Force hold on for win over Rebels
The Western Force has held on to win 13-11 against the Melbourne Rebels, in a close encounter at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The Rebels were hoping to send departing captain Scott Higginbotham off as a winner but were held out by the visitors in the dying minutes.
The Western Force opened the scoring in the second minute thanks to a penalty to fly half Zack Holmes.
The Rebels levelled the scores 13 minutes later when kicker Mike Harris converted a penalty after the Force were adjudged to have not rolled away at the breakdown.
The visitors reclaimed the lead shortly after the restart, again through the boot of Holmes, to make it 3-6.
The Rebels lost second-rower Lopeti Timani and winger Bryce Hegarty in the 20th minute after both succumbed to head knocks and failed their subsequent concussion tests.
Cam Crawford crossed the line for what appeared to be the first try of the night, only for referee Andrew Lees to bring the play back for obstruction in the build up.
The Force couldn’t capitalise on good field position late in the half as prop Chris Heidberg was held up over the line by some desperate home side defence. The Force went into the break with a three point lead.
The Rebels started the second half brightly and threatened the Force’s defence on multiple occasions but were let down by handling errors each time.
Harris once again levelled the scores at 6-all after the visitors conceded a scrum penalty in the 53rd minute.
The Force scored the first try of the match when outside centre Marcel Brache intercepted a pass on the Force’s goal line and the ball found its way to Luke Morahan who touched down for a length of the field effort. Holmes added the conversion to push the visitors lead to seven points with less than 15 minutes to play.
Replacement winger Telusa Veainu answered for the Rebel’s, touching down in the corner after a promising build up. Harris missed the conversion, which would’ve once again levelled the match.
In the dying minutes the Rebels forced a tighthead and were once again let down by poor handling as they went on the attack.
Harris took a shot at a field goal in the 80th minute only to see it sail wide and hand the Western Force a hard fought win.
The Rebels will be made to rue missed chances from Harris and poor handling when in promising positions.