It was with great expectation that NSWJRU U18 team (as NSW GEN BLUE Academy) headed to Palmyra Rugby Union Club to face the Western Force Academy U18 team (WA). Preparations had been thorough, with the GEN BLUE camp the most recent, and the air of excitement was palpable.
From the kick off, however, it was clear that WA was a very physical and well-drilled team, with a simple but very effective game plan. WA started the game well, stringing together multiple phases to build considerable pressure, which they were able to convert steadily into points. WA won many of the collisions on the gain line and defended very strongly in the midfield, nullifying some of NSW’s main threats in attack.
Living on scraps of possession, NSW was able to score a couple of opportunistic tries to stay in the game, including one just before halt time, going to the breakdown 24-10. Some well-chosen words of encouragement from the NSW coaches yielded a higher level of intensity from NSW in the second half, and the team started to settle into its rhythm. The ability of WA to retain and recycle possession, combined with some judicious tactical kicking, however, meant that NSW never seriously threatened to take the lead.
The determination of NSW to attack throughout the game was reflected in all five tries being scored by its right winger (Liam Dalibozek). In the final reckoning, each teams cored five tries, with the difference in the final scoreline 41-25 resulting from WA’s flawless record of five from five conversions, together with two penalty goals. It was an entertaining and memorable fixture, with WA very much deserving its victory.
Gordon Fell (Trainer)
Photos thanks to Michael Mullins Photography
On behalf of NSW Juniors we'd like to thank the coaching team of Mark (Space) Houston, Brett (Pickles) Fawcett, Mark (Rechers) Rechner and Gordon (Gordo) Fell for their efforts with this team over the past two seasons. Their passion and dedication to helping us develop the pathway have been extremely important and hopefully club rugby players will reap the fruits of their efforts for years to come. The boys are stepping down in 2020 and have already spent this season passing on their extensive knowledge to next years coaching team of Doug Ryan and Nick Marshall. Well Done lads
Ben Gregory (President NSWJRU)