Cambodia vs. Macao: How to play “Right Pocket Ruck Back Rover-ward”
After a few rounds of watching we had our second game, Macao. We had heard they were good. We had also heard they were bad. So hearing stuff didn’t really help us figure out any type of strategy.
The back line took our places. The beginning of the game was a little scary. They moved the ball into our territory twice quickly. Their forwards, though older than us, were moving well, and rotating more than I have seen in offenses like ours that are focussed on a more static full forward. Luckily they ended up with only a couple behinds, one of which slammed off the post. This could be a battle.
Luckily it wasn’t. After that first onslaught, our midfield and forwards took over the game and us backfield folk didn’t see much of the ball. Goals went up on the board for us and we began to cruise. I came out of the game before halftime.
Late in the second half our personnel department looked to move some players on and saw me. I was sent in for… Brycey maybe… and was told to tell Chhaya to play on the ball. So I did that. Then Doc, a new, forceful addition to the team, yelled at me to move in a particular direction. I’m not sure what direction that was, but realizing that not moving would definitely be defying him and moving in a random direction would only be defying him around 50% of the time, I decided to move. I didn’t want to get on Doc’s bad side. Ok. Great. Not great. Problem. What direction are we going anyway? Jhie yelled to ask where I was playing. Instead the answer I should have given, “right pocket ruck back rover-ward” muddled behind the back of my hand, I opted for “no fucking clue!”
Luckily, though, now knowing where Jhie, our full forward was, I knew which way we were going. Just in time. Rory had the ball at half-back and was looking for a target. Since the Macao players’ scouting report on us said that they should let me get the ball as often as possible, there was no one around me for miles (I mean meters, however far a meter is). Rory’s kick is money and I take a beautiful chest… hand… wrist… chest… head… chest mark. With Reesy running by I opt to handball off like we had trained. And laid a hit on an older guy trying to make his way back into the play. Textbook. Reesy boomed a kick downfield. (A picture of my shepherd is available here. And a picture of Ashton Shepherd. And a recipe for shepherd’s pie.)
Here’s where the fun began. Reviewing the responsibilities of the holder of the position of “right pocket ruck back rover-ward,” I realized that I had to go crazily run after the ball. Especially if it got near the goal. So I headed downfield. Along with a lot of other Eagles who were drooling thinking about kicking their first goal for Cambodia (or ever). We battled and scrapped near our attacking goal and couldn’t find a way to kick it through before the horn blew and with it one of the few shots I’d have up front, maybe ever.