Junior Representatives: Final Series Week 1
The lllawarra Steelers SG Ball (U18) team won 26-22 over the Penrith Panthers at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
The result means that the Steelers have qualified directly to the Preliminary Final to be contested in two week's time.
The Steelers began strongly through a try to second rower Kereti Tautaiolefua, only to have the Panthers score the next ten points of the first half.
The Steelers answered however with tries to five-eighth Tristan Sailor and winger Jason Gillard to bring the half time score to 14-10 in their favour.
The second half brought heightened urgency from both teams, the lead swapping several times.
Dour defence was mixed with exciting attack from the Steelers, which was matched blow for blow by the Panthers.
A Steven Marsters try extended the Steelers lead, but the Panthers hit back to take the lead with less than ten minutes to play.
A Panthers fumble on their own line led to a Tristan Sailor length of the field try, and ultimately a 26-22 final score line.
“We were on the back foot at times but we defended our line well and proved ourselves today”, said captain and front rower Hayden Lomax.
“There’s no better feeling than knowing all these boys are working together to bring home the win."
Steelers Coach Shane Millard was equal with his praise.
“We’re so proud of them," said Millard.
"There’s not many U18 teams that can show that much commitment to defending their line the way our team did.
“We always talk about getting what we deserve, and we definitely did that."