12-man Scholars skin Bulls
Belconnen United Scholars player Brent Crisp gets tackled during the match at West Belconnen Leagues Club. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
GUNGAHLIN player-coach Josh Ayers accused his side of playing ''dumb football'' after it lost a physical encounter to a 12-man Belconnen United yesterday.
Up 18-16 early in the second half, the Bulls looked in the box seat when Scholars forward Matt Britt was sent off for a high shot on Pat O'Keeffe.
The incident galvanised the Scholars, who scored the last three tries to seal a 32-18 win.
The win was made even sweeter after 10 former Gungahlin players ran out for Belconnen yesterday.
Former NRL Canterbury fullback Brent Crisp put on a masterclass for the winners, scoring two tries and controlling the match with his huge kicking game.
After trailing 16-0 early, the Bulls clawed their way back to take the lead through a double to hooker James Ulrick and a superb length-of-the-field try from fullback Whylie Manton.
But Ayers said his side thought the win would be handed to them on a platter after Britt was given his marching orders.
''That's where we had to lift, the Sharks lifted when they were a man down and we were flat,'' Ayers said.
''It doesn't seem to be an advantage for the side with 13 on the field sometimes, but we killed ourselves in this game.
''When we got to the point where we wanted to put a play on, the boys wanted to take it one out and do the silly plays.
''Instead of playing smart football, we played dumb.''
Ayers admitted that playing against several of his former teammates ensured that the match had a little more feeling.
''I think there was 10 old Bulls blokes there, it always adds a bit of extra spice,'' he said.
''But I'm more than happy to go out there, whack them and go and have a beer with them after the game.''
Crisp's class from the back and the dominance of Belconnen's huge pack proved the difference.
After dropping their season opener against the Queanbeyan Kangaroos, the Scholars have now won four straight.
Belconnen centre and former Gungahlin player Ryan O'Sullivan said that Britt's send off had lifted his side.
''Everyone rallied together in the second half, it was real good,'' O'Sullivan said.
''There's a bit of rivalry between the two of us and a bit of tension, it was a great build-up.''
Elsewhere, surprise packets Yass maintained a share of the competition lead with a 48-18 win over winless West Belconnen.
Defending premier Queanbeyan Kangaroos remain unbeaten after a 36-12 thrashing of Goulburn, while the Queanbeyan Blues beat Tuggeranong 42-12.