Bathurst Panthers whiz Jeremy Gordon has inspired his Indigenous outfit to a stunning 38-28 come-from-behind victory in the Group 10 All Stars clash at Blayney on Saturday.
Igniting his side’s attack in the second half, Gordon bagged a double and booted five goals to help overcome a 22-10 deficit early in the final term, securing the Indigenous boys back-to-back All Stars titles in the process.
Gordon was the conductor for Indigenous All Stars coach Will Ingram, while veteran forwards Simon Osborne and Jono Van Veen were tremendous against a mammoth Group 10 All Stars pack built to thunder through the middle of its opposition.
Ingram was thrilled his side’s attacking flair got it over the line in the entertaining, seven-tries-to-six exhibition match.
“It just showed the spirit that we love to play the game with,” Ingram smiled.
“We were down, never really lost any confidence though, we just needed the time for everything to click into place and it showed.
“It’s something we strive for. We really want to win these types of games, not just for the fact it’s a rep game and there’s a big crowd, but it hits home how personal you take the game, especially when we play for our mob. You really see the passion in the blokes you’re out there with.”
VIDEO: Watch both teams run out and the Indigenous side perform its war dance:
Ingram was full of praise for Van Veen following the win.
Typical of Van Veen, the Lithgow stalwart was in everything during the Indigenous side’s resurgence in the second half, at one point comically riding Group 10 captain-coach Mick Sullivan like a rodeo bull after the Orange CYMS gun fumbled a pass.
Both players high-fived afterwards, such was the spirit the game was played in.
“Jono, I don’t know how he does it. It’s a lot different playing against him, it’s great to have him in your team though,” Ingram laughed.
“He just brings that competitive edge out there on the field.”
The Group 10 side started the better of the two, racing to a 10-0 advantage after Mudgee hooker Ben Thompson crossed twice in the opening six minutes.
The game ebbed and flowed after the blistering start from the Group 10 stars as both sides traded sets.
But when Chris Bamford scored his first right on half-time and then Tim Motimer crossed four minutes into the new half to give the Group 10 outfit a 22-10 lead, the Indigenous side needed to muster next points.
They did just that – and then some.
After Jeremy Gordon bagged his first in the 46th minute, the Indigenous side crossed a further two times – the first to Osborne and then again through replacement half Joey Bugg – to turn the game on its head in the space of eight minutes.
The Indigenous outfit then extended its lead to 38-22 before a late, consolation try to Bamford, his second.
“They didn’t hang it up and they came away with an impressive win,” Sullivan said.
“Maybe we got a bit complacent there after we got ourselves a couple of tries in front.
“It was that sort of game. Whoever got on a role in the ruck was dominant and the 10 minute period where they were on top they took the game away from us.”
Thompson was Group 10’s best, while Ben McAlpine had a strong gave at fullback in a losing side.
INDIGENOUS ALL STARS 38 (Jeremy Gordon 2, Caleb Lewis 2, Hamish Bryant, Joe Bugg, Simon Osborne tries; Jeremy Gordon 5 goals) def GROUP 10 ALL STARS 28 (Ben Thompson 2, Chris Bamford 2, Tim Mortimer, Jedd Kennedy tries; Willie Heta 2 goals)