Carter Gordon’s post-game pain was the denouement of a tough-to-watch Rebels loss to the resurgent Waratahs at the SCG on Saturday.
Gordon, one of Australia’s most promising young playmakers, was in tears and being consoled by thoughtful teammates after he missed touch with a crucial late line kick from a penalty in a 24-19 loss.
The 21-year-old was widely tipped for a breakout Super Rugby Pacific campaign after last season’s promise but instead he was dropped after round one of Melbourne’s still-winless season.
“It would be good for him to get some confidence back and I think that’ll come with his kicking,” Rebels coach Dave Wessels said of Gordon.
Wessels added that he understood how bad the miss was for the young star: “It was disappointing for him because it was probably our best chance to win the game.”
Carter Gordon almost inconsolable following @MelbourneRebels 19-24 loss to @NSWWaratahs, after missing a kick for touch with just a couple of minutes to play, could have set up a game winning opportunity. Good to see his team mates get around him straight away. @StanSportRugby
— Michael Atkinson (@kinson88) March 19, 2022
In a match that started with a sleepy force and ended with a nervous finish, the Rebels almost pulled NSW’s pants down after coming back from a 14-6 half-time deficit.
Man of the match Lalakai Foketi bust through Gordon and others for the opening try with five-pointers to Will Harris and Alex Newsome appearing to put the result beyond doubt.
But Melbourne kept in touch through penalties before prop Cabous Eloff’s 67th-minute try set up a nervous finish for the home fans.