A double from Windsor’s Hutch Maiava and a man of the match performance from Wentworthville’s Pat Mataele has helped the Bundaberg Red Cup Representative side to a 34-16 win over Italia A in Griffith today (Saturday, October 6).
In an impressive defensive performance by the Jamie Forbes coached Bundaberg Red Cup side, the Italian’s only scored one second half try in the 77th minute to front-rower Sam Gardel. Former Roosters hooker, Simon Bonetti, converted Gardel’s try in front of his home fans in what was his first game of competitive Rugby League in eight years.
The Gardel try came after a second half blitzkrieg from the Bundaberg Red Cup side where they scored three tries in 15 minutes to Maiava, King and Eisenhuth. The three tries took the score out to 34-10 and the game was in danger of blowing out before the Italians scored their final try.
After a torrid first few minutes, Cabramatta’s Hala Katoa snatched an interception from an Italia A pass and scored untouched under the posts. After the try, Katoa was forced from the field with an ankle injury, giving Cabramatta winger Louis Vaiotu some extended game time.
Just 10 minutes later, VB NSW Cup Representative front-rower Paul Vaughan sliced through a hole and drew the scores level, sending the local crowd into raptures.
Italia A then took the lead when Nathan Scarano crossed over out wide after a good interchange from the Italian backline. Scarano wasn’t able to convert from the sidelines in the windy conditions and at the 20 minute mark the Italians had hit the lead 10-6.
From then on it was all the Bundaberg Red Cup boys as Brendan Waters scored in the 25th minute and then shortly after Hutch Maiava crashed over giving the visitors an 18-10 lead at half time.
It was hard to pinpoint an outstanding player for the Bundaberg Red Cup side and after watching them play you wouldn’t have known they had only been together for two training sessions last week.
The Italians now play Fiji next week ahead of the 2013 World Cup in England and Wales. With 11 NRL experienced players expected to suit up for the Azzuri in their first game against Wales, games like this one will prove invaluable for their preparation for international Rugby League’s biggest stage.
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