Jon Tuxworth August 20, 2012
Just how do you stop Brent Crisp?
That's the puzzle Belconnen United's rivals are desperate to solve after the classy pivot tore Queanbeyan Blues apart in a 46-4 thrashing at Seiffert Oval yesterday.
The eight-tries-to-one demolition allowed the Scholars to retake the Canberra Raiders Cup lead, and placed the Blues' playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.
Former Canterbury Bulldog Crisp scored 22 points himself through two tries and seven goals from as many attempts.
It's a result that enhanced Belconnen's standing as the current premiership favourite, especially given defending premiers Queanbeyan Kangaroos will be without injured playmaker Aaron Gorrell for the rest of the season.
Crisp has clearly been the league's standout player in his first season at the Scholars.
His ability to control a match with his kicking game is better than anyone in the competition, and is a major reason behind United's premiership push.
But in an ominous sign for its rivals, Crisp declared his side had plenty to work on in next week's final round, despite yesterday's emphatic display against the fourth-placed Blues.
''Our attack was real scratchy today and same as last week, we've got plenty to work on leading into the finals,'' Crisp said.
''There's little things we have to tinker with like the connection between myself and my half [Shane Pustarvh] and getting guys like [centre Matt] Gafa more ball.''
Crisp played seven first grade games for Canterbury in 2008, but at 25 a second crack at the NRL may have passed him by.
''I wouldn't say no to anything, I'm just happy playing footy again,'' Crisp said.
''If it so happens I get to play with another NRL side, I'd grab it with both hands and run.
''If not I've had a crack at it and succeeded a little bit, now I'm just concentrating on playing good footy with my mates.''
In yesterday's other match, Goulburn kept its finals hopes alive with a convincing 36-12 victory over fellow contender Gungahlin at West Belconnen Leagues Club.
It moved Goulburn to within just two points of the fourth-placed Blues.
However, the Bulldogs' superior for and against, and a guaranteed two points from a bye in next week's final round, means the Blues must beat West Belconnen next week to seal a finals berth.
Gungahlin remains two points behind the Blues, but faces a tricky last-round battle against the Kangaroos next week.