Planet Rugby

Super Force thrash the Rebels

08th March 2014 10:28

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matt hodgson western force melbourne rebels

Ton celebration: Matt Hodgson

An amazing first-half performance saw the Western Force hand out a 32-7 thumping to the Melbourne Rebels in Perth on Saturday.

Such was the home side's dominance, having previously been labelled the worst team of the competition, the opening half hour was utterly surreal.

Tries from Alby Mathewson, Luke Morahan, the centurion Matt Hodgson and then Angus Cottrell for a 27-minute bonus point. It really was remarkable stuff.

The second half didn't live up to the hype, with the Rebels grabbing a consolation score through Telusa Veainu.

Everything went the Force's way in the opening quarter, as they racked up 17 points in as many minutes.

Mathewson was sharp enough to spot the Rebels napping and scurried through a criminal gap on the blindside of the visitors' defence to hand the hosts the early impetus.

Then Morahan followed it up in the far corner after Tom Kingston spilled a high ball, Kyle Godwin gathering before Jayden Hayward released the Wallaby flyer for a simple run-in.

It was a start completely against the run of form, given that the Rebels had impressed in their win over the Cheetahs the week before. It was also an acid test - if the Rebels had truly improved then maybe they could come back from this?

A surprising lead then just became bizarre. First, Hodgson scored on his 100th appearance to send the nib Stadium into orbit. Then Cottrell, supplied by a beautiful offload from Junior Rasolea, wrapped up the try bonus point to make it 32-0 after 27 minutes.

The Rebels made two changes before the half hour mark, coach Tony McGahan searching for a solution but you'd forgive him for possibly thinking the result was settled.

It was the visitors who came closest to scoring at the break, but aptly Mitch Inman was pinged for a double movement going for the line.

Rightly so too, because the first half was all about the Force - the crowd at the nib Stadium rising to give the hosts a standing ovation as they departed for half-time.

The Rebels' composure and confidence was understandably shot by the start of the second half, but Sias Ebersohn missed a couple of penalties to extend the Force's handsome lead.

Why the Force decided to switch tactics towards a kicking game, led by the South African fly-half Ebersohn, when up 32-0 was unknown.

It was a wholly underwhelming second half, the Force knowing the five points were in the bag and with the shellshocked Rebels unable to produce a response and knowing the game was up.

The new aim was for the Force to keep an opponent scoreless for the first time.

It didn't happen thanks to Veainu's consolation try on the end of a Bryce Hegarty grubber, but the Force fans won't have cared. For 30 minutes, they were unbelievable.

The scorers:

For Force:
Tries: Mathewson, Morahan, Hodgson, Cottrell
Cons: Ebersohn 3
Pens: Ebersohn 2

For Rebels:
Try: Veainu
Con: Hegarty

Western Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Junior Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (c), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Marcel Brache.

Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Lachlan Mitchell, 10 Angus Roberts, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Telusa Veainu.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
Television match official: George Ayoub (Australia)

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