The force, which is Knox Old Boys Rugby Union Football Club, made hard work of matching up with a much more organised and tight unit this afternoon on Lofberg Oval.
The Mosman Whales have a long-forged history of rugby strength but have found themselves in the middle of the table for the Kentwell Cup, alongside the Knox team. That meant this was an important game for both sides.
Play started with vigour as Knox showed the away team that a win wasn’t going to come easily. However, their choice to kick for penalty so early on in the game and missing two consecutive penalties seemed to be indicative of a side whose only aim was to not concede too much of a loss.
Mosman clicked with the realisation that they had let a weaker team do some damage. Reorganising allowed for a well-earned break away and try to Hooker, (2) bringing the score to 7-3.
Textbook tackling and ruck-work allowed for a constant flow of ball in favour of Mosman. Knox looked dangerous; however the ball was stripped from a ruck by Mosman who began slow, grinding, phase play.
Formulaic and organised attack defined the Mosman strategy as a lead became more and more exaggerated by their dominance on the field.
The Referee’s attention to detail meant the game was fragmented at the beginning, with a lot of stopped play for penalties, etc.
Mosman’s inside centre (12) coordinated his backline sublimely, making some crushing hits and turning the ball over. He also scored the next try in the left corner, after an age of back and forth in the centre between the two teams.
The Whales had found what appeared to be a weakness and exploited it, returning after the kick-off to attack the same left corner. Similar grinding play led to another try, scored by fullback, (15).
Returning yet again with grinding play that was slowly deteriorating the Knobs side, Mosman returned to the Knox 22 in a matter of seconds after the kick off.
A scrum 5 metres out was annihilated by a now charging Mosman forward pack, pushing the mass of players over the line for a try to halfback, (9).
Regardless of impeccable ball retention exhibited by the Mosman team, a penalty for repeated ruck infringements against them allowed for Knox to have some possession for the first half. Just enough possession for their star combination of winger and centres’, (11, 12, 13) to work cohesively, slamming up the field.
(12) snuck in for a very soft try in the corner right before half time, proving that they were still in the game.
24-8 was the score at half time.
The Halftime chat from the coach appeared to have paid off for the Knox team, as a new sense of urgency seemed to emanate from them early on in the second half.
Massive attacking play from Knox was driven by runs from second rower (21), winger (14) and flanker (6). However, the Mosman defence was proving to be a non-negotiable wall. The Knobs were held five to 10 metres out of the Mosman try line for a solid 4-5 minutes before the Mosman inside centre (12) managed to intercept a stray pass and break away 50 metres before giving off to winger (14) who in turn offloaded to flyhalf (10).
Stopped just out from the try line, Mosman collected themselves, reset play and very casually walked in for another try in the left corner to (12).
The Knobs stayed insistent on the Mosman side, forming frustration at points between the two sides depicted through a flying fist thrown by prop (3 mosman).
Mosman were left with a penalty soon after the momentary disagreement, allowing them to slot a further, humiliating 3 points.
The score was now 34-8 and Knox was looking dead and buried.
Further disagreements occurred, more and more team members getting involved in the scuffles, as the game appeared to fall out of the Knobs reach.
After an age of static play, Mosman managed to score yet another try, winger (11) diving over in the corner.
With less than 5 minutes to go and a scoreline of 42-8, it was no surprise to see Mosmans’ intensity drop off the radar. Knox used this window to capitalise, a well-deserved try to (6) off a beautifully timed inside run.
The final score was 42-13, a surprising victory over a team which has been proving consistently strong throughout the season.