St Joseph’s v Kings
Report written by Crackerjack
Two undefeated teams, Joeys hosted Kings in the first of three back-to-back weekends of “Grand Finals” to determine the 2018 winner of the School Challenge Trophy.
Off a composed and dominant first half, Kings outlasted Joeys in a stirring conclusion, 30-25.
With a healthy breeze at their backs, the home-side’s tactics of kicking for territory were displayed early. But Kings’ monster pack announced their own intentions at the first scrum, marching the JoeBoys backwards on their own feed.
Early penalty kicks were exchanged, one to Joeys’ Jude Gibbs(10), and two to Kings’ Matt Minogue(10), but they gave no hint of the quarter hour of dominance to come from the Kingsmen.
Young Joseph Suaalii(15), relishing filling in as custodian, was lighting up the mid-field, and under weight of possession and then field position, Kings’ Hamish Mac Smith(13) dived in to score. Minogue converted for Kings, 13-3.
A game-ending leg injury to Kings’ effervescent blindside, Josh Gunstone(6), gave the Kingsmen pause, but only long enough for Joeys to finally gain some decent field position.
Joeys chose a certain Gibbs(10) penalty kick to close the score, but with a yellow-card man off and several walking wounded, Kings pressed home their first-half advantage with controlled pick and driving, capped off by hooker, Blake Males(2), burrowing over.
Half Time: Kings 18 led Joeys 6
It took just 5” into the second-half for the miserly Kings defence to finally be broken by Joeys.
A laser cut-out from skipper, Vince Creagh(12), to put away lively right-wing, Aidan Paterson(14), down the grandstand touch-line to the roaring delight of the JoeBoys faithful. In-board to trailing Nicholas Wilson(15), had Joeys well back into the contest, down just 18-13.
As though someone had flipped a switch, the match had turned on its head. JoeBoys Nelson Roberts(7) and Hugh Bokenham(8) got busy, as loosies do. Fullback Wilson(15) now asking questions down both flanks. And injuries to Kings’ forwards, had slowed the Kingsmen.
Both teams would have to grind this one all the way out to win it.
Joseph Suaalii(15) injected his own brand of magic to put away right-wing Jordan Williams(14) to score, re-establishing Kings’ two-try buffer. Then, straight out of the “it-worked-once, let’s-do-it-again” playbook, Joeys’ Creagh(12) repeated the cut-out to Paterson(14), who duly lit up the touchline. Back inboard to find halfback Nicholas Murray(9) trailing to score. Unconverted, but at 23-18, there was time.
Some heroic Joeys’ goal-line D was broken with a 7-point penalty try to Kings, judged from a Joeys’ ‘high-tackle in the act of scoring’ down the Kings right-wing, restoring Kings’ breathing space, 30-18.
With halfback Nicholas Murray(9) cattle-dogging his forwards all the way to the finish, Joeys’ THP, Tom Shanks-Anderson(3), broke through to give the JoeBoys faithful a couple of final minutes of teeth-grinding, fist-clenching hope.
With numerous Kingsmen cramping up, it was the time-piece that had the final say; Kings running out deserved winners over a courageous Joeys outfit.
Full Time: Kings 30 def. Joeys 25
Matt Minogue(10) – Lieutenant-General John Monash-esque, marshalling troops and pivotally linking his dominant pack to scorching outside finishers
Joseph Suaalii(15) – speed to burn and mesmerising foot-work with ball in hand; total commitment to cover- and last line-defending
Oscar Mitchell(7) – as a Belgian Malinois is to truffle-season, Mitchell’s barely contained enthusiasm for ball-hunting, plus his mid-field hits, stood him out.
Vince Creagh(12) – led by example; instrumental in Joeys’ “never give in” second half comeback effort
Nicholas Murray(9) – busier and snappier than a blue heeler at a mob of cattle, keeping his charges in and at the contests for possession; could power a small village with his on-field energy output
Aidan Paterson(14) – at each touch down his favoured right-wing, brought the Brother Henry Pavilion faithful roaring to their feet
Early Joeys’ sparkle was trodden underfoot in a dominant first-half display by Kings’ beasts of burden.
