A try fest was held out at the glorious Katsushika Sports Ground as the sun set on a beautiful Tokyo spring day. The new joint venture between the Shinjuku Giants and the Tokyo Crusaders had their second match of the Rugby League season and proved to be much more competitive although many were still learning the rules as this was only their first or second game of League. We started the game nervously with an early knock on leading to the Warriors peppering the Crusader’s line. After repeated sets of six the Warriors crashed over and it looked like it was going to be a long day at the office. Some slack first up tackling and some confusion in the defensive line led to easy breaks for the opposition and they quickly scored another to lead 12-0 early doors. The introduction of super prop “Lockie” proved the inspiration as the Cru started to make some big yards up the middle and the rest of the forwards followed in Lockie’s example with Amane, Gen, Manabu and Ryuji making some great hit ups to put us in good attacking position. After a period of pressure an inside ball from Evan to the charging Lockie gave us our first try and we were on the board. Again, some soft attempts at tackles saw the Warriors make easy yards down the field and our technique let us down on many occasions with too many guys going high or not wrapping up the ball carrier and letting the Warriors get away easy offloads. Simple errors with the ball also saw us give up posession a number of times before completing our set of 6 tackles, a cardinal sin in Rugby League. The Warriors put a few tries on and were 42-12 up at half time, after Travis busted through a few tackles late in the half to score a try (the first time he moved faster than a jog all game it must be said, the fat bastard!!). In the second half the Cru were much improved with Gen in particular making excellent yards every time he carried the ball. A much improved defensive line saw the Warriors struggle to pass the gain line and the Cru finally held onto the ball and were able to string together a few decent attacks. We ended up crossing the line 4 times in the second half with Lockie unstoppable from close range and the nuggety Amane showing us all how to do it at 42 years of age, with his relentless running earning him 2 great tries. He certainly loves running into contact and taking the big hits, a super performance from him. We ended up winning the second half 24-18 and although the score was a bit lopsided it was a much improved effort. With more practise and a few more games under our belt the combinations will start to develop and I’m sure we’ll see the Giants/Crusaders take their first win before long.