Steelers Suffer Mixed Results
The Illawarra Steelers completed their pre-season trials against the North Sydney Bears at TG Milner Field, Marsfield on Saturday.
Both Harold Matthews (U16) and SG Ball (U18) squads played the Bears in two halves, a first for the teams having previously played in three periods.
After a strong warm-up in relatively cool conditions, the Harold Matthews team made their way out onto the field.
The first half was a very tight affair with both teams cancelling each other out before North Sydney were able to cross for the opening and only try of the half.
The second half was more open as players began to tire and despite the Bears crossing for a try to give them an even bigger lead, the Steelers showed great spirit to score two tries out wide to give themselves a chance.
With the game quickly coming to an end, a great run and a flick-pass close to the line allowed Illawarra to crash over and steal the game right at the death.
The referee signalled the end of the game after the try and the Harold Matthews team will be pleased with a win heading into their first game in two weeks time.
The SG Ball team, who had to play two 35 minute halves, had warmer conditions as the cloud cover had disappeared.
The Steelers were quicker of the two out of the blocks and took a well deserved lead through the five-eighth.
In another first for the team, conversions were to be taken, and he was able to convert his own try.
Two further tries to Illawarra had the team full of confidence before the Bears were able to cross the white line and give them some hope.
A final try before half-time saw the Wollongong-based side with a convincing lead heading into the break.
The Steelers received the ball from the restart of play and were able to score off the first set of six meaning Illawarra were comfortably ahead.
However, this complacency hurt the team as the Bears rallied and went on a try-scoring run that saw Illawarra unable to get a hold of the ball.
Errors also helped the Bears hold possession for most the half.
The Bears capitalised on the tiring opposition and were able to score five unanswered tries to win the game.
Both squads will have plenty of work to do moving forward with no game next weekend.
The first game of the Junior Representative season sees the Illawarra squads travelling to play the Central Coast on Saturday, February 15.