On an overcast, still afternoon at King’s, a match of epic proportions played out where Sacred Heart toppled the table leaders. Neither team were able to dominate possession or territory so the score board ticked over in a high scoring, even match.
King’s was the first to score but Brian Lealiifano replied almost immediately in the left-hand corner. King’s then managed a penalty before Siosifa Ma’asi and the forwards responded with a converted try to put Sacred ahead 12 – 10.
An early shove at scrum time lead to a King’s penalty, then this was traded for a penalty when King’s were offside and Jackson Rainsford slotted the penalty.
King’s then went on the attack and after some sustained pressure managed a try in the corner. Sacred were resilient. King’s may have been top of the table going into this match but Sacred were in no way deterred. They came back strongly with Sean Weir breaking from the base of the ruck only to be stopped in a try scoring tackle. A series of lineouts followed where Jadin Kingi proved to be the most secure hands on the field. This possession allowed Siosifa to again break up the middle. Lealiifano looked dangerous again, supplying Blake Makiri who brought the ball back into the middle of the ground so that Weir could switch the point of attack allowing Corey Kellow to crash in for a fantastic team try, that was then converted. The half time score was 22 – 18 to Sacred.
The second half began with a King’s penalty which they followed up with some concerted pressure. An awkward grubber left an opening for Kings. From the breakdown they dotted down in the corner to take the lead. Another penalty had King’s leading 29 – 22.
Instead of tiring and dropping off tackles, the Sacred pack rose to the occasion. Their dominant scrum made life difficult for the King’s no. 9 who struggled behind a retreating scrum. Next, one of the King’s men hit Sacred’s replacement half back TJ Seuoti-Folau from an offside position. Bono Napota kicked the penalty superbly for the corner and from the lineout the forward pack battered the King’s line drawing in their tacklers. The ball went wide and Kellow was on hand to score almost a replica of his first half try. Right on 4.00pm, to the sound of the school bells, Jackson added his conversion bringing the score to 33 – 29.
However, King’s were not finished. A series of penalties saw them feeding lineouts deep in Sacred’s half. The first Jadin Kingi managed to steal. The second was mopped up by Ascott Mafi. And after what seemed like an eternity to the dedicated Sacred supporters, the final whistle blew and “The Pit” rose in euphoria.
To see photos from the day, visit the 1st XV gallery
The scoreboard was incorrect! The final score was actually, 32-29, not 33-29.
King’s turned down a kickable 3 point penalty near the end of the match, to gain a draw. Instead, thinking there was a four point difference, went for a try and failed.