A windy afternoon at the Knox Old Boy home ground, Lofberg oval hosting Beecroft. Traditional bagpipes playing in the back ground set the scene for a great afternoon of footy. The pitch was exceptionally dry and rock hard, which created a real problem with dust when the two teams clashed in the central area.
The game started at a pace which only one side was going to be able to maintain throughout the rest of the game. The outside centre Pino Mulipolafor Knox managed to quickly establish a hole in the Beecroft defence, diving through for a try under the posts.
The boys from Beecroft were able to fight back momentarily, pushing up field and scoring a penalty goal, the Knox forwards being penalised for ruck infringements.
Early stages of the game were not indicative of the pending thrashing, both teams showing considerable intensity in their performance. Beecroft were able to hold back the Knox sides pummelling attack, strong running shown by their number 8 and inside centre (12).
Moments of brilliance followed, the Beecroft fly-half securing possession and hammering an amazing clearance kick from his own 22, up to the Knox 5 metre line. Although Knox secured possession, the young open-side flanker Phil Walker stripped the ball easily and a period of attacking phase-play followed in the Knox 22.
On clearing the ball from their danger-zone, the Old Boys seemed a bit shaken. Signs of anxiety from both teams were made clear by the first little fight, breaking out in the middle of the field. However, tension was broken and Knox’s heads brought back to ground when the inside centre Pino Mulipola managed to make another good break away, popping the ball off to his winger Owen Sedgebeer for another try.
After the restart, the Knobs attack didn’t slow, with a period of forward phase-play. However, the next three to four minutes were a daunting few minutes for the Knox team, frustration getting the better of them and penalties accumulating along with it.
The ball was given back to Beecroft after an offside call for ruck infringements. An abundance of penalties followed, allowing the Beecroft open-side flanker (7) and inside centre (12) to form good attacking play, but were held by a strong defence.
The Old Boy’s inside centre Tawhiri Walsh was sent off for a high tackle after a period of Beecroft attack, depicting the sides growing frustration of being disallowed the ball. The momentum was comparatively good for Beecroft as it allowed the outside backs (11,14,15) space and opportunity to form strong attacking attempts.
Both teams left the field at the half disgruntled but returned level-headed. The Beecroft coaches chat could be heard from the other side of the field and the negativity seemed to have shaken the team as they entered what was to become a heavy second half for them to handle.
The Knox team exposed Beecroft’s disgruntled nature early on, being able to push up the field for an early try to halfback, Mike Cross.
Shortly after, the inside centre for Knox Tawhiri Walsh was able also to bust over the line after relentless pressure to the Beecroft defence. The score was now 25-3 and Beecroft already looked deflated.
To be fair to the Beecroft force, they looked a unit strong enough to contend with the Knox side at the early stages, but when Knox had established dominance on the field as a unit, they became unstoppable.
Another try followed as the Knox blind-side flanker Mike Kline was able to burst through the Beecroft defensive line before popping the ball outside to Pino Mulipola who popped it back inside to the fullback Simon Hansen who concealed yet another try.
The Beecroft side started to noticeably deteriorate at this stage with passes being thrown to air and static offence exemplifying their game-play.
The Knox outside centre used the Beecroft laxity to intercept a drifting pass and run just under 70 metres for a try under the posts. 40-3 at this stage and a comeback was now well and truly lost for Beecroft.
The restart allowed Beecroft another surge of attack as an intercepted wonky pass gave them the ball back. Again, inside centre (12) and open-side flanker (7) were the only willing players to use their momentum, attempting to bust the line repetitively.
Messy return from both teams keeps play static, in the centre of the field, as both teams seemed to have given up.
Off one of many scrums, which were now becoming arduous for both forward packs, Knox was able to form another strong attack. Outside centre Pino Mulipola was able to break the defence again, passing the ball inside to winger Owen Sedgebeer who then popped outside himself to fly-half Hamish McGilvray for another well-negotiated try.
The score was now 54-3 and the game was now consisting of just the dying embers of fight from both sides.
The remnant minutes portrayed two very exhausted teams, Beecroft looking totally beaten. Beecroft were held in their own 22 for a long period, not being able to move anywhere although they claimed possession.
One final try was awarded to the Knox hooker Lloyd Gabriel as he intercepted a bad pass, the short run to the line meant a momentous victory to the Knox side.
61-3 was the engrained final score of an absolute burial of the Beecroft side. Throughout the game, a combination of Knox ability and Beecroft care-factor (lack there of) seemed the key factors in such a smashing.
Facebook photos are here.