Then, a funny thing happened, and a fierce contest of Rugby broke out in the second half, Joeys taking the game right up to Kings, tightening their discipline and getting the ball out through the hands to pressure Kings’ cover defence as well as the Scoreboard attendants.
A stirring JoeBoys’ comeback always felt it may fall just short, but not before Joeys won the second half, giving their faithful reason to crank up the atmospherics.
Kings remain undefeated, and at the forefront of Premiership contentions playing away next at winless Newington. Joeys’ 2018 aspirations now are reliant on getting over Scots next week at Bellevue Hill – on any measure, no easy assignment.
Newington v Riverview
Report written by Quickhands
Both schools were 0/2 leading into this fixture and on previous week’s games, it promised to be a hard fought affair.
As it turned out, Riverview turned on a dominant performance and Newington were unable to replicate the performance of the last game against Joeys.
The first couple of minutes saw both sides use their forwards to move down the field. The Riverview put on a nice blind side move down the eastern touchline, featuring some nice short passing (which was a feature of the rest of the game). Clark backed up nicely on the inside to score untouched – converted Easy, Riverview 0-7. Riverview went back into attack from the kick off, this time down the other side of the field for a try by Clinton, converted Easy, Riverview 0-14. A midfield turnover and break by Clinton saw Dutsaillis stroll over under the posts, converted Easy Riverview 0-21. A sideline scuffle saw Easy (I) and Lewis (N) yellow carded. Newington seemed to stabilise and maintain possesssion and the ball made it through the hands for Dellow to score in the south west corner. Try unconverted 5-21 at halftime.
Newington started the second half well, and from an attacking 5 metre scrum in the north west corner, they sent through the backs and a well-worked move saw fullback Weekes score in the opposite corner. Unconverted Riverview 10-21. Dreves (N) was then shown a yellow card for a breakdown infringement. Riverview (Dutaillis) then scored a simple quick hand try from a 5 metre scrum, converted Easy, Riverview 10-28. It seemed at this point that Newington were finished, but they immediately got the ball to the Riverview goal line and from a forward scrimmage, Newington scored a try, which was converted by Vei, Riverview 17-28. Despite Riverview’s dominance, it was only 4 tries to 3 and for a moment the match hung in the balance – could Newington come from behind and achieve an unlikely victory, or would Riverview regroup and power home. It was the latter which eventuated, with tries to Bell and Easy, both of which were converted and it was 17-42. Full time shortly after – Final score Newington 17 – Riverview 42.
Riverview did the simple things well and at speed and their short passing game was particularly impressive. They were deserved winners, with the score an accurate reflection of the game. Newington have plenty of talent there, but are often let down by simple errors or wrong options which prevent sustained pressure being applied to the opposition.
Best for Riverview – the entire forward pack worked superbly as a unit, Bell controlled the backline well and Dutaillis excellent in support play.
Best for Newington – Dellow and Weekes were hard to handle when they received quality ball, Ratcliff worked all day in the forwards.
Shore v Scots
Report written by UpTheGuts
There have been some memorable clashes between Shore and Scots in recent times but it was always going to be a hard ask for Shore off the back of a large loss the week before and a Scots outfit littered with representative stars.
Scots asserted their physical dominance almost straight from the kick-off, driving Shore backwards in the tackle. A good box kick from Hamish Cowan, however, found space in the back field forcing a Scots lineout on their own five metre line. It was this sort of tactical play that had brought Shore very close to toppling Scots in recent years and boded well for the rest of the game.
Despite this ingenuity from Shore early in the piece it didn’t take long for Scots to click into gear with some strong carries up the middle that broke the advantage line. This created space out wide for fullback Jack Mossman who was able to get outside his man and set off down field. As the Shore cover defenders closed in he put in a deft kick that was scooped up by Rugless and dotted down near the posts for a very impressive opening try.
