Steelers Stumble At Home
The Illawarra Steelers Junior Representative sides had a tough time against the Western Sydney Academy of Sport (WSAS) at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
Both Harold Matthews (U16s) and SG Ball (U18s) struggled against the away side and have plenty to work on when they get onto the training paddock this week.
First onto the field were the Harold Matthews teams and Illawarra did not start well as they dropped the ball in their opening set which immediately put them on the back foot.
The resulting set from the error saw Western Sydney score and play from in front.
This try woke up the Steelers and after six minutes dummy-half Blake Jeffery crossed over with fullback Tristan Sailor converting.
In a trend which highlighted the first half, Western Sydney scored two tries in succession and gave the away side a fairly comfortable lead.
However, after two tries to centre Jason Gillard out wide and a try to fullback Sailor right before half-time left WSAS shell-shocked and the Steelers with a two point lead going into the break.
This flurry of tries would be the last time that Illawarra would trouble the scoreboard as three second half tries, including a double to their winger saw a comfortable win for Western Sydney in the form of 14 points.
The SG Ball sides were next out and were met with warm conditions. Reuben Garrick and the Steelers were first to adapt as they opened the scoring after five minutes. Paora Kemp converted to give Illawarra an early six point lead.
This lead was short-lived though as the visitors adjusted to the speed of the game and crossed for three consecutive tries and a twelve point lead at half-time.
The second half seemed to help the home side as Brendan Woods scored out wide after a set close to the line.
Identical to the first half, Western Sydney scored three tries and put the game out of doubt.
However, Illawarra would have the final say and with the last play of the game interchange forward Nick King touched down after powering past a few defenders.