The New York Knights have secured their fourth AMNRL Championships and second in a row by defeating the Connecticut Wildcats 60 to 40.
Heroics from the Wildcats Luke Baron were not enough to overcome a Knights team intent on defending their 2011 title. Baron scored a hat-trick of tries and was unlucky not to get man of the match, only that the Knights Andrew Moody was also in a try scoring mood and got a hat-trick himself. The first half of the match was a very scrappy affair, both teams took nearly the full 40 minutes to get into a rhythm and overcome nerves.
The Wildcats were the first to draw blood in the 5th minute off a penalty against the Knights. It took another 10 minutes for the Knights to be able to hit back through Andrew Moody’s first try. Two more tries after quick succession to the Knights saw them take a strong lead with momentum swinging their way.
However, some strong running up through the middle saw the Wildcats start to wear down the Knights defence and Luke Baron ran in the first of a three tries before the break. Ian Taylor and Mike Goward were quick to run in as well and in the last 10 minutes of the first half it was clear that the momentum had shifted back to the Wildcats. Conversions from Matt Walsh saw the Connecticut team look to have a strong lead going into the half.
But right on half time New York hit back through Justin Ripley, reminding the Wildcats and the very pro Connecticut crowd, that they should never be taken lightly and that they had a sharpened sword. Going into half time the Cats only had a slim lead of 24 – 22.
Possession, possession, possession. Its that simple, whether you play in the professional ranks of the NRL or in one of the amateur leagues like the AMNRL, games are won by the team that can hold onto the ball and respect it. What ever the pep talk was in the second half for the Knight, it worked. It was a completely different Knights outfit that came out. Straight away the Knights were methodical in their ball control, they held onto it, made sure they worked it up the middle softening the defence and then using their wingers and centre’s to hit up the sides.
The opening 15 minutes saw the Knights Run in 3 spectacular tries, with Todd Fisher, Peter Jordan and Gareth Baxendale all running in. But is was the fact that the knights cut out all their mistakes in the second half that allowed them to build the platform to the teams success. Right before three quarter time the Cats did sneak a try in by Matt Walsh, but the momentum was clearly with the New Yorkers.
After the short break, though, the knights went Wildcat hunting. Consistent drop balls by the Cats in their own half saw the Knights able to thrust the blade even further, running in another four tries with Andrew Moody getting another two to get his hat-trick and Todd Fisher also bagging his second 4-pointer.
A last 5-minute rally by the cats saw them run in two tries to Luke Baron to get his hat-trick too, but it was too little too late for them to mount any sort of fight back. The full time score was 60 – 40 to the New York Knights and firmly places them as one of the great teams in North America.
Completed Sets: 18/23 (78%)
Knock on: 3
Kicks out: 1
Forward passes: 1
Scrum wins: 12
Penalties awarded: 8
Try Scorers: Andrew Moody (3), Todd Fisher (2), Peter Jordan (2), Luke Hume (1), Justin Ripley (1), Gareth Baxendale (1), C. J. Cortalano (1)
Goals: Todd Fisher (8/11)
Completed Sets: 14/26 (54%)
Knock on: 11
Kicks out: 1
Forward Passes: 0
Scrum wins: 5
Penalties awarded: 4
Try Scorers: Luke Barron (3), Mike Schacter (1), Ian Taylor (1), Mike Gaward (1), Matt Walsh (1)
Goals: Matt Walsh (6/7)
Man of Match: Andrew Moody (New York Knights)
Referee: David Niu