By Clarinda Campbell
The Wyong Roos atoned for their round one loss with a 22-12 win over the North Sydney Bears in a dour affair played in muddy conditions at North Sydney Oval on Sunday.
The 10-point win featured a try-scoring double to half-back Darren Nicholls and a spectacular try to the Roos on the final siren.
The Bears failed to capitalise on attacking opportunities throughout the game and were often caught with the ball on the last tackle. Wyong toughed it out in defence and looked the more potent team in attack.
Nicholls scored the first 12 points for the Wyong side, all coming in the first half.
North Sydney got off to a horrible start, kicking the ball out on the full. In the ensuing set-of-six, Nicholls crossed the line and converted his own try with ease.
Nicholls was over again in the 15th minute after Roos five-eigth Todd Lewis placed a nice grubber kick for Nicholls to scoop up and score near the posts. He again slotted the conversion to put Wyong ahead 12-0.
Lewis was heavily involved for the Roos and also featured in a later try in the second-half.
North Sydney finally put some points on the board in the 24th minute after winning a scrum against the feed. A pass was quickly dispatched to full-back Alex Johnston, who streaked away for a 70 metre try. Kurt Aldridge successfully converted to narrow the margin to six points.
Johnston looked good for the Bears and exhibited devastating pace. He looked dangerous a number of times throughout the game.
A number of errors punctuated the final 10 minutes of the first half and frustrations were coming to the fore.
With three minutes on the clock there was some push and shove around the play of the ball, causing referee Alan Shortall to halt play. The Bears were penalised as a result.
Not long after, play was halted again and the Bears penalised after a scuffle erupted off the ball. The half-time break arrived just in time for both sides to head to the sheds, cool their heels and refocus for the second-half.
It took 10 minutes before the first points of the second-half were scored and it was the Roos that increased their lead. The Roos were awarded a penalty and wasted no time in going on the attack. Todd Lewis threw a short-ball to put charging second-rower Sam Bernstrom across for a try. Nicholls converted to put the Wyong side 12 points clear.
The next 25 minutes developed into an arm wrestle amid the heavy conditions. The breakthrough came for the Bears with five minutes of the match remaining when Ben Lupi burrowed over on the back of a repeat set for the Bears. Aldridge quickly converted to narrow the lead to one converted try.
The Bears looked like they were going to score again soon after but the determined Roos defence held out, eventually forcing a North Sydney error.
Wyong sealed the victory on the last play of the game when lock Brock Molan elected to run the ball on the last tackle and sliced through a tiring Bears defensive line. Molan shifted the ball to the right and some quick hands allowed winger Dale Clacherty to score in the corner right on the full-time siren. The conversion was unsuccessful but Wyong emerged as the 22-12 victors.
This weekend Wyong head north to tackle the Knights while the Bears will be desperate to get a win when they host the Sea Eagles.
Wyong Roos 22 (D Nicholls 2, D Clacherty, S Bernstrom tries; D Nicholls 3 goals) def. North Sydney Bears 12 (B Lupi, A Johnston tries; K Aldridge, M Evans goals) at North Sydney Oval.