Dedicated Black Fish fans have come to expect the very highest level of excitement from every BF v Homebrand encounter. Already this season the mighty Fish have recorded a one-point victory and a buzzer-beating 2-point victory against the likely minor premiers. And this match was no different.
Five Black Fish stalwarts, Noutz (C), Rodgers (N), Edwards (S), Whittle (S), and, fresh from his European 'training', 'Lucky Charm' Downing (K), took on a full-strength Homebrand side in a clash that kept the crowd in a perpetual state of excitement (nb: for 'crowd', read: 'Sam Rodgers' and for 'perpetual state of excitement', read: 'intermittent state of non-boredom').
After giving away an early lead, the Fish characteristically clawed their way back into the contest late in the first half, thanks mainly to the inside potency of Rodgers (N) and the flawless five-man 'Black Wall o' Death' defensive zone. Typically, the opposition displayed ironic gutlessness in exacting a 10-point penalty for an unfortunate case of 'recurrent hypolankanscoreria', but equally typically the Fish rose to the challenge. In a magnificently tenacious display from all five Black Fish, the boys seized a slender lead and were able to protect it in a frenetic final few seconds, thus recording a breathtaking 34-33 victory.
And so the dwindling stocks of active Fish keep their finals dreams alive, but will need to draw on all their reserves of skill, guts, turning-upness and courtside rajapaksiness in the final 2 matches of the minor round in order to ensure some September action.