While Shore were able to hold possession for a period after the restart they found it tough to break the gold wall. Good line speed from Scots saw Shore’s forwards going backwards around the halfway line and without a good platform Shore tried to play out the back only for Mason to shoot out of the line and take an easy intercept resulting in Scots’ second try.
The third try from the men in gold was in classical Scots fashion. From a scrum on Shore’s 10m line Scots inside centre, Rugless, burst through the Shore defensive line linking up with Seb Strang on the inside who then started a series offloads that saw Will Harris eventually crash over. Scots then scored their fourth from a well-worked backline move that saw Mossman collect the ball around Shore’s 10m line. Mossman then stepped his way through the defensive line and jetted off to score an impressive set piece try.
Down by four tries at halftime the game looked well out of Shore’s reach but it had no means been the worst performance of their season so far. Scots, as expected, were an extremely well drilled side but Shore had made them work for all their tries.
Scots opened their account in the second half off the back of a tighthead scrum in Shore’s 22m line. With Shore’s forwards struggling to get around the corner quickly enough after being tied up in the scrum Jeremy Williams received a good inside ball to step out of a tackle of a Shore defender and cross for an easy try. It was then followed up by a good backline move that saw Aveyard make a break on the outside and step through Shore’s cover defenders to crash under the posts. At this point, Shore looked like they were leaking points easily and the score might blow out quickly.
However, just as the game looked as though it was going to go south for Shore they hit back with a try of their own. An uncharacteristic poor pass at the back of a Scots lineout saw Hamish Crafter swoop on the ball and offload to lock Jack Cowan who made his way up field into the Scots 22. Some good continuity, provided by effective work at the breakdown, saw Shore put together over 5 phases and rumble towards the Scots line. Just as Scots looked like they might have won a turnover, the ball came back for Shore where they decided to give the backs a dash. With the Scots defence rushing up quickly, fly-half Moses toed it through for Wunderlich to collapse on over the line.
Scots would hit back though with a well worked lineout move on Shore’s 5m line. Rather than going to the drive Scots went short and Zylstra ended up with the ball to run in what would be Scots final try of the game.
The rest of the half was reasonably scrappy as Scots ran off some of their big names and some argy-bargy ensued as a couple of players got a bit hot under the collar. However, Shore were able to bag a final try near the end of the game when they spent multiple phases right on Scots line for Francis to finally cross. The game would finish at 45-12.
Mossman (15) was excellent in attack playing a large hand in a wonderful Scots opening try and scoring a brilliant one of his own. Mason at 10 also played very well in place of Savala and controlled the game nicely. He was ably assisted by Rugless at 12 who carried strongly all match.
The Scots pack worked well as a whole and with a number of their stars being subbed early it was hard to come up with a best on ground.
Cowan at halfback controlled the game well for Shore providing good service and accurate box kicking. Some of the smaller members of Shore pack such as Crafter are also to be commended for generally doing a good job at repelling the powerful forward runners of Scots.
Scots will be pleased with the result although it was not the totally dominant performance that they may have expected. Nevertheless, with a couple of injuries in key positions they will be happy that those filling in those roles were able to step up with aplomb.
The final score line probably downplayed how much more competitive Shore were in this game than they had been in recent weeks. You can be sure they will lift in front of a big home crowd on Old Boys Day for their final fixture at Northbridge.
Waverley v Barker
Pulitzer-winning report written by WLF
As I walked down the steps at Queens Park at 7am to assist with a few set up things, I stopped half way down the steps and gazed out at the field, trying to look into the future, little did I know what lay ahead!
Finally the day most CAS followers had anticipated had arrived, the clash of the season giants, the Mighty Barker REDS, and the inhabitants of 1 of the most feared home grounds in any association, Death Valley, home of the Double V.
Those intimate with recent fixtures were well aware of the 1 point win last year up at Barker by the Waves, often mentioned as 1 of the best games of schoolboy rugby witnessed by those present.
A REPEAT…..NOT POSSIBLE!
