Final Round Match Report: KOBs vs Briars

KOBs finished the season on a high defeating Briars in Colts, 4s, 3s and 1s, and scoring a solid draw in 2s.

OK so it’s been a while since I have done one of these, so you will have to bear with me. The second half of the season has flown by, with all teams digging deep to record good results when the club needed it. As a result the club has stayed in Div 2, with 300 points to spare. Although it could have been easier if the committee had only listened to my plan to get ahead at the back end of the season*.

Which brings me to Saturday. Islander Day, and what a day it was too. The success of the day (and of the season as a whole) was once again due to 4th grade, who turned in a stellar performance at the start of the day to win 17-3. KOBs were fired up for Sarge’s last game. Briars came out firing, keen to save their season. They were big, strong and physical, and got the better of the first half to lead 3-0 at the break. But the second half was a different story, and KOBs registered the first try of the game through Tim Miller after a great kick chase. A penalty goal soon after saw the lead extend to 10-3, but Briars were not done with. They threw everything they had at us, and only valiant defence in tight could stop them. But stop them we did, and Richie Croft put the icing on the cake in the final minute, blitzing down the touchline to score in Kobbies corner and bring the 18,000-strong crowd to their feet. Benny Russell bagged 3 points for a great game, with Tim Miller getting 2 and an unnamed second rower 1.

It was a great end to a good season, and a fantastic way to send off Sarge. The man is a club legend, plain and simple. We will be poorer without him next year. His legacy will live on at KOBs though, as Toby Buchanan has pledged to name his first born son or daughter “Sargio”. Good on you Toby.

Thirds were up next, and jeez this was a game. 1st vs 3rd, a play-off for a spot in the major semi. It was a physical game, with both teams playing as if their season depended on it. KOBs got the better of the opening stanza, with an early try taking the score to 7-0. I can’t remember who scored it, don’t think that information is really important. Our backline looked slick, and our forwards were polished. After half time the equation got even harder for Briars when Ravin pounced on a spilled ball to score, taking it to 12-0. We looked home and hosed, but Briars wouldn’t lie down, and scored a good try to peg the margin back to just five. After a nervy final few minutes, KOBs secured victory and 2nd place on the ladder. They face Petersham this weekend in a game that promises to be one of the greatest sporting events in the existence of humanity. But more about that later. Nick Novak took 3 well-deserved points for a grafting game in tight, with Kyle and Dave also getting on the sheet.

Whilst it seemed our place in Division 2 was assured, Colts still needed a win to end their season on a high. After struggling for the last few weeks, it looked to be all coming together in the early period. Sam Renzag was hitting rucks like a freight train, Luke Rowntree was cutting up defensive lines, and Gibbo’s kicking game was looking good. Each and every player busted their gut, and KOBs came away with an impressive 22-17 victory. Special mention to a few guys who have turned up and put in big efforts almost every week for Colts- Matty Walters, Dave Tang, Sejon Im, Spruce, and a few others who I am sure I have forgotten. Great effort boys, and things look bright for 2013.

Which brings me to Seconds, who like Colts were desperate to finish their season on a high note. And like Colts, they found themselves locked in a tight game against a similarly desperate opponent. It was tight all game, with KOBs up 7-5 at the break. However the second half turned into a free-flowing beauty of a game, with KOBs scoring a couple of the best tries you are ever likely to see. Firstly Heff threw a sublime behind-the-back pass to Coatesy to score in the corner. Then that was somehow topped when Noodles pulled off what can only be described as one of the plays of the season.

Alberto had taken a hitup in the centre of the ground, on about halfway. He stood in the tackle, and handed the ball off to Noodles. At that point the Briars defence parted like the Red Sea (a very apt analogy) and all of a sudden Noodles was clear with only the fullback to beat. At this point he had many options- step, in-and-away, dummy kick, goose-step- all of which would have beaten the defender and given him the try. But in the corner of his eye he saw Brendan Davis, who had been busting his arse all game. So Noodles did the right thing, and laid on a perfectly weighted chip kick for Brendan, who showed Usain Bolt-like speed to overhaul their centre and win the race to the ball. After jumping in a lineout in 4s, and putting in a chip-kick in 2s (a successful one at that), Noodles has been banished from the front rowers union. But it was still a top try.

Sadly KOBs couldn’t quite get the biscuits though, and the end result was a 17-17 draw. It could have been much worse for KOBs though, as Briars had a chance to win it on the bell, only to be saved by a courageous tackle close to the line by an unidentified defender, who I assumed was Boggy. So all in all it was an OK result. Brendan Davis, Coatesy, Richie Croft and Anstey all had great games.

1sts were up next. Frankly I am getting a little sick of writing this, so will keep it brief. We won 27-15. We scored some top tries, in particularly three superb individual efforts by Simon Wotton, Fordy and Luke Harris. It was a great way to cap off an up-and-down season. Deano was happy. Briars were sad. Kava was consumed. Grass skirts were worn. It was a good day.

I spoke to a downcast coach Deane after the game, for old time’s sake. About to head off to the UK and with an uncertain future, this may well have been his last game at the helm of KOBs for some time. He looked at me as the tears started to well in his eyes, and said the following-

“This club means so much to me. I love everyone who has ever played for it, and everyone who has ever thought about playing. I plan on taking a kilogram of Kingdome soil with me to London- I know it’s illegal but I’ll strap it to my thighs like the Bali 9, or swallow a couple of condoms full of it. Even if I am in the UK for season 2013, I am more than prepared to fly back every single weekend. I am KOBs. We are KOBs. KOBs will never die.”

With that he tore off into the bushland, and wasn’t seen again until Monday morning. Good on you Deano- you were a pretty average coach, and an even worse player, but nobody could fault your commitment.

So that is it for the season proper. However don’t think it is all over yet. 3rds are playing finals footy in their quest for the elusive Blunt Cup. They play at the UNSW grounds in Daceyville at 10:55 on Saturday. Get down there and support them, as they are in with a red hot chance of the title.

And if you haven’t done the KOB’s survey, please have a crack, it only takes a minute. Thanks to those who have already completed it, the responses will really help as we build towards 2013.



* For the record, the plan was entitled “Moule moles”. Specifically, it entailed the Moule brothers signing up to our rival clubs (using a range of disguises, fake moustaches etc.) then putting in a series of horrible on-field perfomances- dropping balls, tackling team-mates, mindlessly kicking the ball dead on the full when hot on attack, getting sent off for ref abuse. These clubs start losing games, club morale deteriorates and we are laughing. But apparently this wasn’t acceptable.