By Olivia Barry & Jack Clifton
The St George Illawarra Dragons Junior Representative teams were all in action competing in muggy conditions at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday.
The Illawarra Steelers respective Harold Matthews Cup (U16) and SG Ball (U18) teams suffered mixed results when they hosted the Sydney Roosters.
The Steelers Harold Matthews Cup team were first cab off the rank and notched a 24-0 victory over the visitors on the back of a strong defensive effort and quick attacking plays.
“The boys worked hard out there for each other” said Steelers Team Manager Paul Hatchell.
“Our defence was seamless, but at the same time it needed to be as we gave them too much ball.
“Our principles were good but we still have a lot to work on. Apart from the errors it was a great result.”
The Steelers SG Ball Cup team however were inflicted a narrow 24-20 defeat having spent more time defending their line than attacking during the opening stanza of play.
The home side were down 20-nil entering the second-half but made an impressive comeback during the second half, conceding only one more try whilst scoring four of their own.
“We’ve got a week off now to focus on our injuries and rejuvenate our bodies before our opening round match against the North Sydney Bears,” said Steelers SG Ball Assistant Coach Dan Hunt.
“It was a trial, so we weren’t too worried about the score, but it’s given us a good look at who to select for our first competition game”.”
The St George Dragons respective Harold Matthews Cup (U16) and SG Ball (U18) teams were both defeated after hosting the North Sydney Bears.
The Dragons Harold Matthews Cup team worked extremely hard in the humid conditions and credit must be given to them for their perseverance and attitude.
Ball handling became more difficult as the afternoon wore on, with fatigue leading to several handling errors.
However there was also some hard tackling and lots of talk in defence from the hosts.
“I feel we regressed in some areas but improved from last week in others,” said Dragons Harold Matthews Cup Coach Graeme Wynn.
“Our defence was better, but our ball control was generally lacking.
“The boys will work hard to improve over the next two weeks before our first round match against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.”
The Dragons SG Ball team also showed a lot of fight in their game against the visitors with their outside backs scoring some good tries on the back of some tough go forward from their forward pack.
"Throughout the game I thought at times we did not work hard enough in defence,” said Dragons SG Ball Coach Brad Liggins.
“Our attack also lacked direction, and overall we need to improve in a number of areas over the next two weeks at training."