Based on Knox Old Boys Rugby Football Club match day report with permission.
3.15pm Saturday 28th June 2014
Mid-winter away games are always difficult, and this week was more difficult than most for Campbelltown.
Campbelltown have been doing it tough this season with only one win on the sheet against Beecroft (17:14) and a few large losses to Colleagues (80:15), St Patrick’s (82:12) and Balmain (61:8). The last time Knox and Campbelltown met back in round 2 of the competition, Knox beat Campbelltown 34:12.
Campbelltown had won the 3rd grade match and Knox won the 2nd grade therefore both teams were looking for victory in the first grade clash.
Campbelltown kicked-off and worked phase ball for the first 10 minutes of the match, stretching the Knox OB’s defence and then attacking the gaps. The Knox defence held firm repeatedly hurling the attackers back.
The pressure eventually told with a misdirected pass being intercepted by Knox outside centre Pino Mulipola, who scooted away untouched for a 5 pointer under the posts, duly converted.
Knox proved the try was no fluke 5 minutes later when their defence switched to the offensive with tight, structured rugby and a well-deserved try to tight head Ezra Luxton.
Unfortunately, that’s when it all started to go wrong for Knox. Repeated infringements at the breakdown, ill-discipline at not heeding the referee’s instructions and failure to adjust practises accordingly, saw the penalty count blow out to 3-10 against them.
Territorial advantage, weight of possession and resultant pressure soon produced results for Campbelltown with a well-rehearsed and executed line out move securing a converted try. Two penalty goals to their tally saw them hit the lead after 30 minutes and an upset was in the offing.
Knox for their part finally started playing smarter and tighter. An inspired long pass from Hamish McGilvray hit Ezra Luxton, bang on his chest as he careered down the touch line, bumping off the 1st defender, spinning out of the 2nd’s tackle and dragging the 3rd and 4th across the try line with him for his second try of the day.
A fourth try to Knox just before half time stretched their lead to 22-13 at the break.
But no-one expected what happened in the second half.
Knox resumed where they had left off in the first half and soon the gates, were not so much opened, as repeatedly kicked in by any and all in the Knox OB’s team.
Tries of all varieties, 16 in total, were produced. Pick and drives delivered for the piggies, an outrageous chip and regather on the full for McGilvray, Phil Walker stole the ball in a tackle and sprinted 50 metres for another try.
Almost everyone feasted at the meat pie banquet. Though the defence was lacking, points were won by the backs’ speed and coordination and the forwards technical skills which were wanting for little.
There were 72 unanswered points in the second half and a final score 94-13
Campbelltown, obviously undermanned and out-gunned, remained gracious in defeat.
Knox face a much more difficult proposition next week playing defending Premiers Balmain away, having lost to them in a tight game 10-18 in the first round.