- National Indigenous press claims for Division I status but SA impressive in 2nd half..
- WA earn gutsy first win of tournament.
- Sydney Juniors too good for Country cousins and finish 5th.
- Queensland White play their best game of the week to take 3rd place.
- Queensland Red blitz NSW Schools in first half and just hang on when NSW show character in second.
This was crunch time for the lads: the four Division I teams in each pool had been sorted out on Day 3 and the top two teams of each pool were playing each other on Day 4- as were the 2nd placed teams; and so on.
Division II teams were playing in their final round and the two undefeated sides were playing each other.
And all of this in 34 degree heat.
Northern Territory 53 – Tasmania 5
National Indigenous 64 – South Australia 5 – by “Lee Grant”
The ceremonial dance of the Indigenous lads (better known as the “Lloydies”) before the game, was impressive, but their rugby was even a better spectacle, South Australia had respectable wins against Tasmania and the Northern Territory in the first two games but they had to be content with small victories in the first half: a break made here, a dominant tackle there, a good scrum, or a line out turnover.
The Lloydies had notched up 52 points to 0 at oranges with some mesmerising performances by the likes of wingers Carriage and Doolan, strong fending centre Watson and his partner in crime Long. The ball runners made break after break and the supports were right beside them.
But they flagged in the 2nd half. Despite the coach trying to challenge them to lift at drinks by mentioning that no team had won by 100 points two games in a row, (they beat Tassie by 104 the day before) they could not lift.
Give credit to South Australia: they played the 3rd quarter before drinks, and the 4th after them, on their own merits. When they scored their only try, the comment by the ground announcer: “The comeback is truly on” may have been tongue-in-cheek, but the SA lads should be proud of their 5-15 2nd half effort. Well done.
Division II – John Eales Shield: 1. National Indigenous, 2. South Australia, 3. Northern Territory, 4. Tasmania.
7th/8th – Western Australia 29 – Victoria 20 – by “Lee Grant”
Victoria had started slowly on Day 3: the Brumbies had blitzed them with two tries in the 1st 7 minutes. But on Day 4 it was their turn to shock the other team: with two tries in 11 minutes.
At 3 minutes WA could not clear their line and the Vics pounced; then 8 minutes later they turned the corner after crabbing sideways and they were in again. 10-0 Victoria.
WA got one back when the Vics didn’t number up but then Blake, the big Vic winger, started his highlights package. WA were too slow off their D-line and he had them scrambling. Pop passes from him created the 3rd and 4th Vic tries and it was 20-5. When Blake whinged to the coach that he couldn’t kick any conversions in the windy conditions, he was advised to create more tries.
But there weren’t any more; nor another point from them. At oranges it was 20-5 Victoria but it was WA’s turn to shock and awe.
WA fullback Pedersen started his own highlights package of weaving runs. A try was scored from them, then 8 Phillips picked up scrum ball and the Vics watched him run in for another. They watched WA a lot. Later Pederson got the ball on a run and knocked it on; no he didn’t: he recovered, ran some more, dished out and WA was in the lead 22-20.
The Vic lads let through another try and had their hands on their knees when the ref called time at 29-20. WA had scored 24 points to 0 in the 2nd half for their first win of the tournament.
5th/6th - Sydney Juniors 35 – NSW Country 10 – by “Newbie”
The game commenced with Country receiving the kick-off and from there it was all Country, eventually scoring the first try of the game at the 5 minute mark. The conversion was successful.
This prompted Sydney into action and two minutes later they crossed the Country line. With a successful to conversion to follow the scores were locked at 7-7.
The next 20 minutes was a see-sawing event that was pervaded with missed opportunities and constant turn overs. The teams traded successful penalty goals during this time and with 3 minutes to go before oranges the scores were locked at 10-10.
As the clock was winding down for the break Sydney was able to construct some good phases which resulted in a try to the 14. The kick was unsuccessful and at oranges it was 15-10.
The second half started in dynamic fashion with Sydney on the attack; after some great work by Sydney LHP Black in earlier support play, where he saved an otherwise bombed opportunity. He backed up again to go in for Sydney’s third try at the 5 minute mark.
The next 15 minutes of the game were played in the Country half as a consequence of constant Country turnovers. This was also in addition to the sensational tactical kicking that was employed by the Sydney fly-half J. Clancy.
By the 20 minute mark Country was finally able to put together some good phases when yet another mistake occurred. On this occasion in swooped the flying Sydney winger Ferris who capitalised by crossing the line for a sublime near length of the field try. Where had this kid been all week! Sydney 20-10.
The rest of the game was all Sydney and only the dogged defence of Country stopped Sydney running away with the game. Nevertheless with only seconds left the Sydney ‘Big Bopper’ LHP Loto’aniu made an almost comical, rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin’, 35m break down the field with the whole Country forward pack in tow. It was only after they hit him with the kitchen sink did he hit the deck, but alas it was in vain as Sydney winger Fiapuleniko scored one ruck later!
At full-time it was Sydney over Country 25-10.
Sydney Juniors won the Nick-Farr Jones Shield
3rd/4th - Queensland White 36 – Brumbies 14 – by “Hugh Jarse”
Qld White took the game by the scruff of the neck and dominated field position and possession. What little ball ACT got in the first ¼ was kicked away to restart the White attack. Qld White saved their best for last and we finally got to see what they could offer on attack. It was impressive.
