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Eastern outplayed Central in 1978 with great speed, ball handling and a game plan which Central could not combat. Eastern made the most of the opportunities given and Central did not have an answer for this.
This was the second win by Eastern in the "Sports Trust trophy" and outside backs, Alec Milne, Brian Dickison and Melvyn Robertson were outstanding for Eastern. Second five eight, Alec Milne understands the game well and knew when to run the ball and when to pass the ball, while centre Dickison, who seemed off lately in club rugby with Waikaka was on song and set up his wingers well and was always in support for this players.
Robertson deserved the two tries he scored and with ball in hand was hard to bring down. His strong running and ability to find the gaps made it hard for the opposition to defend.
Don Ward also constantly made the advantage line with strong running and his second try came with a great understanding with Dickison.
After a dreadful start Mike Adair grew in confidence and running into the backline found Ross Mangles who was running a two to one line and scored the perfect dummy to score Eastern's first try.
Peter Ross on the wing had an indifferent day but when he did get the ball he always punched through and had his hand in the scoring of two tries.
At full back Fred Crosbie did well considering the pressure put on his before the game even started. Although it was a big win it did take Eastern a while to settle down and there were a lot of early silly mistakes that must have had the spectators worried. Graeme Petterson, Murray Howe, Jeff Lamb, and Bruce Robertson all did their fair share in the forwards while Bruno Gardiner, Alistair King and Ray Mair tidied up in the loose.
Mair led by example as captain and was always in support, Bruce Robertson was strong in the rucks and his speed off the scrum gave Eastern an advantage.
Central might have been missing loose forward Lester Rutledge who is out with a knee injury, but Dave Ward compensated well at No. 8 and worked tirelessly covering a massive amount of ground. He was most effective in setting up rucks for his forwards and winning good lineout ball. Central hooker, Tom Fairbairn was not able to secure any tightheads in the fashion that he usually does and he shared the hooking with Russell Lawrie and they got one tighthead each.
Dave Saunders worked hard in the tight but was not as effective as usual. What ball the forwards did win was kicked away by their backs and maybe if they held on to it a bit more they could have scored a few more points.
John Petterson had a great pass as half back to John Ellis and his drop goal was a great effort and gave Central some relieve. Unfortunately he did not get the chance to repeat this.
John Lindsay and Graham Spittle tried hard to play the inside-outside centres game but was not effective. Lindsay tackled strongly but Spittle was well contained by Dickison.
Ross Mangels tried everything possible to dominate but he was not given the opportunities.
Central was the team that started better, but once Easter settled down they could not stop them. Eastern won 18-3.
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