There is nothing like grassroots rugby league. The amount of heart and determination players possess at this level is something that you have to admire.
No fanfare, no cheer girls or no massive playing contracts, these players and in particular the Brisbane Second Division, play for the love of the game. They all play for and with their mates and for some, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Banyo Devils Open 3 North side are a perfect prototype that fit this mould. I witnessed a bunch of men who were out there giving it their all as they turned on a try fest for the bumper crowd thrashing the North Lakes Kangaroos 52-4.
The Devils got off to a brilliant start and went six points ahead in the fourth minute when powerhouse prop James Molyneux burst onto a flat pass from halfback Dean Pearse and he was unstoppable at close reach to start what would be a watershed afternoon for the Kangaroos.
The vocal Banyo supporters really set the tone on the sidelines, as they were in full voice from the get go which fired up the home side. This would eventually see the first of three tries from powerful centre Rob Denyer palm off two would be defenders to go in easily to score in the corner.
With Matt St Ledger on kicking duties, this sideline conversion was waved away, however Banyo were firing on all cylinders at 10-0.
With a worried Roos coach Mark Thacker looking on ominously, he was resorted to making some quick adjustments to his squad to stop the juggernaut that was Banyo. But the wafer thin defence was causing him headaches to no end and with Banyo exposing the Kangaroos weakness, simply had to barge up the middle to gain easy yardage.
This would see another Devils try scored when again impressive centre Denyer scored another soft try when he took a cut out pass from St Ledger to go over once more. St Ledger made no mistake with the sideline conversion making it 16-0.
Banyo coach Craig Molyneux was strategic in his replacements. His big forwards were coming on in short spurts making a mockery of the Kangaroos defence, whilst the little men were causing damage out wide.
This stage of the game is where the Devils went into overdrive. Fullback Sam Anderson was superb at the back all afternoon. If there was ever a great support player, this is your man. After forwards Vinnie Pio and Blair Tozer were swatting off would be defenders, it was Pio who found an unmarked Anderson and he raced away unopposed to score a great try.
At 22-0, the alarm bells were ringing for the lacklustre Kangaroo’s. The visitors looked tired and were lacking a playmaker out in the middle to take the bull by the horns. In saying this, halfback Luke Bowtell, second rower Nathan Currey and hooker Jack Webb showed glimpses of brilliance, however Banyo were making too many metres from the flimsy defensive wall that the Roos were putting up.
Right on the halftime hooter, fullback Anderson was again the star of the show as he beat 2 defenders inside his own tryline and raced 70 metres downfield, but a superb chase by North lakes winger Chris Malcolm grabbed him by the jersey to pull him down just inches away from the tryline. From the play the ball, Devils replacement player James Kirkbright went over to score another easy try, seeing the Devils in total control at the break 28-0.
The second half got off to a heated start as frustration was creeping into the Kangaroos game and an all in melee broke out which saw Kangaroos players Luke Bowtell and Kyle Hansen marched to the sin bin for 10 minutes in their part in the fracas.
With the visitors down to 11 men, you would think that the scoreline would be blown to smithereens, think again. The Roos were great under pressure aiming up to stop the Banyo forwards from trampling them up the middle. This is where you see heart and determination, when the odds are stacked against you. That immortal strength immediately kicks in. The Kangaroos showing plenty of ticker, would only concede one try whilst down to 11 players.
The Kangaroos however did give their travelling supporters something to shout about, as they finally crossed the try line with a try to Bowtell who was a revitalized man after his stint in the bin. However the Roos resurgence would be only short lived.
Further tries to Banyo’s Anderson, who again was magic in his attack and workaholic hooker Matt Denyer saw the Devils winding forward the scoreboard to see the home side leading 46-4.
Unfortunately at this stage of the game, the Kangaroos were out on their feet, the constant barrage from the Devils could only see them cling on until the final siren sounded, but one more try for the home crowd could only belong to Fullback Anderson as he not only beat one, but six defenders to go in and score a classic fullbacks try under the posts.
Final score Banyo 52 North Lakes 4.