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NOTES BY FULL BACK.

The news of tho success of the Ota^o team against Wellington by 6 points to 3 was enthusiastically received in town on Saturday night. It has long been the tendency of North Islanders to so crack up Iheir individual football teams that it was •with somewhat pe=sinii-tio feelings local followers of the game viewed the prospects of tho Oiaeo team as they fet out on •their northern tour. rlhe£"r lhe£" feelings seemed to have plenty of foundation when Otago Wv'iit down hefoie a North Otago loam to the tune of 9 points to 7, and the ray of hope eicated by tho Hlucs' veitorv over Canterbury was quieklv obscured when thej e-uffeved defeat at the hands, and toes, of Manawatu hy 6 points to 3. It will thus he seen that followers of the local game — in Mew of tho reputed strength of the We'linston t<^*» — with the exception of a few sanguine .spirit?, -who would not accept defoat for the Ulues tinder any consideration, looked forward to the* result of Saturday's content with but little confidence m the ability of (J *zo to «=ecure a win, so when the Blues' MC.o<-y was flashed over- the wires there wat cau.-e for much congratulation and jubilation. As they have done po often on former occasions, a was the Otago forwards to whom the «in was mainly due. and their performance, taken ill conjunction with the fact that the tendency in local football i» to sacrifice for>vard pfay' to the back department, shows ■that, when the occasion arises, the Otago forwards, as of >ore, number m their ianks players who are second to "O"e in Now Zealand. Mention has been made of the fact that Wellington wore weakened by the absence of Wai 'ace. Kobcrts, WaUh. ami itamsden ; but the argument of this weakness is wholly upset by the fact that if the match had been played in Duneuin the Otago backs would have Wn much strengthened by the inclusion of some of the University backs. Taking the=e circumstances mto consideration it will at once bo seen that the Otago team have gained a glorious and meritorious victory, and I take the opportunity of congrarulatint? them_ on their splendid display against the Wellington team on Saturday. ■'Not the same team !"' was the universally expressed opinion of tho c e who journejed out to the Caledonian Ground on fciat-lrday in speaking: of the exhibition put up by the Sydney University men against the local University team on Saturdaj. To those who had witnessed the exhibitions of the visitors in the matches on the previous Saturday and Wednesday, when the weather and ground conditions were infitiitely better than those, prevailing for the third match, the game put up by the Welshmen came as a great end welcome surprise, the % isitors giving »n exposition of the game of football much more in Accord with what one would expect from « toam which ua* a record of victories such

