The biggest game of the year was going to be King’s at Riverview. Neither team looked like world-beaters but both were undefeated.
Meantime Scots, with one loss, wanted to keep in touch with the leaders, against Joeys, who had to get on the bike after two losses. And at Stanmore, win-less Newington and Shore were to do the dance of the desperates.
Barring draws, one team was to have their first win, and another, their first loss.
Joeys v Scots
by “Armchair Selector”
Scots had won the last nine encounters in a row against Joeys. Was this clash going to bring up the tenth or was Joeys going to ruin the party?
Scots opened their account first through a well constructed try that began with a midfield scrum penalty against Joeys. Try to Scots #13 Archer Gavin, converted by Nic Shannon. 7-nil to Scots.
Eleven minutes in Scots secured turnover ball at the ruck ten metres out from their line but a charge down of the clearing kick had Joeys’ inside centre Triston Reilly touch down. Lachlan Day converted to even things up 7-7.
The Scots captain #1 Harry Todd and hooker Charlie Jeavons were making serious yards in the inside channel but scrambling defence kept Scots at bay.
Both teams had opportunities, but the cold slippery conditions saw a lot of dropped ball. Scots did not capitalise on running with the wind and Joeys’ three short arm scrum infringements and two long arm scrum penalties were exposing an unexpected weakness.
Half-time score: Joeys 7 – Scots 7
Day kicked a 45-metre penalty after a Scot’s ruck infringement. He had been lethal from long-distance this season and used the the wind to Joeys’ advantage. Joeys took the lead for the first time 10-7.
Seven minutes after the break the momentum appeared to be with Joeys when Scots hooker Jeavons carried the ball over the line after a ranging kick downfield by Day. From the scrum the ball went through deft hands for speedy winger Adam Tse to score in the corner. Joeys 15 – 7
But momentum swung back to Scots after a lapse in concentration at the ruck 10 metres out from the Joeys’ line. Scots winger #14 Tom Yasmin, who had dropped his fair share of ball in the game, redeemed himself with a counter ruck, picked up the ball, and scored in the corner.
Scots #10 Nick Shannon converted from the sideline to narrow the gap to a single point. Joeys 15 – Scots 14.
The next ten minutes was an arm wrestle with both back lines testing the defence with no result. It was the Scots’ dynamic duo of Todd and Jeavons who combined again when Todd seized on a Joeys’ defensive lapse at the ruck sprinting 20 metres to offload to his partner in crime to score under the posts. Extras were added by Shannon and Scots were back in front 21 -15 about twelve minutes into the half.
A minute later, Day missed a penalty goal attempt which hit the posts and rebounded off the right post at such force that it was caught near the 22 by Scots defenders.
With five minutes to go Day had another opportunity and slotted the penalty from about 30 metres out. Scots 21 – Joeys 18.
The Scots’ forwards continued to raid the Joeys inside channel and gained considerable territory. Someone must have shown them the Riverview game tape as the tactic worked a treat for Fenn and Rorke three weeks earlier.
Another knock-on by the Scots’ forwards near the Joeys line gave Joeys the last roll of the dice on full-time. Outside centre Yirribi Jaffer-Williams gave them a glimmer of hope with some individual brilliance, but his kick-and-chase attack was snuffed out ten metres into Scots’ territory and the visitors got a well-deserved victory.
Full-time score: Scots. 21 – 18.
For Scots, their Captain #1 Harry Todd had a blinder and led by example. #2 Jeavons redeemed his try line mistake and is exceptionally quick gaining many yards in the mid field. #10 Nic Shannon organised his troops and his boot made the difference in the end.
For Joeys, #12 Tristan Reilly ran hard into contact and spread the ball wide when given the opportunity. #11 Lachlan Day was strong in attack and defence and his kicking ability kept Joeys competitive.
Joeys are making a habit of losing close games as they did last year. The game was theirs to win but they fell short.
Photos of Joeys v Scots by Lee Grant
Newington v Shore
by “former flanker”
Two different styles of play met when Newington defeated Shore 26 points to 19 in an entertaining game at Stanmore.
