Preseason Wrap with Oscar Alcock

How good is park footy!

Taking to the playing surface for the first time in 10 long months in our first trials w did battle with Barker Old Boys and UNSW at Turramurra Memorial Field. It was a great day for the club, with many new faces blooded and some old ones as eager as ever to set us up for a successful season in 2020.

The Colties got us up and running and boy did they impress! They were too good for UNSW and got over the line against a physical Barker pack. There are lots of fresh young faces around the Colts side this year and they looked impressive in their first hitout together. Captain Robert Batchelor carried the ball with real intent and scrummed well. Jack Sharp was a workhorse in D, making a mountain of tackles. Sam Asher distributed nicely in the number 9 jersey and 4-year Colt veteran, Sam Schofield gave some lovely deft passes and had great game management. Big Zac Feuanati had an immense impact in his first hitout, with some bruising runs and great hits giving us a great platform to launch off. Ben Parsonage also looked very dangerous with the ball in hand and looks set to cross the tryline regularly again this year.
3rd and 4th Grade donned some old school black retro jerseys. It took some time for them to find their structure but once they did they managed to retain possession for a much longer period of time. Callum Williamson was immense and scored an incredible try from the opposition’s 10m line, busting 3 tackles and crashing over. Former Knobs legend Matt Olivier-Lovett’s talk of Callum being a “weapon” on the footy field was proven to be anything but hyperbole. It was great to see Willie Kuki Kuki back Ellee Kuki-Kelekolio. “The Gazelle” Josh O’Malley made his debut, as did poms Max Woolgar and Rory Callow. Miguel Lau had some nice touches and a great finish to crash over for his first try in the black, blue and white. Kiwi Mark Murray was everywhere, running some great lines and not missing in D, with a couple of bruising shots. It was also great to see Fraser Bursle getting stuck in with all the lads and enjoying his footy, finishing the 3s game with a monster hit, leading to a loud “chahoo” from the Knobs faithful. Colt Peter Sherlock was another great find for the club and he slotted in at 9 after starting the game on the sting. He gave some great service and didn’t shy away from contact!
2nd Grade had a good test as one of their hitouts was against UNSW’s 1st grade side. They held their own though and while they could have had some more intent in D and their attacking shape will take more time to mature, there were some great glimpses of what could be. Everything was a tad frantic in patches but their desire to up the tempo again and again eventually paid off with Argentinian recruit Tiago Carrizo Vega running away with a 40m solo try. Lachlan Scott was impressive and gave the “Scooby Doos” some go forward. Max Condi also had a solid debut with some great service at the back of the ruck. It was pleasing to see so many guys just out of Colts last year making up the whole of the 2s backline, with the only exception being club stalwart Ian Thompson. Despite having plentiful numbers in 3s, Thommo found a way to get some extra minutes in the earlier game.
1st Grade was led by Matt Woodcock, on his birthday! Matty steered the ship with great maturity and led from the front, with some bruising shots and his game management was excellent. Josh Horton hit some lovely holes and David Stenning scored two fabulous tries off grubber kicks put in behind the defensive line. While the club’s defensive line lacked some enthusiasm over the course of the day, Phoenix Goodman drew a line in the sand and delivered three bone shaking shots in a one minute passage of play. Simon Christopher and Mike Gridiron scrummed beautifully, and Andrew Shaw had a great debut. The Irishman trucked it up hard and was one of the most vocal voices on the pitch.
All in all it was a great day for the club and it was just so pleasing to be back to what we all love, playing footy with our mates!

Week two of trials saw us BACK TO THE BERG against the Blue Mountains.
The Colties won three tries to two in a physical encounter. Blue Mountains had a big pack which pressured our set piece. They outenthused us in the first half and the boys were a tad frantic at times but the superior fitness and skillset of our lads proved the difference. Daniel Middleman Garing was one of the best for the Colties, bringing a bit of mongrel in the second half to inspire the lads to raise the tempo. Louis Pratt got through plenty of work and delivered clean ball at the lineout when it hit his channel. Oscar White sadly went off with a MCL tear in his knee with a suspected ACL tear. We wish him all the best with his recovery.
The 3rd/4th Grade trial saw a Knobs squad down on numbers toil hard against two fresh lower grade sides of Mountain Men. The Blue Mountains ran away with the win four tries to nill but you can’t fault the intent of our lads. Finding consistency with combinations and continuity at training will help bring out the best in our lower graders. Peter Sherlock was again one of the best on ground. Peter played Colts and then ran straight onto the field for 3s. He is already shaping up as a future clubman and showed plenty of heart out on the field. The same can be said of Connor Olling, who got plenty of minutes under his belt. Locky Hebron scrummed his heart out and was impressive in D. Alasdair Whiskas Davey and Lachy Williams also played well.
2nd Grade went down 2 tries to 1. Sadly Blue Mountains scored at the death to take the win. You couldn’t fault the attitude of the boys in D but we struggled to maintain our shape in attack and recycle possession consistently. Matt Grattan was one of the 2s best and Jordan Hunter had another solid game. Big Hame had an unbelievable run, bumping three tackles and showed glimpses of what could be this year. 2s will be rearing to go this weekend.
1st Grade were all over the Mountain Men in the first half but ended up tying the game 19-19.

Liam Creeley had an impressive return to the pitch and Oliver Nutbeen returned to the field after missing last week, giving us some extra punch in attack. It was pleasing to see lots of players with boots on and itching to get on the field to play in our premier grade.
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