"as that possessed by the Yellow-and-blacks. The ground was in a- very heavy and sodden condition, and the visitors losing the tcss had to face a heavy sou'-w ester, wi»h sleet showers. Handicapped as they undoubtedly were by these conditions, but 1 evidently stimulated by the desire to wipe out the* memory of their two previous disappointing games, the Sydneyite3 started j off in real workmanlike style. And to such ' purpose that they kept at the 'ocal men during the first spell. Their forwards made no mistakes, and each and everyone of them went for his man in a do or die. vigorous style that helped materially in preventing the ball being got out to the Ota^o backs, their display being quite a revelation to those who had seen the two previous g-anies. Added to this they beat their opponents in the ecrum. and at times ran over them in the dribbling ru«hes. Backs and forwards alike fielded the wet and greasy ball bettoi than the Blues, and Fisher, at wing three-quarter, espec.ally wa= very safe in his catching. In addition to Matthews at scrum half and Verge at full back, who again gave solid displays in their respective places, Fisher on the wing and Oxenharu improved vastly on their former game*, the former fini.-hing up a slashing run by being collared near the line in the nick of time. Oxenham had one or two other chances to feed this speedy wing, but either gave Fisher the ball tco lata or wont on his own. Roe on th-e outside rierht wing had few opportunities but the inclusion of Verge at five-eighths helped materially to strengthen the ■visitors' back division. Where the weakness of the -visitors lay that they did not register ;i score in the firot spell was not, in 'the writer's opinion, in their play, but in the formation of their back department, the whole of the threequarters lining out in a direct line from the scium, leaving a big gap between them and the full back. An Otago man had only to gne the ball a hard kick and it was past them, but not up to the full back. The consequence was the three-quarters in nearly every instance had to run br.ck for tha ball instead of it coming to them, and the local men were generally on it at ihe same timo as tho three-quarter. Had the three quarters kept a bit behind and taken the ball, it would have saved their forwards a lot of running back to help them oat of difficulties, a"d gradually brought the play up to their opponents' line. As it was, all the gocd work of the forwards was nulhPod in a number of oases by one hard kick of the ball by the opposing side. On changing over, and playing with tho wind, the visitors again gave their opponents a bad time, the local forwards only gftting relief from the fine kicking of Adams Gilray. and Macphereon. Fisher again distinguished himself as a speedy wing, while Oxenham put in one or two dashing runs, as the result of one of which he vviij almc-t across. Of the visiting forwards, Hoets. Johneon, and James Hughe* were about the lest. On the day's play it wa<s only the fine def'.-as've work of the Otago backs — Uuley, Adams, Macpherson, Wi Repa, and (Jil<'ay — which saved the local team from defeat, i their line-kicking on occasions giving their lorwards much-needed relief. The passing ru?h which ended in Gilray scoring the only try d-mng the game was a paitir^larly fine effort ; but I am sure that if this player on getting the ball would make o(rait;ht io>- the line instead of cutting into the centre of the field and looking for some 'U'e to pass to he would score more tries than he docs. The v Jsitin)» team were unlucky to lose Saturday's match, and if Verge's attempt from a rree kick nad eros-ed the bar insteid of striking it and rebounding into play, tl*e eeore would have pleaded those present a« much as it would have the Sydney m?n. Of the visitors, Verge, at full back, was Ihe mainstay of the rear division. During the tliree matches he never made one serious mistake, gaining ground by his Jinekicking and saving -his side repeatedly by his collaring and rush-stopping. True, Gilray got past him when snoring his try on Saturday, but Verge made a. gallant attempt to collar him, and though ho stopped him was unable to hokl th<- fcohd University wing. Matthews, boliind ih" 1 scrum, was another consistent player, and though he is nob of large phwque, an.l got his fair &hurc of knocking about, showed plenty of pluck, and gavo a fine, all-rounci exposition of half back play. Hi'!.i~hing run in Wednesday's match was -a ])ir f 'tulaily brilliant effort. .Alatthows. however, generally had to scramble for the ball at the back <jf the rcruni, it u-uaily coming oul an>ho\v. and hanging about the back^ row's frvt. He was thus v?*crHy handicapped in his endeavours to get it out to h.> hacks Ot the other backs. Fisher and Oxenhum guvo us a. glmnp*-e of th'M.- real form on and this h;ti>iu-npprd a-> th'-y were by the ground. Hull, it t iuld not be i-aid that tli-> »S»dney tluee-quarter-, gave us oii- v real thrilling bit of pa-«ing. if tt«e occasion when Fisher made his run on Saturday be e\repted. Tho weak link in the back chain seeme 1 to bo between the five eisjhK and tluooquarKr-, though the cn-pUjN cf the barks in the lhre<> match<-> played taken all umucl, with ttiv excpt.ou <jf Veigo and Matthews, were di-appoi'itmg. And this recognising tt,e fact that Saturday wa-* not .-<. day for an exposition of fn-t thi.->s back piny. Tho vi-iHng foi wards takn g Satuidaj'-. play only into consideration, ptovoil a better p.uk tlwn their opponents, ard beat t'l^m in diibbhtig, scrumming, and hooking tlie ball. Had they received adequate ay finance from their backfi in judicious hn<*kickini.'. instead of the latter punting btraight down the field against the heavy oou' -wester they would not have had such a lot cf running back to help their backand consequently would have had more left in them for attack. "Where all t he van guard played fo well. I shall not partieulame by mentioning individual players. j The Sydney team left by the second express for Christchurch on Tuesda>. After playing Canterbury College on Thursday they meet Victoria College at Wellington on Saturday, and then return to Sydney, not meeting the Auckland City team. j Tl cy "nave a '"dreamer of di earns" on tl'.e Otagri Rugby Union Committee. SoriM Three »vcck» back ho informed the writer that l-o had dreamt Otago had beaten Wellington in their annual match [which they did do on Saturday! Asked as to the final «oor<\ he paid he had got so excited on learning of the win that he had waiKMicl up before he could hear of it. T did not acquaint my readers with the re suit of the dream on the da.te, 1 heard of

