The GPS season was to be decided on a hot spring day. Two teams had not been beaten in the previous nine rounds, except once to each other. If they won on the final day, and the other team lost, they would win the premiership outright.
Scots 43 — Joeys 18
Scots was one of those two teams that had to win, and they would not take Joeys lightly. The boys from Hunters Hill had them on the rack in their first meeting this season and Scots were lucky to get the winning lead just before the end.
Joeys had had a poor season, but if they won at Bellevue Hill they would achieve something for them to remember for a long time.
It was close in the first quarter with only a penalty goal to the visitors to interest the scorers, but after Joeys got a lad sent to the bin, Scots’ 15. Andrew Kellaway went on one of his signature runs, from his own 22. He broke four tackles and got nailed by the fellow who missed the first one—but not before Kellaway backhanded a pass to his supports.
They took the ball up to near the corner post, sucked in defenders then dished the ball out wide to hooker Jamaine Crossley who was lurking on the other side of the field. Try!! After Kellaway slotted the wide conversion Scot’s led 7-3 at 19 minutes. It was the precursor of much that was to follow.
After 3. Will Ridley charged forward with the ball for Scots, it was moved to 13. Guy Porter who made a big gain then drew the fullback and passed to 14. Christian Yassmin who scored. When Kellaway converted Scots were ahead 14-3 with nine minutes to go in the half.
But five minutes later 7. Nick Pennisi of Joeys picked up the ball in traffic with not much on. Defenders over-read the situation and the flanker blitzed the Scots’ defence by runining straight ahead, to score. After the conversion, and penalty goals to both teams, the half-time score was Scots 17 – Joeys 13.
Second half — Not long after oranges Scots’ lock Nick Kellaway nearly took a bouncing ball to score, but knocked on. When Joeys couldn’t clear they turned the ball over and Porter of Scots kicked through for Andrew Kellaway to win the race to dot the ball down. Scots 24-13.
Scots were looking the more dangerous team but Joeys would not go away. Five minutes later 8. Koim Wingti scored in the corner after a lineout drive. Scots were still ahead but only by 24-18.
Soon afterwards Joeys got two good chances in five minutes. 11. Luke Ryan raced down touch heading for the corner but Yassmin had the angle and took him into touch, just in time. Then with the score still 24-18 with 16 minutes to go, Joeys got the ball from a Scots’ scrum and charged for the line, but the ball was dropped on the chalk.
Those were turning points. It was all Scots after that and they put on three tries before the final whistle.
First Andrew Kellaway sent the ball wide from near his own line, and 11. Matt Crafts ran most of the length of the field, and past the cheering Scots’ lads in the crowd. He avoided a flying tackler then stepped inside another before he passed the ball to 9. Mitchell Short, who scored. It was a spectacular effort from Scots. Ten minutes remained and they led 31-18.
Then Short caught Joeys napping and tap-kicked a penalty sending Porter over. Finally Andrew Kellaway launched his last run for his school when he got the ball well in his own half, saw a broken field, and ran between the winger and the fullback for one of his many tries at Belleview Hill. Final score 43-18.
Scots were always the more likely to win. Their backs had the individuals and the combinations to put on long range tries which Joeys had no answer to, and they finished the game stronger.
Joeys played better than in the last few weeks and got to within six points a couple of times, but once again they were savaged in the last quarter of the game. They could not defend as well as they did against Scots in their first meeting this season, and they did not have the X-factor that Scots had on attack.
Although the forwards were fairly well-matched otherwise, they did not dominate as many tackles as Scots did; nor did they bend the line with ball in hand as much. The absence of their injured skipper, Matt Sandell, was noticeable in both these factors.
Scots — 3. Andrew Kellaway, 2. Guy Porter, 1. Will Ridley.
Fullback Kellaway was like a force of nature as he has been in so many games for Scots, GPS and NSW this year. Every time he got the ball a try seemed likely—either for himself or a team mate. His early read of defensive frailties and his change of pace through gaps, that defenders were not aware were gaps, ripped Joeys apart many times, and not just in the scoring moves mentioned.
And the nuggety fullback was hard to bring down. He was scarcely less dangerous after a tackler contacted him than before it, because he drove with his legs when reached, and was so adept at bumping off opponents or otherwise manhandling them. If he was stopped, his offloading could continue the attack almost unchecked.
Centre Porter had a strong game, taking all the right options and executing them well—and THP Ridley was an enforcer in the tight situations and not bad on the run either.
Honourable mentions to lock Toby Rudolf and dynamo 7. Hamish Dunbar.
Joeys — 3. Koim Wingti, 2. Patrick O’Brien, 1. Luke Ryan.
Usually a lock, Wingti showed his versatility in the 8 jersey, and 6. O’Brien, who has played in all the backrow positions this year, put in another sterling performance. These two and the injured Sandell, have been the backbone of the forwards this year.
Winger Ryan had trouble on defence, as the other backs did, but he was one of the few to make his mark with ball in hand.
The Wrap up
Congratulations to Scots for being Joint Champions of the 1st XV competition and for finishing their season in such sparkling form that even some visiting Joeys’ fans were nodding their heads in appreciation.
Commiserations to Joeys who had one of their poorest results in the 1st XV competition for many years, but congratulations to them for having the best win ratio in all grades of the GPS—and by some margin too.
It was a pleasure to watch Mr. James Scholtens, an experienced First Grade referee, in action in the GPS this year.
Scots v. Joeys was the fourth time I saw him refereeing in the GPS 1st XV Competition in 2013, and one hopes that he and other referees of his standing will be blowing their whistle in the 2014 GPS.
Scots — 43
Tries: Andrew Kellaway (2), Jamaine Crossley, Christian Yassmin, Guy Porter, Mitchell Short.
Conversions: A. Kellaway (5).
Penalty Goal: A. Kellaway
Joeys — 18
Tries: Nick Pennisi, Koim Wingti
Conversion: Andrew Deegan
Penalty Goals: Deegan (2)
Click on arrow for match report of Newington v. Shore by “George Smith” on Page 2