Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
9 hours ago
Driving to the game last night I was overcome by mixed emotions. WOOHOO I'm finally going to our spiritual home to watch my beloved dragons play a game.
But wait, what if people don't show after all it's Wednesday night 6pm kickoff on a working day. Those fears were quickly laid to rest as the game had to be postponed to allow all of the 5000+ crowd entry.
Waiting with anticipation for the game to start the whole ground was at a buzz, everywhere you turn you could hear people saying " ISN'T IT GREAT TO BE BACK AT KOGARAH". Some even wondered, what happened to the concrete cancer that was eroding the grandstand? Standing there next to the grandstand catching up with people it was hard not to let emotions run wild.
Seeing legendary players past and present walk on by such as Rocket Reddy, Chook Raper, Reg Gasnier, Graeme Langlands, Daniel Wagon, Adam Peek, Steve Price, Robert Henera, Colin Ward, Corey Pearson, Jason Stevens, Lance Thomson, Brian Smith , Mathew Elliot the list goes on and on was sensational.
After the playing of the American anthem, the club song was played and as the first notes of the ever so famous " Oh When The Saints." was heard the whole place erupted in applause and cheer which lasted through the entire song much to the amazement of the players and club officials. Much to the delight on the crowd we had one of the American Tomahawks doing a little dance to our club song, which acted as a catalyst to increase the frequency of the applause and cheers to record breaking decibels.
The mood was just about right as a great atmosphere overcame the ground, setting the friendly tone for the game. SAINTS all stars kicked off and as per usual Brad Mackay made the first three tackles. The result of the game was insignificant although Saints All Stars won the game the cause Joanne Mackay Breast Cancer Foundation and seeing the legends still doing their stuff was far more important.
If I had to choose two highlights from the game, which in its self is a hard task seeing the whole night was full of special moments, I would pick the following: a) The be the gridiron forward pass the yanks tried to pull off only to have a flying Mick Potter pluck the ball mid air from the grasp of the USA player who couldn't believe what just happened. b) Of course how could I forget "THE MAN" and his great solo try and trademark somersault post try celebration it had a dramatic effect as the whole stadium in unison erupted in a mighty big mighty roar and hi fives were being dispensed to friends and passes by.
After the game seeing the kids and crowd run onto the field to thank their former stars, who where happy to pose for endless photos and chat to everyone just put the icing on the cake to a great night and truly made this a priceless experience. Everybody deserves to be congratulated, the crowd for showing up in such numbers, the players for being very approachable, the USA, for getting into the spirit of the game, Bill Harrigan and Ted Goodwin, the club for supporting the event and Jeff Hardy for organizing it.
Special mention must also go out to the Saints All Stars, who after the game stayed back at the club to sign autographs, sing karaoke and just have a good time with the fans.
PS: A special thanks to God for keeping the rain away.
[Note: The match was won by Saints 42-18]