Junior Representatives Round 2
By Jack Clifton & Olivia Barry
The St George Illawarra Dragons Junior Representative squads were involved in the inter-club derby at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Saturday.
The St George Dragons Harold Matthews Cup (U16) and SG Ball (U18) teams played host to their Illawarra Steelers counterparts but were unable to notch a win in their two fixtures.
In a see-sawing Harold Matthews Cup game the honours were shared when a last minute attempted penalty goal by the Steelers flew wide, producing a 20-20 draw at the end of 70 torrid minutes of football.
Both teams had their chances to win this match, Illawarra racing to an early 10-0 lead only to find themselves 10-14 down at half time.
The Steelers fought back in the second half to lead 20-14, but the Dragons refused to capitulate and levelled the scores 20-20 with minutes remaining.
A failed penalty attempt by the visitors to win the match after the final siren added to the theatre in a quality Junior Representative fixture.
"The boys have improved a hell of a lot since our first trial against Illawarra, but there were just too many mistakes, particularly in the second half,” said Dragons Harold Matthews Coach Graeme Wynn.
Steelers Haroold Matthews Cup Team Manager Paul Hatchell expressed a similar view.
"Pretty disappointing, our completions weren't bad but the boys need to listen to and action what the coaches are saying if they are to win at this level,” said Hatchell.
“In the end a draw was probably a fitting result.”
The SG Ball fixture proved to be a one-sided affair, the Steelers flexing their muscles in both attack and defence to lead the Dragons 14-0 at the half time break despite blowing several additional try scoring opportunities.
The second half proved no different as Illawarra ran out easy winners 38-0.
They also provided the highlight of the day with a wonderful try which began with Steelers hooker Cooper Purcell breaking through the middle of the ruck and half back Jackson Willis diving over in the corner.
Dragons SG Ball Coach Brad Liggins was bitterly disappointed with his team’s performance.
“We didn’t show up and lacked discipline and commitment in defence and gave ourselves no chance to mount pressure on the Steelers with constant handling errors,” said Liggins.
Conversely, Steelers SG Ball Coach Shane Millard was delighted with the result.
“We’re not getting carried away just yet,” said Millard.
“We made lots of errors in the first half especially, and we won’t always get away with that as we did.
“We were terrific in patches, but we’ll be striving for increased consistency in coming weeks, especially with our completions”