it, a* I imagined that perhaps the dreamer wa3 a false prophet. However, he prophesied true, and is herewith credited with that fact. I shall now try to make use of him on a future occasion. Walter F. Matthews, the Sydney University half-back, has (says the Sydney Referee) within one"* recollection, never been surpassed by any scrum belt batik a.t the University. His wide know .edge of. the possibilities of half-back play is evidenced in his varied and subtle movements. And it is illustrated with particular force when he has a co-operating five-eiglifh of corresponding ability and a thrpc-quarter Jhh> that springs into action with mind as well a= nvusde. According to northern writers there is a probability' that C. Seeling, of the "All Black" team, will shortly leave for. the Old Country. Tho benefit concert orjranised by Glebe Distiict Club (Svdnej) for Messrs Little (Auckland) ard Riddell, who were injured in the Sydney Globe v. Auckland City match, was Ik Id. with very great success, at the National Sporting Club recently. The amount taken at the doors vva? £73, in addition to which about £14- was sent from Auckland, and there are tickets sold which were fTot u-cd. The secretary of the Rugby Football Union (England). Mr P. Coles, has received a communication from the South African Rugby Football Board, stating that the South African tc. n will arrive in Kn gland on September 22. Tho first march will he played at Northampton on .September 27. when a tea<n fioni the Midlands will he , opposed. The Welsh Rugby Union at its annual meeting decided that, in addition to the | annual grants made io those clubs and I league? jn need of financial assistance, a [ »nim not exceeding £300 be gWon annually to deserving charities nt tho discretion of the committee, tin, Limit being fixed in view of tho wi-h of the union to gradually form a reserve fund of £10.000. Mr J. .1. Davoren. of the New South Wales Union, rrcentiv ga\o notice of motion— "That tho Now Zcaalnd and Queensland Unions 1 c asked to suggest and agree to a common course of act km in cases whore representative intercolonial or inter-State players are ordered off the field for misconduct. That Jie New South Wales Union -suggests that in all such casea inquiry be made to the union under whose jurisdiction the match is played, and at tho expense of that body." This is a step in th? light direction," and wjll tend to bring about an undor-tanding on a matter which has hitherto been one of difficulty. Thus the Wellington roi respondent of the Canterbury Times: — "Jack Stalke--. the erstwhilo Otago «uul Now Zealand lepresentalive thrce-qiu.rtor, gave a .sorry exhibition in the Manawatn three-quarter line against Wanganui. Ho wont eonipletoly to pieces at the critical attacking movements. The writer lias uever eea^ed wondering how it was that Stalker was picked to go to Australia with the fern -leaf jersey wearers in 1903." The wing forward holds no place in the South African Rugby school, and press and public alike are not s!ow io put the blame of matches lost on to hi* unworthy shoulders. "A forward's first duty is to push hard and straight, to heel out quickly, and to tackle low." That is the most important lesson taught to the young South African who seeks fame on the football field, by putting his head low down in '"scrum. " The i^assage of the "All Blacks" from London to New Zealand cost tho colony £1963, w-hieh represents the outlay on what was admittedly tho finest advertisement New Zealand ever received. The Glasgow representative of the Distillers' Company (Ltd.). Edinburgh, was so overcome, with enthusiasm at the manner in which the "All Blacks" triumphed over tho flower of Glasgow football that he at once communicated with Jiis fiim. si:{j!?e-=t-ing that they should -„rovide a trophy for competition in Now Zealand. Tho immediate result (say! the Lyt'olton Tunes) has been that ihrough the Christchurch agents, Mcs.-rs Fletcher, Humphreys, and Co , tho company ha^ s-ent out a \eiy handsome challenge shield, vnlued at £50, for annual competition anicng tbe senior clubs affiliated to the Canierburv Rugby Uiron. A Nelson telegram states that a football match between the Christchurch High School Old Boys and Nelson College Old Boys was played yesterday before a large attendance, and in perfect weather. The \isitois showed a penrral superiority, ai.d won by 13 points to ml. (Juthrie 'cored in the first spell. 1 nt the kick at coal failed. In the 'ocot.d Hu/gvvither and Dcugall scored trie-. Sanmlcrs loiivertmg lx>th. A Chnstehunh telegram states that R. F. Rich, an Albion junior player, wa^ disqualified by the Canterbury Rutt'ov Umoi. till tho <Mid of 1903 for dsputng the leferee's decision and using throat' mug dinl di«gusti*ng language to him.

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NOTES BY FULL BACK., Otago Witness, Issue 2739, 19 September 1906

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NOTES BY FULL BACK. Otago Witness, Issue 2739, 19 September 1906

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