the next play.
Only then you release your breath and silently thank god that he came out unbroken. Only then is when you feel your body slowly loosening from its rigid poise and only then do you unclasp your fists and fan your fingers.
You watch the second play as he moves forward again but this time he doesn?t involve himself in the tackle. He?s moving back again to be in line with the ref, pulling his mouthguard out so that he can encourage the rest of the team to get back. Forward again they go. This time the opposition manage to offload the ball to another and in what seems like chaos to me is organised defensive play for them as they scramble and slide out their defensive line in order to prevent the ballplayer from breaking through. You watch as your son drops back into that fullback position to take on the role as last line defence. The ballplayer breaks through and sprints up the sideline. Your son slides across the field with speed to burn. The ballplayer is being chased by one of your son?s teammates who toe tap?s him. With this move it enables your son to gain on him and take the ballplayer out over the line.
The applause around you and cheers for the boys brings you back to the ground. You realise that you are standing their with your hands pressed against your bottom half of your face and you faintly remember the words screaming from your lips "Run Jason, run Jason!" You quickly gather yourself from the excitement and fall into the applauding and encouraging.
Your son?s team has the ball now and they are on the attack. You watch as your son takes up the 1st Receiver role and dishes out the ball along the line for his teammate to hit it up. His teammate makes some good metres with defending players hanging off him left right and centre. The referee calls hold and they play the ball again. Your son throws it to another to run it up the middle. This one offloads to another, he?s running sidewards and your calling "Go forward, go forward", he offloads to another who sidesteps the oncoming defending players, he sidesteps again and makes a break. You find yourself calling again "Support him, support him" but he?s taken down metres from the line. Again you hold your breath because you have a feeling of knowing what?s coming next.
Your son as 1st receiver has been instructed to run the ball when near the line and that he does. You watch as his head burrows down and runs straight for the line. You watch the defending players running straight for him. You scream "sidestep Jason, sidestep Jason". He does and manages to skirt around one and in between another and dives for the line. The people around you are clapping and cheering. You watch as your son gets up, his teammates are high fiving him, he turns towards you with a grin from ear to ear and a thumbs up in the air.
It's then you realise your heart is racing wildly and it's only 10 minutes into the game ...
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