Round 4 Match Report: KOBs vs Balmain

This was the day that they were all waiting for. KOBs vs Balmain. The ultimate David and Goliath battle.

The visitors boasted multiple coaches for every side, former internationals (both 7s and 15s), and a well-drilled, battle-hardened group of players. They were coming to face the humble KOBs- a club that has three coaches across five grades, low-grade AFL strugglers and unemployed migrants marking said Balmain internationals, and seemingly only two pumped up rugby balls across the whole club. However they make up with it with sheer heart, and failing that some incredibly witty wordplay and name-based puns on the sidelines (just ask Brian Ross).

In the end Goliath won the day, with Balmain taking out 1s, 2s and colts. However the club can take a lot of heart from some strong results in lower grades, with 3s recording a solid 7-7 draw and 4s an after-the-buzzer 17-14 win that will surely be talked about for generations to come.

The day kicked off with the 4s, who were under the pump from the opening against a strong Balmain side. A try from the visitors was quickly matched by a try to captain OC, with Meggo adding another five pointer to go to the sheds with the score at 10-7 to the good guys. Once again Balmain had all the momentum early in the second half, and added another converted try with just minutes left to play.

At 14-10 it seemed all hope was lost, and on the last play KOBs were camped in their own half. A solitary tear trickled down the cheek of coach Kyle. But then out of nothing Meggo made a half-break, and threw a miracle offload to put Hozzo into space. With 50m to run and two defenders in front of him the signs still were not good. But then out of nowhere came Al Wong, KOBs answer to Usain Bolt, and it was curtains for Balmain. Hozzo gave it to Al and there was no stopping him. Try under the posts, game over. KOBs win in a thriller. It was great stuff from the 4s, who registered their first win and certainly not their last. Match points went to Hankin, Meggo and Yabba.

It seemed like the day could not get any better for KOBs. And it didn’t.

3s put forward yet another gutsy display to draw 7-7 in a brutal match. The game was a tight affair and played mostly between the 22s. It looked like KOBs were in the box seat after a second half try to coach Kyle after a brilliant backline move. There were runners going left, runners going right, and runners going backwards. It was a symphony of movement, and in the end Derek provided a lovely short ball for Kyle to break through. Charlie Crane converted from the sideline and KOBs were away. However Balmain hit back with just minutes left, with a runaway try to their winger. Both sides had shots to win it, but neither could convert, with a draw a fitting result. Derek, Ed Love, MacVicar and Charlie Crane bagged points.

Then came colts, who went down 19-7 to a big, well-drilled Balmain side. They showed glimpses of brilliance but in the end a few defensive lapses cost them. However the signs were good that come the business end of the season they can match it with the competition contenders. Luke Rowntree had yet another belter, with Wol and Sam bagging coaches points as well. The mood around colts is great and the wins will start flowing very soon.

2s was next up. And what a cliffhanger it was. It ebbed and flowed, with both teams looking the winner at various points of the game. Balmain fielded an undefeated 2nds, and were clearly nervous throughout the game in the face of a committed KOBs onslaught. In the end a few late penalties went against KOBs, and a few crucial bounces of the ball favoured the visitors, and they got home by the skin of their teeth, 39-0. Anstey had a huge game and was rightly rewarded with 3 points, with Mitch Harris and Brad also having good games. Plenty of work for the 2s guys to do with a big game coming up this week.

So then came 1st grade, with Balmain fielding a star-studded lineup and boasting an undefeated record. The first half was a tightly contested affair, with both sides holding the momentum at various points. A late try to Balmain gave them the lead at the break 13-9, with Aure slotting 3 penalties for KOBs. However the second half was a different story, with Balmain playing some good rugby on the back of a few KOBs errors. They ran away with it in the end, 36-9, though the game was closer than the scoreline suggested. Badman had yet another titanic game to bag 3 coaches points, with Toby and JMoule also having belters.

After the game I went searching for Ryan Cross, and found him quietly weeping in his car. I asked him what the problem was, and he replied “I’ve been called a lot of nasty names in my time as a footballer, but nothing so mean as Brian Ross. I kept saying to the boys- that’s not my name! It’s Ryan Cross! I understand they sound similar but they’re NOT. MY NAME ISN’T BRIAN ROSS” He stamped his foot on the ground, then broke down crying again.

I consoled him for the next ten minutes, then he composed himself and added, “No wonder I had a bad game, I just couldn’t focus. A couple of the old guys on the sideline- they wouldn’t stop. I just wanted to tell them to stop picking on me. They are nothing but nasty bullies! Luckily my dad was on the other side of the ground and he made me feel better. He said I was a great player. So take that!”

Interesting comments to say the least. I ended the interview by saying “Thanks for your time Brian”, and he punched me in the face.

The main event came later that night though, with the first (and surely not the last) KOBs regatta, pitting eight teams of five in the ultimate test of endurance and skill – the boat race. In the end it was the 3rd graders who took the trophy, with Ed’s Love Boat (Ed Love, Nick Novak, Ben Boulos, Kyle Loughlin and Dave Smith, coached by Brendon Boulos) defeating the Presidents V (Toby Buchanan, Josh Moule, Tim Gilmore, Hugh Cavill and Matt Martin) in a titanic grand final. The night also proved the younger players at the club have much to learn, with the Colties V and One Direction V (the gappies) both being well beaten in every round. The Hills Angels were similarly pathetic.

The festivities continued well into the night, and there will surely be some interesting stories to tell at Thursday training. All the more reason to get down there.

This Saturday we travel to UNSW, who are always a strong club across all grades. It is imperative you get down to training on Thursday, as this is a crucial game for every side. Get there.