Both sides had to draw on their rugby depth due to injuries. Shore started without five regular players, including their two previous flyhalves, and Newington, who had their own injury list before the game, then lost three key players during the match.
Shore started the first half with speed around the park and quick ball movement. They focussed on straight running by forwards and backs, and then changed the point of attack by running wrap-arounds in midfield. Will Haskins (a 9 playing 10) stepped three players from five metres out to score near the posts and Hamish Sheehan (13) converted.
Shore 7 – Newington 0
Still with a majority of possession, Shore kept their straight running going and Rory Suttor (5) crashed over under the posts from short range to give Shore a 12-0 lead. The try was not converted.
Newington then began to get back into the game with multiple-phase attacks and a courageous decision to take a scrum when a kick at goal was an easy option. Three quick breakdowns later they scored a well-constructed try and Bayley Kuenzle (10) converted.
There was no further scoring in the first half. Both teams were building into their strategies; Newington started to use their big players more regularly and Shore used their speed off the defensive line to slow down the New runners.
In a portent of things to come, just prior to half time, New’s Tyrone Taukamo (14) powered 50 meters down the right touchline beating four would-be tacklers before a cover defender stopped the raid.
Half time: Shore 12 Newington 7.
Newington stamped their authority on the game right from the re-start. Gathering their own kick off, they attacked for multiple phases until awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Captain Tom Serhon refused the kick, chose a scrum, and the dominant scrummagers from Newington provided a stable platform for Taukamo to hit the ball at pace and score a five-pointer. Kuenzle struck the ball well to convert.
Newington had hit the front 14 -12.
The Newington strategy was becoming more effective. The big players such as Opeti Helu (3) and hooker Isi Halaufia were making good ground in their hit-ups. Using the go-forward generated, Serhon and Louis Gray (5) would pick and drive with more metres gained for their team.
Inside passes from the backs were utilised to bring their forwards into the attack more frequently. Shore were tackling well, quick to the breakdown and technically efficient, but lacked the size to shift bodies off the ball.
Newington’s replacement inside centre proved a handful. He made many half-breaks and set up outside runners with well-timed draw-and-pass skills.
Shore threw everything they had at the Newington attack, but sheer weight of possession ultimately told and another powerful surge from Newington resulted in a converted try.
Newington looked home and hosed leading 21 to 12 with only a short time left on the clock. Shore had other ideas and Robin Allen (converted from No.8 to inside centre), made a long break down the middle of the field. Suttor picked up the ball and scored his second try for the day with another barge through defenders over the try line. Sheehan converted and the game was going down to the wire.
Newington 21 – Shore 19. The countdown to full time seemed to go in slow motion.
One of Newington’s best, number 13 Nathan Lawson, sealed the win for Newington moments later. Right on full time he finished off an exciting 40-meter team try after several pairs of hands had shifted the ball to the left side of the field. The conversion attempt missed.
Full time score: Newington 26 – Shore 19.
Newington – their bigger team and large amounts of possession were the keys to their win. They won well by playing to their strengths.
Shore tackled tenaciously but physics is immutable – fast big runners can be brought down by committed defenders, but ultimately momentum overcomes courage.
2nd XV: Newington 31- Shore 7
3rd XV: King’s 3 – Newington 0
16As: Newington 22 – Shore 0
Photos courtesy of “Not in straight” – thank you
Riverview v Shore
by “Byron Williamson”
The skies had cleared, the ground dried up, and the smells of pies were wafting across Riverview’s first field in the autumn breeze.
Kings began the game on the front foot, before a quick turnover sent them straight back on their heels. A simple play through the hands of the View attack led to some open space out wide for #14 Smeallie who chipped and chased around the Kings’ last line of defence and regathered for the try. Conversion unsuccessful: View 5-0.
Kings were looking to bounce back, but their restart going out on the full wasn’t a great start. Off the midfield scrum View capitalised on their opponent’s error. Captain, #13 Terry, received a cut -out ball from #10 Lenehan, worked his way through the defensive line, and drew and passed to #11 Pirina who went in to score. Conversion missed again, View up 10-0.
