Bright future for Knights
In a promising sign for the future, the Kiama Junior Knights had two teams take part in the South Coast Group 7 Rugby League Mod Grand Finals which were played at Ulladulla on Saturday in windy and cold conditions.
First up were the Knights’ Under 11-1s who defeated Albion Park Oak Flats 18-6 in a thrilling performance.
According to co-Coach, Ben Wilson: “It was a great game and the perfect way to finish a big season!”
“We knew Albion Park would be keen to make up for their loss in the semis final, so we needed a strong start. In fact, our first ten minutes of the game was exceptional – we re-gathered from the kick off and this gave us the ideal start. We just led with our defence and we were able to cross for two tries through Reilly Caswell which were converted by Kai Wilson and Marley McLaren. Going into the half-time break ahead 12-nil we felt strong but knew we couldn’t drop off,” said Ben.
“Unfortunately we didn’t start off the second half well – we didn’t complete a set. But watching the boys defend the line for six minutes straight was probably one of the highlight of the year for Shane and I as we watched their determination and desire to play for each other just get stronger by the minute.
“It was a true team performance with our forwards making strong metres and defending well all game, whilst the speed and quick hands in the backs gave us the width and line breaks we needed,” he added.
“Our final try came through sheer determination by Marley who was later awarded ‘Man of the Match’. It was the finish we had wanted and that we had trained all year for.
“At the beginning of the year we set a simple goal of going one better than last year where we finished in third place. By making the grand final we achieved that but we won the game simply it because our boys wanted it more!
“Albion Park has certainly been the benchmark for the past three years – they have some very talented players, a great coach and support staff,” said Ben.
“Shane and I are extremely proud of all our boys – the way they played and the respect they showed all year on and off the field was fantastic.
“Thank you to our team manager Marnie Wilson, our First Aid Officer, Jodie Russell and LeagueSafe Brendan and Tom Russell – they have held this team together all year, as has the support from all of the parents,” said Ben.
The Knights’ Under 12s Red League Tag team then took on Stringrays Green in the season decider.
After earlier claiming the minor premiership and beating the Stingrays 12-6 in the major semis final, the Knights were able to enjoy a week off, going straight into the Grand Final.
According to Coach, Cindy Brookfield, “The girls had prepared well but the westerly winds reaching 90 km/h weren’t part of our game plan – we like to move the ball around using the moves we practiced throughout the season in games and at training.”
“Unfortunately, we lost the toss and had to run into the wind in the first half. We didn’t get off to a strong start, and despite working extra hard we found ourselves down 12-0 at half time,” said Cindy.
“With a quick pep talk, the girls came out firing in the second half. They were confident in their own abilities and knew they could close the gap. Our first receiver and Captain Jorja Correia-Kauter linked up with Keely Beasley who used her speed to score in the corner to take it to 12-4.
“From there the Stingray’s picked up their defence and were able to shut down numerous attacking raids from our girls. Our team gave it our all but we went down 12 – 4.”
“We are just so impressed with how well all the girls had played throughout the season. They should all be really proud of their efforts. We are a young side so to win the minor premiership in itself is a fantastic achievement!”
“A big thanks to Lachlan Payne, Benny Brookfield and Lisa Wallace, as well as all the parents for their support throughout the season,” said Cindy.
To mark the end of another successful season, the Kiama Junior Knights will hold a presentation day for the minis teams (Under 6s to Under 9s) on Sunday 26 August at 10am at Chittick Oval. The will be some fun games, presentation of trophies and BBQ.
Meanwhile, the end of year presentation day for the Mods and International teams (Under 10s to Under 12s league teams, and Under 12s to Under 16s Girls League Tag teams) will be held on Sunday 23 September at the Kiama Leagues Club from 3pm. It will include the presentation of awards for each team.