Fighting Miners all but seal a home semi-final

Bendigo Fighting Miners defeat Monash University 22-12. File picture
Bendigo Fighting Miners defeat Monash University 22-12. File picture

A LATE surge has lifted Bendigo Fighting Miners past Monash University to score a 22-12 win in last Saturday’s Victorian Rugby Championship match.

Trailing 5-12 with only 11 minutes remaining, centre Phil Keech finally breached the Monash defence to score a try in the corner, before David McDonald’s conversion equalised the score at 12 –all.

Sensing that they had the upper hand, the Miners hit the lead 15-12 with a penalty goal from McDonald.

Then, on the stroke of full-time, number 8 Blake Theunissen crashed over between the posts to deny Monash a bonus point.

Earlier, Monash opened the scoring in the second minute of play with a penalty goal from a handy position when the Bendigo scrum was penalised for a wheel.

The Miners responded almost immediately with five-eighth Steve Reynolds breaching the Monash defence to score wide out.

Monash used its wind advantage to dominate field position for the remainder of the first half, scoring three more penalty goals due to Bendigo indiscipline at the breakdown to go to the break leading 12-5.

Bendigo started to get the upper hand in the second half, but dogged Monash defence

prevented them from scoring until the late rally.

Player of the day was Steve Reynolds.

Others to shine included Theunissen, Keech, hooker Nick Wall, loose forward Matt Boyle and skipper Logan Reynolds.

The win lifted Bendigo three games clear of Monash and an almost certain home semi-final.

Next Saturday, the Miners are at home to the Melbourne Chargers.

Scorers: S. Reynolds, Keech, Theunissen tries; McDonald two goals, penalty goal.