It was a cold day in Sydney and after some wet weather the grounds were heavy, especially in the cricket pitch areas. The rain visited most fields during the 1st XV matches and the wind howled.
Newington v Joeys
After two rounds Newington were the only unbeaten team, having won both matches away. For their first home game they were playing Joeys who had been shocked by Scots at home in Round 2.
The boys went at it and, given the conditions, they put on a cracking game of rugby.
Joeys hoofed the ball into the Newington half for territory early. They earned a couple of penalty attempts and after their second effort was successful they took the lead 3-0 after seven minutes.
But when the home team settled down 10 Bailey Kweuzle gave a sweet inside pass, 40 metres out, to THP Opeti Helu which Joeys didn’t read, and after bursting through arm tackles he popped the ball to hooker Teu Atiola who scored between the posts. The extras made the score 7-3 Newington at 17 minutes.
The runs of these two big boppers were examples of how the bigger New pack was making its mark at this time. The heavy conditions suited them, and a few shoves compromised Joeys’ ball at the rucks and scrums also.
There was no excuse at 23 minutes though when 12 Cameron Murray didn’t appear to have to do too much and sliced through some shoddy SJC defence to score Newington’s second try. Then five minutes before the break 13 Simon Kennewell left Joeys’ tacklers spreadeagled on the ground in his own half, and after he passed accurately at pace, U/16 eligible player, 11 Tyrone Taukamo, scored Newington’s third try, in the corner.
Keunzle had converted two of the tries and 9 Will Wennerbom had kicked two penalty goals for the visitors.
Half time score: Newington 19-6.
Joeys looked down and out at Stanmore, as they have been so often in recent years, but five minutes after the break the artful dodger, 13 Thomas Wright, got the ball following good lead-up work from 7 Lachlan Simpson and 3 Tom Horton. After beating two of his NSW I team mates from Newington, Wright placed the ball on the goal line.
The conversion missed but Joeys had reduced New’s lead to 19-11.
The Joe Boys looked on a roll: they were “over” the line again within minutes but were pinged for not releasing. Soon after they had a five-metre lineout, but threw too long and 7 Campbell Clifford ran upfield for the home team.
Newington then passed the ball to winger Yirrbi Jaffer-Williams, but the trouble was that he played for Joeys and he scored between the sticks. 13 minutes into the half Newington led by only 19-18. Joeys had scored twelve points in eight minutes.
Newington stopped the scoring but with ten minutes remaining they had been unable to play much rugby in Joey’s territory in the second half. They countered well and just when Joeys needed to get a penalty to kick a goal to take the lead it was New who got the nods from the ref.
Then Newington got the vibe earned by their powerful scrum. They earned a scrum penalty near halfway and kicked for the corner. Joeys were pressured by more good scrums near their goal line and on the third one Murray was in for his second five-pointer. As with his first try it seemed a bit easy.
It looked all over with Newington ahead 26-18 with about three minutes remaining, but Joeys got the ball and charged for the line. All the defenders were on one side on the field so Joeys switched the ball to the other and 6 Dom McGrath scored. The wide conversion missed.
Final score: Newington 26 – Joeys 23
The boys should be congratulated for putting on a top match in the conditions and a big tick should go also to Super Rugby referee, James Leckie, for his fine performance.
Captain and inside centre Cameron Murray was hard to contain when he had scoring chances. It is unlikely that we will be seeing this lad playing in the union code after he leaves school, and that will be a shame.
Simon Kennewell has always been an effective ball runner but he showed some good passing skills in the greasy conditions.
Tom Piroddi registered a complaint about not being chosen for Australian Schools in the best possible way: by playing a hard-nosed, uncompromising game.
When their tight five were able to contain the bigger Newington pack, the back row of 6. Dom McGrath, 7 Lachlan Simpson and 8 Thomas Leaver were like wolves around the ruck and gave better than they got.
Newington is still undefeated in the GPS and look like Championship material. If they can use the size of their forwards effectively for the full game they will be hard to toss. That they didn’t yesterday, and allowed their lighter opponents to come back in the second half, will give other contenders some hope.
Joeys will be battling for the minor placings and to that end they will have to improve their defensive positioning to counter sudden strikes. Better goal-kicking will be handy also.
Newington 26 (C. Murray 2, T. Atiola, T. Taukamo tries, B. Keuzle 3 cons) bt. Joeys 23 ( T. Wright, Y. Jaffer-Williams, D. McGrath tries, W. Wennerbom 2 pens, con).
Video of Newington v Joeys – courtesy of “sidesteppa”
Click on Page 2 below for report on Shore v Scots by “Gary Owen III”