Northern Suburbs v Parramatta
Northern Suburbs downed a courageous Parramatta side in the curtain raiser to yesterday’s historic match between the HSBC Waratahs and The British & Irish Lions at Allianz Stadium. Spurred on by one of the largest crowds of the Shute Shield season, the Shoremen ran in five tries to two in a scintillating exhibition of attacking rugby.
Relishing the experience, Northern Suburbs coach Scott Fava said of the opportunity, “I think it gives them a taste of what the next level’s about. It really brought the spirit and the team together as a solid side.”
Although disappointed by the result, Two Blues’ captain Sosene Anesi was also quick to praise the experience. “I think the boys were pretty excited all week and it was a good experience for most of them, some of them have never really played in such an atmosphere like this.”
Norths got off to the ideal start courtesy of an early penalty to flyhalf Scott Daruda and incisive running from centre Jac Cameron and winger Corey Brown. Midway through the half, a switch play from a 5m scrum sent Norths’ centre Chris Tuatara-Morrison through a gap and in for the first five pointer of the game.
The sides exchanged shots at goal soon after, before Norths’ Hugh Sinclair dived in from close range to extend the red and black lead. Five minutes later, Cameron sprinted 70m upfield on the counter before linking well with Tuatara-Morrison, who put a deft grubber kick through for the flying Brown. The electric winger pounced on the loose ball to record the third try of the game in one of the most memorable plays of the season.
Soon after halftime, Two Blues’ centre Damien Fakafanua beat four defenders in a blistering charge through the midfield, allowing replacement Andrew Cox to dive over from the base of the ensuing ruck. But Norths were quick to counter, with Hugh Sinclair sending Ben Matwijow into space out wide for a five pointer. Minutes later, Brown was in for his second try of the match, brushing off two defenders before dotting down in the left corner. A late consolation try to Two Blues’ replacement Chris Nay left the final score at 32 to 17.
Northern Suburbs 32 (Corey Brown 2, Ben Matwijow, Hugh Sinclair, Chris Tuatara-Morrison tries; Corey Brown 2 cons, Scott Daruda pen) d Parramatta 17(Andrew Cox, Chris Nay tries; Tukia Muli 2 cons, pen) at Allianz Stadium. Referee Richard Goswell.