Kings finally seemed to be finding some rhythm. Good consistent play led to several runs over the advantage line and some front-foot ball as a result. #15 Osborne and #4 Nick Brown were leading this charge. An infringement by View right in front of the sticks led to Kings’ first points, 10-3 to Riverview.
Tempers appeared to be boiling in this top of the clash as the ref had to break up a few little blow-ups. The defence that had put Kings in so many good positions so far this competition was beginning to show, thwarting all of View’s attempts to penetrate their line for a third time.
A busting run up the middle by Kings captain #12 Orpen was made the most of by fullback Osborne who picked and went off the ruck and was untouched for a forty-metre try. It was converted and the game was tied up: 10-10.
As the half was coming to an end View desperately wanted to go into oranges with the lead. Kings seemed to lose their concentration as #12 Easy for View simply drew the defenders and passed to a wide-open Smeallie who went in for his second try of the game under the sticks.
Half-time score: Riverview 17 – Kings 10.
A back and forth affair was the theme in the opening periods of the second half, with Kings coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but poor discipline being their biggest enemy, as well as a solid defensive structure from View. However they were the first to strike—with a penalty goal to #9 Kyle Brown. The score was now 17-13.
The arm-wrestle continued as the half wore on, with no team looking in complete control at any time. #13 Millar and #8 Pietsch were King’s best in the second, forming a nice trio with fullback Osborne who’s left boot was pinning View in their half. For View, fullback #15 Fahey and #5 Silk were leading.
However, Riverview seemed were ascendant when #3 Cutler barged over for Riverview’s fourth try of the match. Lenehan’s conversion was successful, and the boys in blue and white extended their lead to eleven: 24-13 with five minutes to play.
Riverview had allowed only one try and they wanted to keep it that way. Outstanding defence from the second row of Peterson and Silk were keeping Kings at bay.
As the siren sounded, both the Riverview crowd and the players portrayed how much this win meant.
Final score: Riverview 24 – Kings 13.
3 points – Ollie Smeallie #14 – his quickness and agility out wide has been evident the entire season, and none more so then this game. Potential GPS leading try scorer with six rounds to play.
2 points – Will Terry #13– very elusive and always seems to get the better of his defender.
1 point – Jake Pirina #11– defence was impeccable and some great runs down the sideline
3 points – Luke Osborne #15 – his height and speed is difficult to handle, as well as his kicking game.
2 points – Nick Brown #4 – good solid ball running and defence.
1 point – Kyle Brown – goal kicking kept them in the game and his passes were on point for the majority.
Third XV Competition
It was a tale of two extremes in Round 3 of the 3rd XV competition, which produced two blow outs and two extremely close affairs.
Grammar v Shore After a stellar performance against High in Round 2, Shore were up for a rude awakening in their matchup against a well-drilled Grammar side at Weigall. Grammar played with excellent structure, with tries coming off confident phase play and a strong rolling maul. Some individual brilliance by SGS #15 Sam Isherwood-Critchley saw him returning a clearance from his own half, busting through 6 tackles to score a long range try.
Final score: Grammar 31-0
Joeys v High – Joeys looked to avenge their heart-wrenching loss to Scots with a clinical performance in front of their home crowd. Joeys drew first blood, with loose High ball resulting in a simple put down for standout fullback Kobi Ned.
Joeys continued to choke High of possession and dominated all facets of play in the 2nd half, putting on 31 unanswered points. #11 Jacob Patmore ran hard on the right flank all game, putting three tries next two his name in the blowout 2nd half.
Final Score: Joeys 45-0
Armidale v Scots – The visitors came within 2 points of upsetting Armidale at home for the first time this year. Down 12-10 deep into the second half, a shot at goal enabled the TAS boys to sneak away with another close win.
Final Score: 13-12
Newington v Kings – New are yet to see a try in either of their two fixtures in 2016, coming down to a solitary Kings penalty goal.
Final Score: Armidale 3-0
Photos of Joeys v High 3rd XV by Lee Grant