Their captain, 6. Skelton, scored under the posts but at the 13 minute mark a White forward got a red card for a lifting tackle.
Knowing they would be a man down for the rest of he game seemed to galvanise the Whites into raising their tempo even higher. They denied the ball to the ACT for most of the half and only desperate defence and the odd final execution error kept White from scoring on numerous occasions.
Marsden kicked a penalty for the Whites to lead 10-0 , then shortly before oranges, after the first sustained pressure from the ACT, White lock O’Hara intercept a pass and took off on a 65 meter run with his legs going in all directions. Winger Marsden was in support and he scored under the posts.
With Qld Whites ahead 17- 0 the lads when to find some shade..
It was 32 degrees as the ACT kicked off. The ball went out of the full and 2 minutes later the Whites burrowed over for a piggies try.- 22-0.
The game ebbed and flowed and ACT got hold of the ball only for short periods. After 18 minutes White got a lineout 10 metres out and 12. Watham sliced through near the posts. 3 minutes later Waltham was put into a gap by scrum half and went over again. With both tries converted the score was 36 – 0 Qld Whites.
Then either ACT woke up, or QLD switched off, or both, but for the next 10 minutes ACT finally managed to retain some ball. Using their piggies to bash it up they managed to score converted tries in the 24th and 27th minutes. Both were converted and it was 34-12 Whites.
Though the ACT continued to attack for the rest of the game they were unable to change the score despite coming close on several occasions.
It was a brave effort by the Whites to shut the ACT out of the game for 50 minutes, especially as they were one short for 45 minutes. Standouts for QLD were #6 Skelton, #10 Russell, #14 Marsden, and #21 Sorovi.
ACT defended valiantly but couldn’t hold the ball for long until the last 10 minutes of the game when they looked very good. Unfortunately the clock beat the ACT resurgence. Standouts for ACT were #1 Lomax, #9 Douch, #12 Simonsson, #16 Sione.
Q&GR Man of the Match: Queensland White #6 Skelton.
1st/2nd – Queensland Red 34 – NSW Schools 31 – by “Lee Grant”
The Reds had been undefeated but their wins on Day 2 and Day 3 had been scratchy. NSW Schools had been more impressive in their wins but the fellow operating the scoreboard didn’t take any notice of that on Day 4.
Nor did the Red players: they put on 3 tries in the first 16 minutes as Schools missed tackle after tackle or were not there to do so in the first place. And the Reds had even taken time out for Mason to kick a penalty. It was 24-0 to Qld Red.
This wasn’t in the script – what had happened?
Well the Red lads used good kicks to get into the right real estate and on one such occasion they put on some pick and goes and LHP Asiata scored the first of his two tries. Then 13. Devine, having the game of his life, sliced through, and swerving at speed scored in the tackle. Next Schools defence was too narrow and Tuttle played the overlap well before dishing out for the try.
That’s what happened – and the more Qld scored, the more NSW waited on defence to see what Qld Red would do next.
About 22 minutes in there was a bit of joy for NSW. Flyhalf Crerar made a break and chipped defenders. Like Goldilock’s porridge it was neither too long nor too short: just right – and he won the race to touch down. 24-7 Red.
But soon after the restart Red 13. Jurd ran at NSW but found only space and ran over untouched. Just before oranges Qld made yet another break and their outstanding hooker, Mafi, nearly went over, and on the next surge Asiata did. NSW was being butchered, the half time score was 34-7 Qld Red.
The NSW coach ripped into the boys in blue and didn’t care who heard him. They deserved every comment he made and they knew it. He challenged them.
One of the Queensland lads warned his team mates: “We scored 34 points; so can they”. They nearly did.
NSW Schools were chastened by their coach’s remarks. They drew in defenders with pick and goes and in was Qld’s turn to be caught short out wide for a try. On another raid they out-muscled the Red forwards near their red zone and were over again.
At drinks with a quarter to go the score was 34-19 Reds.
Almost immediately Qld dropped the pill and NSW wing Fittock soccered the ball on. The ball went to the admirable Crichton, the NSW 8 and skipper, and before you knew it the score was 34-26.
NSW Schools was going up the middle of Qld Red repeatedly. The Qld Red lads had a tough game the day before against Sydney Juniors and were just hanging on.
Not long to go and NSW charged but – scrum Queensland – but NSW get a tight head and they’re over again. 34-31 Red. Do NSW have time?
Doesn’t look like it as Qld goes on a rare 2nd half raid. NSW is forced to clear their line – but they win the lineout against the throw. A fairy tale ending? No, they turn it over and from the scrum the ball is kicked out and Qld Red wins 34-31.
That was a great effort from the Red team after their tough near loss the day before and congratulations to NSW Schools for coming back after oranges and making the game an epic. In hindsight the difference was the Mason penalty goal early in the game.
Star players: Queensland Red: 12. Devine, 2. Mafi, 13. Jurd NSW Schools: 8. Crichton
Queensland Red won the Rod Macqueen Shield.
Thanks to Lee Grant and Sportography for the photos below