The Illawarra Steelers Junior Representative sides were both successful in the fourth round of competition at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
Both Harold Matthews (U16) and SG Ball (U18) came up against North Sydney Bears, in warm conditions, with varying degrees of success.
First onto the field were Harold Matthews and the 12pm kick-off saw tough conditions for both sides.
It was Illawarra who adjusted to the conditions more effectively and in the eighth minute dummy-half Blake Jeffery crossed over out wide with a short side play. A sideline conversion by Tristan Sailor gave Steelers the early lead.
The home side were switched on and tries to Tristan Sailor, a lengthy try to Dylan Morris and a great leap from Matt Delbanco had the Steelers going into the half-time break with a convincing 22 point lead.
The first 10 minutes in the second half went end-to-end before the major talking point in the 42nd minute. A fight broke out between Illawarra’s Riley Mills and Bear’s Hana Mccausland which saw both players sent off after the two teams were separated.
With both teams down to 12 players, the play opened up and after an 80m try to Cody White, the Steelers put their foot down to score three more tries including a final try which saw a break and a flick pass by Tristan Sailor, resulting in a Jack Cross try and a 46 point win to the home side.
The SG Ball game had a lot to live up to and as opposed to the first game, North Sydney was first over the try line through centre John Olive.
This try helped motivate the Steelers to back-to-back tries. First backrower Vaughan Thistlethwaite scored under the posts before Brendan Woods scored out wide and Paora Kemp converted one of them.
However, ten minutes before half-time, North Sydney evened it up with the other centre Nelson Florimo scoring. This meant both teams were even going into the break.
The second half was a low-scoring affair with the first points coming from a penalty goal to Hayden McWilliams and the Bears to give them a slender lead.
In the closing stages with the away side holding the advantage, Illawarra needed a try and with only two minute remaining a darting run by Jarrad Whitty saw him burrow over and the resulting conversion gave the Steelers a six point win.