SLE Worldwide Australia U18 Country Championships round two, March 11
Newcastle Rebels 36 – East Coast Dolphins 16 (u18 northern pool).
The second match of the day at Wingham was a keenly contested affair for a period in the second half, with the match flowing from end to end with both teams experiencing dominant processions of play which ebbed and flowed throughout.
The Newcastle Rebels got into their stride from the start and opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a fluid back movement which resulted in Denzel Ryan (Central Newcastle) scoring in the corner with the try unconverted. ECD – 0; Newcastle Rebels – 4.
The Newcastle Rebels kept applying pressure and from good forward and back combination play, from two repeated sets of six, scored out wide again in the corner with Jack Jordan (Macquarie Scorpions) going over. The East Coast Dolphins were giving up to much ground through the middle of the pitch and the Newcastle Rebels were exploiting this with their heavy, mobile forward pack
Just on halftime a crucial intercept by the Rebels from East Coast Dolphins pressure, resulted in a speed chase with Jye Bieman-King (West Maitland) touching down to leave the score at half-time, ECD – 0; Newcastle Rebels – 20.
The East Coast Dolphins re-appeared for the second buoyed and two minutes in to the second half the East Coast Dolphins produced a superb grubber kick out wide which the Rebels could not control in time and William Baker (Nambucca Heads) scored unopposed in the corner. The try was converted by Daryl Brooks (Murwillambah).
The first period of the second half was dominated by the East Coast Dolphins.
After 46 minutes, a razor sharp offload by Taj Wood (Wingham) with a flick pass, opened play and put in Shannon Mullay (Wingham) for a try, ECD – 10; Newcastle Rebels – 20.
After 55 minutes play, the East Coast Dolphins’ dominance was rewarded when after two consecutive sets of six, Lachlan Pope (Taree) dived over for a try between the posts with an easy conversion followed by Daryl Brooks (Murwillambah). ECD – 16; Newcastle Rebels – 20.
In the next crucial phase of play and indeed the match, the East Coast Dolphins lost momentum and the play ebbed and flowed in the Newcastle Rebels favour. From a quick restart, the Dolphins through a loss of concentration dropped the ball and the Rebels slipped in for a try under the posts by Sam Jones (West Maitland) which was converted by Matthew Smith (Western Suburbs). ECD – 16; Newcastle Rebels – 26.
This was closely followed by another error out wide by the Dolphins and the Rebels went over in the corner from some strong running and quick handling by Liam Wilkinson (Western Suburbs) and converted by Matthew Smith (Western Suburbs). ECD – 16; Newcastle Rebels – 32.
The game had turned again, in the second half in favour of the Newcastle Rebels who withstood the spirited fight back from the East Coast Dolphins to score a final try late on and the match finished ECD – 16; Newcastle Rebels – 36.
Some notable players representing East Coast Dolphins from Pool 3 of the League included Shannon Mullay (Wingham) and Lachlan Pope (Taree) with a try a piece, Taj Flood (Wingham) a try assist, William Baker (Nambucca Heads) and Nathan Philips (Port Macquarie) who all featured strongly in the team on the day. The East Coast Dolphins squad also composed of Pool 3 players who included Brodie Floris (Nambucca Heads) and Lleyton Doolan (Macksville).