Bradby hangs in the balance as action moves to Colombo

Dialog Schools Rugby League 2023 / Bradby Shield 1st Leg

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Royal College have everything to do as they take on Trinity in the return leg of the 77th Bradby Shield, which is scheduled to take place at Royal Complex on the 5th of August 2023. 

Defeat in the 1st leg not only put Royal’s Bradby hopes in jeopardy but also dealt a huge blow to their Dialog Schools’ Rugby League title hopes. Fortunately for them, there’s still a way back for them in both, with winning the Bradby looking like the easier challenge in the next few weeks.

A slender lead of just 3 points will surely be tough to defend at the Complex. However, as said prior to the first leg, the Bradby isn’t for the weak-hearted, and the pressures the game comes with are enormous.

What to expect 

Royal will surely aim to maul their way over Trinity but having said that, the Lions will come to Colombo expecting exactly that and with Fazil Marija in charge, you can be sure, they will have some plans to counter the Royal maul up their sleeves.

Defend, defend, defend will be Trinity’s mantra, with a counter being their best chance of scoring points up front. Every chance for points will need to be taken if Trinity want to get their hands on the Bradby Shield for the 1st time since 2014.

Players to watch out for

The home team will come out all guns blazing, and having had a week off to ponder what let them down in the first leg, and Coach Dushanth Lewke would no doubt have put the lads at Reid Avenue through their paces repeatedly.

Skipper Randul Senanayake and Philio Calyanaratne will be two to keep an eye on in the three quarters, while hooker Faruk Akram and Tharusha Samarakoon will be the two forwards, Trinity will watch out for.

A stomach bug caused a massive stir last weekend at Maradana, leaving Trinity having to withdraw from their game against Zahira at the 11th hour, but we could and should expect two well-rested teams battling it out this weekend.

16-year-old Shan Althaf will be licking his lips with the responsibility to steer the ship once again from the pivotal fly-half position, while the team will be looking up to Thisanga Dissanayake for another massive shift in the forwards if the Lions are to stop the rumbling Royalists at the Complex.

Our take

Once again, on paper, you’d think that Royal should win and win comfortably. But as we saw in the first leg, the Bradby is a different ball-game altogether and pressure can do funny things to even the best of players. If Royal can score a couple of tries, the floodgates could open, but if Trinity is to surprise, the score line will be a close one.