Newington College v Brisbane Grammar

Game 2 – July 3, 2012

The stage has been set, this is the game that Mr Burgess has primed the boys for. The standard of the first game set a high benchmark and both teams are going through their warmups with a match like intensity.

The referee blows time on at 11:29 AM. BGS take an initial stranglehold of the ball and set up camp in the NC defensive third. Some imaginatively play saw the ball go across the box and with an excellent read Thomas Greeley turned defence into attack, running the ball through the midfield to set up a series of shots on goal. The BGS defenders held and the scoreline remains 0-0. What a start, we are in for a cracker!

An excellent and well timed pass puts James Mehmet into space down the left flank and brilliantly he worked the ball around the defender then cut a well weighted passed back to the edge of the box for Seung Woo to slot into the right side of the net, NC 1-0 (11:39AM)

BGS have not taken a step backward, the goal has spurred them into greater activity with renewed emphasis on building through the midfield, they are pressing the NC defenders and cracks are appearing. A lazy tackle sees a freekick to BGS 30 yards out and after the restart a well timed header just floats over the top of Ryan’s glove and thankfully the post as well.

The game is entering a new stanza and it is now opening up and the intensity is on the increase. The play is mostly with BGS but the NC boys are turning every opportunity into counter attack. NC are turning broken play into their advantage by occupying the the midfield and holding the ball. BGS are forcing themselves back into the game through their strength and putting an aggressive spin by making every tackle mean something. Many free kicks have been given in these 5 min to both sides, no one is giving an inch.

An excellent combination between Stephen and Seung Woo had Seung Woo spinning around the ball and shooting from an impossible position, unfortunately wide to the left. NC’s play in this period has been more attacking and Mr Di-Losa opts to make the the first BGS interchange. More dominate play from the Black & Whites is seeing more of the play in the middle to attacking third for the NC boys. NC seem to be gaining in confidence.

A free kick from aggressive play by James sees the game pause and regroup but the game slips back into the fast and furious gear. Some miss timed defending sees a BGS player pick up the first yellow of the tournament (12:03PM). The referee takes control back, and I should point out here that the officiating in the first two games has been top class.

With 5 min to half time the game is slowing down and the boys on both teams seem to be working on impressing the coaching staff by stringing passes together and working the ball through the midfield and taking advantage of the space out wide. A freekick to Newington gives the game a chance to take another breath. BGS are relentless and another foray sees a BGS player play through beating 3 NC boys only to have his shot fired high over the bar. What a great build up and what tenacity by the BGS player. A well timed chip only moments later puts BGS in behind Eric and the resulting one on one is fired to the right of Ryan, 1-1 (12:08PM) and it’s game on! Play recommences and BGS quickly push the ball forward to maximise their ascendency in the remaining minute but the referee blows half time at 12:10PM with the scores locked at 1-1.

Mr Burgess gets the boys together with Mr Dene and they are hanging on every pearl of wisdom. Looking over to the BGS, they are the same, both teams are looking for that 1 per-center that may be the difference. The game is living up to the pre-match hype and the crowd is soaking it up.

The second half starts with the same intensity. BGS make an early interchange and the struggle continues. This is a slugfest! Another freekick alleviates the tension only to rebuild after the kick is taken. No one is taking a step backward here and both teams are playing with much pride and a desire to wrestle it away from the current 1-1 scoreline. BGS snap up a loose pass outside the box and the resulting right foot drive goes low and wide of the outstretched gloves of Ryan, 2-1 to BGS (12:30PM). BGS are making the most of the talk on the pitch with calls of “heads on” and “c’mon, we wanna win this cup” being heard from the sideline.

More entertaining plays ensues, with both teams looking to exploit any perceived weakness. Liam pushed a well placed ball to George only to have the 2 defenders work the ball away from him. More imaginative play from NC  has the ball camped in the BGS half with the boys from Brisbane soaking up the pressure with the one goal advantage. Much pressure sees Stephen smash a ball into the back of the net only to be called offside to the relief of the BGS boys.

This has amped the NC boys and the next three passes prove crucial as Stephen repeats his last successful back of the net shot and this time the assistants flag staying down 2-2 (12:46PM). With the ascendency going with the black and white, quick thinking from Ryan puts the ball back into play and with the BGS boys pushing aggressively forward opens up a defensive gap. The BGS keeper is forced to come out early and Stephen takes full advantage by chipping him 40m out 3-2 (12:49PM). The NC boys have pulled the scoreline back in their favour and their relief is obvious. The call from the bench is that there is still ten minutes to play. The talk on the pitch is all Newington now and BGS seem shell-shocked with the scoreline turning around in quick succession. Instruction from the BGS bench is providing a steady hand and the boys from Brisbane now have a job to do. The BGS boys are very focused but a free kick to Newington helps settle play but the BGS boys continue to push forward. Two defenders are all they can afford at this point and BGS are again applying a pressure that is hard to rebutt. With the defenders up the Newington boys counterpunch with a long ball down the left flank and the resulting cross has the BGS keeper have to pull off the save of the day, a single handed horizontal dive to deny the two waiting Newington boys the opportunity to go two up. Quick play has BGS back in attack and a perfectly weighted cross is headed forcibly straight into the hands of a relieved Ryan.

Full time is blown at 12:59PM with a well fought 3-2 win to the boys from Sydney. What a game!, both teams gave it their all and left nothing in the tank.

Lets hope the state of origin goes the same way tomorrow night, go the blues!

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