Gropers claim first match against Collie Mongrels

The Margaret River Gropers travelled to Collie on Saturday to take on the Mongrels in the opening match of 2018.

The Gropers have been under the watchful gaze of ex State Coach Dr Viv Booker, who was in charge of his first official 15 a side game for Margaret River.

His youthful enthusiasm for old school coaching has seen an emphasis on skill and fitness.

Bookers love for running and attacking play is a perfect fit for the local side. It doesn't matter how fit you are if you can't get a full team, and the Gropers were looking very slim for Saturday.

Mitch Abbs flicked the switch, and added his spark to the side. Having several lightning runs and following a 3 phase power play, he broke the fuse of numerous Collie defenders, even managing to go the short circuit, en-route to the try line in an impressive debut. Max Hedstrom also answered the call and was back to his best.

New recruit Brieux "Brioche" Boussehabt proved handy and will be a valuable inclusion to the squad. In the end, they managed to scrape together 14 players and Collie 17, but Collie were sporting enough to match with 3 on the bench.

Gropers were strong across the park and despite the front row looking like a mid-movie malteser to a hungry Collie pack, they proved to be more than a liver treat for the Mongrels.

They weathered the early pressure at scrum time and began to turn the table after the opposition began to tire.

Captain Sam Henry enjoyed a sea change, moving from the serene Caribbean beaches known as backs, where he has dominated the competition for years, to the wild seas of the Southern Ocean as a Number 8.

When Collie would normally rumble up the sides of the ruck with Titanic force, they often saw Iceberg Sam too late.

As such, he often disrupted the flow for the likes of Olly Chanin to steal some ball. The passing game from the Gropers was phenomenal and they picked the opposition apart putting 50 odd points on in the 1st half, barely tackled in the process.

As Booker said before the game, rugby is about the top 6 inches, the head, and Gropers certainly outsmarted the opposition. Wasted opportunities littered the second half, with white-line fever setting in and everyone wanting a piece of the pie.

A shark alert was out in Collie as residents watched a feeding frenzy as the whale beached itself to avoid getting devoured.

In the end the whale had one last push out to sea, almost scoring before a try saving tackle from Jake Algate.

Final score 76-0 to Gropers and a great start to the 2018 campaign. Gropers now look to the weekend, when they play Dunsborough at the Main Oval at 1pm followed by Bunbury vs Collie.

Anyone interested in playing can contact Viv on 0439 959 969 or visit

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Margaret River Mail

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