Knights end Albies season and look for revenge
WITH one side already in the bid dance, the Harbour Knights are hoping to get the grand final trifecta.
The Knights first-grade side won their minor semi-final against St Alberts College 38 – 24 to keep their season alive in the New England Rugby Union competition.
It was a high-scoring affair in front of their home fans at Rugby Park, with Josh Cockbain, Joel Cooper, Lloyd Simms, Buddy Hart, AJ Gilbert and Chris Watkins all crossing over for tries, and Watkins nailing four conversions.
The win sets up a tantalising preliminary final contest against the only side to beat them this season, the Tamworth Magpies, who lost their major semi-final to Walcha 42 – 17.
There hasn’t been much between the three sides all season, with Walcha and Knights playing out an unlikely 31-all draw when they met in round three.
Knights co-coach AJ Gilbert said the tough match against Albies, one of the fastest this season, was exactly what they were expecting but they would have to improve if they wanted to roll the Magpies.
“It was the hitout we needed, it was a proper semi-final game and they really took it to us,” Gilbert said.
“We got off to good start with two quick tries but let them back in the game with some ill- discipline.
“If we come out with the intensity we had against Albies and fix up a few errors and ill discipline, we can do well. We can’t give magpies that much time on the ball.”
Earlier in Walcha, the Knight’s second-grade side had continued their hot form to dismantle the Magpies 45 – 14, deservedly booking a spot in the grand final following a commanding season.
The seconds have not been beaten in eight games so far this season while racking up huge scores in the process. They will certainly gunning for a ninth to cap off what could only be considered a perfect season.
The Knights third-grade side went down 30 – 12 against the Magpies in their major semi-final but will get another roll of the dice with against the Armidale Blues next week.
“Hopefully we can get all three sides into the big dance,” Gilbert said.
The Magpies have been the form side in third grade and they too have made it through to the grand final unbeaten.
All the preliminary finals matches will be played at Alcatraz, the home of the Barbarians Rugby club in Armidale.