By Jack Books
The St George Dragons Junior Representatives teams both suffered losses against the Balmain Tigers at Leichardt Oval on Saturday.
The Harold Matthews kicked off first and managed to match the strong defence and offence of the Tigers.
The Dragons were able to complete their sets, take advantage of mistakes made by the tigers and mount a strong defence under pressure.
However, a Tigers try mid-way through the first half led to the Dragons losing possession of the ball for the remainder of the half and the Tigers scoring four more tries.
By half time, the Tigers were up 28-0.
While the Tigers scored three more tries when second half play resumed, the Dragons were able to regain some momentum.
Excellent tackles by Jack Herlihy and Anthony Romanovski inspired a strong defence from the Dragons, allowing them to regain possession in the second half, leading to a try from Tristan Scott.
Unfortunately, the damage was already done and by the final bell, the Tigers walked away with a 42-6 win.
Coach Graeme Wynn was unavailable for comment but Assistant Coach Joe Saukuru and Team Manager Michael Sorridimi admit the team needs to play differently,
“That’s two weeks in a row now where we’ve just defended,” said Wynn.
“First half, the completion rate was good but just back-to-back penalties kept us on the defence.”
The SG Ball followed and, just like the Harold Matthews, were able to match their Tigers counterparts in defence and offence.
Both sides were able to complete their sets and put each other under pressure.
The Dragons were the first to put point on the board half way into the first half, with a try from Reece Robson.
Close calls from Ben Cassell and Daniel Stojanovski put more pressure on the Tiger.
But a last second try from the Tigers evened the score at 6-6 at half time.
In the second half, the Tigers quickly took possession and two penalties from the Dragons allowed the Tigers to take the lead at 16-6.
The Tigers took advantage of the lead, leaving the Dragons on the defence for most of the second half.
The Tigers scored three more tries and the Dragons were unable to score again in the half, with the Tigers defence keeping the boys out of the try area.
By the final bell, the Tigers were up 34-6, breaking the SG Ball’s winning streak.
Coach Brad Liggins, while happy with the first half of gameplay, admits the boys need to work on their game.
“It was a very disappointing second half, I’ve got to admit,” said Liggins.
“Absolutely outstanding first half of football but not to be able to step up in the second half, I think it’s a real wake up call to the boys and what SG Ball is all about and we’ve got to play for 70 minutes."
St George Dragons 6. Tries: Scott. Goals: Clift (1/1)
Balmain Tigers 42.
St George Dragons 6. Tries: Robson, Sailor, Sibraa. Goals: Stojanovski (1/3)
Balmain Tigers 36.