Junior Reps Notch Losing Efforts
The Illawarra Steelers Junior Representative sides struggled against Wests Magpies in warm conditions at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
Both Harold Matthews (U16s) and SG Ball (U18s) came up against far bigger sides and found it tough to stop their forwards making metres.
First onto the field were the Harold Matthews teams and the Magpies were first onto the scoreboard when dummy-half Jake Scott scurried over to give the visitors the lead. The conversion by Hosea Leuea meant the away side were up by six after five minutes.
Only two minutes later, Wests were over again as Leuea ran fifty metres and stepped the fullback to score under the posts. The resulting conversion gave Magpies a twelve point lead.
This motivated the home side, especially Matt Delbanco, who scored out wide. The resulting conversion by Tristan Sailor put the Steelers back into the game.
However, three more tries to the away side including a second for Jake Scott meant that the Magpies had a comfortable 18 point leading going into the break.
The second half was a far more one-sided affair as the big forwards from Wests proved too much for Illawarra to handle as they went on to score 36 unanswered points which will give the players plenty to work on before the final game of the season next week.
The SG Ball game was next up and in similar fashion to the previous game, Wests were first on the board. Backrower Mark McCormack was able to burrow over and the conversion by Mason Cerruto gave the Magpies the early lead.
Magpies were next to score. After a bomb was missed by Illawarra, centre Christian Tulua ran unopposed to score next to the posts.
In the 24th minute, Brendan Woods made a break and with the fullback coming across to cover, he was able to get a pass to Jye Dunning who beat three defenders and scored under the posts. The conversion by Paora Kemp meant the Steelers trailed by six.
In the last play of the half, interchange hooker Brody Hawkins darted from dummy-half and managed to put the ball down on the line. The resulting conversion tied the game going into the break.
The second half followed a similar pattern to the first and with three successive tries to the Magpies, they were able to open up a 14 point lead.
With the game slowly falling out of the Steelers grasp, winger Tyrone Sibraa gave the home side a glimmer of hope.
Finally, with three minutes remaining, a chip kick from Kemp saw Jye Dunning regather and beat the fullback to put Illawarra within six points.
It was a case of too little too late as the Magpies won the game by six points.
The St George Junior Reps similarly notched losses across the board against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday.
The St George Harold Matthews team succumbed to an 24-18 loss at the hands of their Rabittohs counterparts in a narrow affair.
Unfortunately, the Dragons SG Ball team were no match for the visitors in their match going down 40-16.