FAST FORWARD – 3.15PM.
The Barker Juggernaut strode on to the main arena in a confident manor welcomed on by a sea of RED boys and their parents.
The Waves walked on led by drum beats and another long schoolboy tunnel, they all shook hands, and that was the last of the pleasantries.
The game opened up at a frenetic pace both packs trying to assert domination, the Barker boys withheld a number of early line raids and pushed their way downfield, as if to say, now it’s our turn.
This they proved quickly when a Barker scrum feed was moved wide and no 13 Matt Graham showed some serious pace, hit the hole, threw a dummy, and scored the opener, no conversion. Barker 5-0.
As a Waves supporter you couldn’t help but feel that what was we needed early but it had gone the wrong way.
What happened next was a show of true belief.
The Waves dominated the next 20 minutes with a try close to the line by Luca Moretti, converted. Waves 7-5.
Lathan Hutchinson-Walters then started his game long assaults of the Barker defensive line, breaking through on numerous occasions and putting the Waves on the front foot.
A Waves scrum 25 out from the Barker line saw no.9 Thorn dart through, off load to Molloy back to Thorn and finally back to Volkman who scored a wonderful try under the sticks, converted Waves 14-5.
The Waves again drove down the paddock and received a penalty wide out, Hutchinson -Walters converted. Waves 17-5.
Again shortly after the kick off the Waves punched their way up to the Barker try line, and after several raids it went wide and the Waves no.3 Aholelei scored close to the posts, converted 24-5.
It was now that the curse of Death Valley was circling the arena, the Waves had domination and you wouldn’t have put 2 bob on Barker, (of course unless you were a RED supporter).
Just before half time Barkers no. 1 Collison crashed over after rolling pick and drives, it was converted. Waves 24-12.
Half time. Everyone drew breath.
From the kick off everyone knew that this was the season defining half for the Henry Plume Shield.
As if to send a clear message, the Barker pack regained ascendency and started to roll up the field.
A quick movement on the Waves line saw the ball move wide, too wide, as it was intercepted by the Waves winger no.14 Tomasiello and he ran the length, a relatively easy conversion miss saw the score now ,Waves 29-12.
Surely the margin now was a winner! But there was still 20 minutes to go.
Then the kick off went to Luca Moretti who ran completely through the defence to be pulled down by the last line of defence, but no choccies.
As the Waves supporters started to watch gaze, we probably saw one of the greatest schoolboy fightbacks you will ever see.
In close line proximity BIG Billy Pollard muscled his way over through sheer determination, no conversion. Waves 29-19.
Fatigue then became obvious and the game opened up for the backs to shine, this they did, as no.14 Galloway backed up a wonderful counter attack and scored, converted. Waves 29-26.
7 minutes remaining and the Waves dug deep, driving downfield with a barrage of forward movements, then a possession win to the REDS and their backs were at it again streaming downfield making base camp in the Waves 22.
3 minutes to go, and after drive after drive, Barker went wide and through countless sets of hands, the last pass stuck and no.3 Wilson made a mighty catch and scored in the corner, no conversion.
BARKER HAD HIT THE FRONT 31-29.
The hearts of the Waves supporters hit the floor but there was to be a last play twist, as just after the resuming kick off, the Waves got a penalty.
No real pressure on the kick, just the shield, there are no tougher asks for any kicker, and aside from this kick Hutchinson-Walters had an absolutely brilliant game.
It was 10m in from the sideline, the ground went deadly silent, off went the kick, it drifted and just shaved the right hand side of post, Barker grabbed it and kicked in onto Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach, 5ks away.
THE REDS WIN!
A disservice to highlight just a few boys, they ALL played their hearts out and were absolutely buggered at the end, nothing left.
The Barker boys were gracious in their victory and assisted many of the Waves boys up from the ground, many had formed solid friendships at the recent Aussie schoolboy Championships.
Congratulations to both teams, definitely 1 for the records.
As I walked back up the steps, I realised that at least at the top athletic serious level, schoolboy rugby is alive and well.