Semi Final Match Report: KOBs vs Forest

I have waited a long time for this opportunity.

Finally I can cast aside the other meaningless games I am forced to write about each week, and focus on the only thing that has ever mattered- 4th grade. For last Saturday they played their first game of the finals, playing the elimination semi against Forest.

It was the classic underdog story. Forest had made the finals in nearly all grades, while poor old KOBs had to battle just to get one spot. We were crippled by a combination of injuries and homesick Kiwis, which saw us down to our last legs, and have to send an SOS call to a couple of heroic youngsters- the Pondmonster and Dragonball Z.

At one point I wondered if we would even get to Saturday. It was dark, my friends. The game was almost over before it had even started, and just making it to kick-off was an achievement. Coaches Con and Allan played all the tricks learnt with their combined 316 years of rugby experience, and somehow we managed to get there.

So the scene was set. Kings vs Forest. David vs Goliath. Homer Simpson vs Dredrick Tatem. Average Joes vs Globo Gym. Happy Gilmore vs Shooter McGavin. Erin Brockovich vs Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

And so the game began, and instantly we were on the front foot. The forwards were doing good work in the tight, while the prodigious boot of Kyle James was pinning the gigantic Forest side down in their own quarter. Soon the break came, from the golden boy himself- Monty Loughlin. The ball went wide through the backs, and Monty was knocked over by a Forest defender. But wait! Monty recovers, and has a clear run to the line! He runs 25m and scores! The crowd can’t believe it, and neither can his older brother Kyle, who was reduced to a spectator at fullback. At that point he knew his position as the #1 Loughlin at the club was under serious threat.

Kyle converted beautifully and Kings has opened up a 7-0 lead against all the odds. Surely they couldn’t do the unthinkable?

But Forest weren’t down for long. They forced a penalty and were soon attacking our line. But the Kings defence stayed solid. At one point they looked like they were over, but the day was saved by a diving Monty Loughlin. But our injury woes continued, as Monty came up nursing what appeared to be a broken arm. What happened on the bottom of that ruck? Was this injury inflicted by the jilted older brother, who was desperate to maintain his position at the head of the family? These details are still unclear. Either way Monty was out, which meant the entry of ‘Dragonball’ Zenon Kosmider on the sting.

After repelling wave after wave of Forest attack, we finally got a bit of field position thanks to some stellar work on the counter from Gus ‘Big Red’ Rutherford who was having a whale of a game. On the stroke of half time we won a penalty to the left of the uprights, which superboot James duly slotted to send us to the break with a 10-0 lead.

The cheers from the sideline were deafening. The fine line-up of wives and girlfriends has been described by observers as ‘the best looking sideline in Subbies’, and I wouldn’t disagree. It has been known to distract opposition players as they take the field, and had clearly affected the Forest boys on Saturday. They certainly don’t build them like that in Forestville.

But enough about the supporters. The game had kicked off again, and once again Kings were in the drivers seat. The forwards were pounding the Forest defence like waves against the shoreline, and the boys from north of the Bridge couldn’t handle it. Kyle slotted yet another penalty and we were up 13-0, with the wind in our sails.

Forest refused to die, though. They weren’t prepared to slink back home without points, so threw everything they had at our line. Minute after minute, wave after wave, hit after hit. We defended valiantly, led by Nick Novak who had come back from South America with some serious fire in his belly (I wish I could say the same for Ed Love, but once again he contributed very little). Henry Collins, Benny Boulos, Noodles and Dave were all putting on the big hits, and somehow we held them out. But the job wasn’t done yet.

We worked the ball into midfield, and the scene was set- options to the left and right, Derek Macartney darted right, beat two defenders and threw a beautiful ball to the Joburg Jackhammer himself, Mark Rudman. Rudman had three blokes outside him, and only the fullback to beat. A lesser man would have completely lost his nerve in this instance, and looked for the safety of the touchline. Not Rudman. He looked right, and passed… no! it was one of the most brilliant dummies ever seen, and the Forest fullback was done like a dinner. Rudman under the posts, and KOBs up 20-0. Game. Over.

The full-time whistle was blown soonafter, and the 15,000 strong crowd went bananas. The Forest players were shellshocked, they had never seen this coming. When he was told the news, Monty got up from his wheelchair and ran to the window, despite doctors informing him just five minutes before that he would never be able to walk again.

It was a true team effort, one that will be spoken of for many years to come. Ravin was everywhere. The back three were brilliant- Stoko, Kyle and Gus putting in an error-free effort. Henry Collins came from nowhere to play a starring role. Brendon Boulos was a colossus. Dave Smith was… Dave Smith. The waterboy managed to keep the team hydrated and courageously avoided sanction for continued heckling of the officials.

The result sent shockwaves around the ground. One Petersham colt was so overcome by the news he lost it completely- and punched a touch judge in the head. We all react to these things in different ways, I suppose. But the fact remains that KOBs 4th grade march on to the 2nd week of the finals.

This Saturday we are playing Barker at Macquarie Uni. We need all the help we can get, so if you can get to training on Tuesday and Thursday to assist us that would be great- big thanks to Justin Gow and Josh Moule for doing just that last week.

Also if you haven’t voted in the 2013 awards, please do it now! The voting can be found at:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5JBVKTS