By Jake Bull
The Illawarra Steelers Junior Representative team suffered mixed results against Parramatta Eels at Patrician Brothers College Blacktown, Blacktown on Saturday.
In warm conditions, both the Harold Matthews (U16) and SG Ball (U18) teams did not use the conditions as an excuse as there were plenty of points on offer.
It was the Harold Matthews teams who were first out on the field and it did not take long for the game to open up.
Four minutes in the Eels had the lead when fullback John Fonua went through a hole for a 4-0 lead.
The home side kept up their form with two more tries for a 16-0 lead at half time.
In the second half, the game continued to go Parramatta’s way as the league leaders showed their class with tries to Travis Turnbull and Kytak Chan for a 26-0 lead.
However, in the 51st minute the Steelers got on the scoreboard.
Dummy half Harrison Reh found the line after the Steelers kept the ball alive as the visitors trailed 26-4.
It would be back-to-back for Illawarra when a grubber from the Eels was picked up by Zac Lomax who streaked away to score and bring the game closer at 26-8.
A try in the final play of the game for the Eels meant that the Steelers would go another week without a win after a 32-8 defeat.
In the SG Ball, it was another early try. A try out wide from centre Nick Okladanikov gave the Eels an early 4-0 lead.
In the 16th minute the Steelers hit back. Hayden Lomax used his strength to score next to the posts.
Patrick Herbert converted for a 6-4 lead.
Five minutes later Illawarra extended their lead as Reuben Garrick catches an inside ball to score out wide.
Herbert continued his kicking form for a 12-4 lead.
Both sides had found their attacking range in the first half and showed why they are near the top of the ladder with both sides trading sides as the visitors went into the sheds with a slender 18-14 lead.
Shortly after the interval, the Steelers found the tryline again. Winger Tristan Sailor pounced on a cross-field kick to score and extend the margin to 22-14.
It was another case of trading tries in the second half with neither side getting any momentum.
A try with five minutes remaining for the Eels had them trailing by two points before a great individual try to Herbert with the last play sealed the win.
He converted his own try for a 38-30 victory..
Illawarra Steelers 8. Tries: Reh, Lomax. Goals: Lomax (0/2)
Parramatta Eels 32
Illawarra Steelers 38. Tries: Herbert, Garrick (2), Sailor, Rosewarn, Lomax, Tautaiolefua. Goals: Herbert (5/7)
Parramatta Eels 30