Dewar Shield’s Preliminary Final down to the wire: Box Hill’s fairy tale season continues with a after the siren win against Melbourne.
Let’s start from the end, with the game tied at 19 all, Box Hill visit almost for the first time the opponent’s 22. The balls is very hot and heavy in the Bronco’s hands and it slips for a knock on, referee Darren O’Brien stops the game but instead whistling the end of it approaches touchie Oliver Kellett, who points him out a shoulder charge from a Melbourne player: penalty from the 22 meter line, slightly on the right. Sefanaina Naivalu has the heaviest ball of all, but in a Bernie Foley moment, he keeps the calm and kicks his team into the final.
Rolling back the clock of the game, the spectators had an entertaining match where Melbourne dominated the physical encounters but was not able of capitalise on them and suffered the speed of Box Hill. The Unicorns played a very good game, but as in last week’s Minor Semi-Final against Moorabbin, they were slow to recycle the ball and committed an unforgivable number of handling errors that cost them the game. Box Hill was as rampant in the first half and sleepy in the second, needing to improve in consistency in the Major Semi-Final replay against Harlequin.
The match started very well for the Unicorns, who controlled the first quarter hour and had a chance to put the first points on the scoreboard with a Chris Slade penalty, but their inside centre didn’t have the kicking boots on in the first half and missed. The danger woke up the Broncos, who scored two tries in four minutes thanks to Rebels’ scurmhalf Ben Meehan.
The speedy number nine first went over the line at the end of a team action and then superbly kicked for fullback Bill Seveti, who cut the Unicorns defence with lightning speed. After another eight minutes the Broncos had their third try thank to another quick run from Seveti.
Melbourne had the merit of remain calm and to stuck to their game plan. At the of the half Unicorns forwards got over the line with Shaun Mortenson that capitalised on a team effort after a penalty kicked for touch.
The second half was a one sided affair with Melbourne scoring eleven unanswered points thanks to three penalties from Slade and a try to number eight Dan Squire.
The Unicorns put their opponents to the sword with a solid performance of their forwards, but in several occasions their backs weren’t up to the performance of their team-mates and knocked onl or missed the last pass.
Box Hill was holding as much as possible, but never trespassed the half line and was forced to commit too many infractions in defence: Melbourne’s try came when Box Hill’s number eight Moses Haukinima was spending ten minutes in the sin bin.
But with the game heading to over-time came the brave call from the touch judge and the consequent penalty from Naivalu.
Tries: Meehan 16′; Seveti 20′, 28′
Penalty: Naivalu 1/1
Conversions: Naivalu 2/3
Tries: Mortenson 40′, Squire 54′
Penalies: Slade 3/5
Conversions: Slade 0/2