Sydney Shield Grand Final - Highlights and Report
By Jamie Anderson at Allianz Stadium
The East Campbelltown Eagles claimed a thrilling seven point win over Mounties to claim the 2014 Sydney Shield title in what was a match that remained in the balance until a late Chris Standing field goal ensured that the Eagles would fly away with the title.
Trailing 20-12 early in the second half, the Eagles showed true character and determination to graft their way back to the front before holding on for a famous victory.
Both sides were up for the contest early doors and those in attendance knew early on that they were in for a rugby league treat, and in the 12th minute Limoni Kamuta scooped up a loose ball and took off downfield, only to be dragged down just metres short of the try line. But a fast play the ball found the Mounties defence short on their right hand side and as a result Fusi Toutai crossed for the opening points of the match.
But Mounties hit back just minutes later when Mohi Aupouri made a nice break and then found a supporting Jason Green who sprinted clear on a 35 metre run to the line.
And then in the 31st minute the other member of the Green family put Mounties in front when Matthew Green crossed following a series of passes close to the Eagles line.
But their lead would be short lived as a poor pass that should have never been thrown was intercepted by the Eagles hooker in Sam Hoare who ran in for the try untouched to once again give the Eagles the edge.
With the Eagles looking as though they would head to the sheds with a four point lead, Mounties scored once more just prior to the half time break when Brad Speechley went over from close range and with the resulting conversion, the men in yellow held a 14-12 lead at half time.
Just after the break Speechley bagged himself a double when he went over for his second showing some nice speed and with the conversion Mounties had shot out to a 20-12 lead.
Unfortunately though for Mounties and their supporters, these were to be the last points that they would post.
In the 50th minute George Vatuvei got the ball with time and space down the Eagles right hand side, and much like his name sake in Manu Vatuvei, George took off downfield on a blockbusting run that saw him leave numerous Mounties defenders in his wake on the way to the try line.
The next 20 minutes saw both sides trading possession for the most part and the Eagles also missed an attempted penalty goal that would have squared up the scores but in the 70th minute Stephen Harding was given another shot and this time he made no mistake and we were all locked up at 20-20.
And then in the 73rd minute a Mounties mistake in their own end gifted the ball to East Campbelltown and they immediately sent the ball to the right where Mounties were short and Kamuta found Cruise Iosefa who dove over for the go ahead try.
Try as they might Mounties were unable to find the equaliser and a Chris Standing field goal in the final minute proved to be the cream on the cake.
Sam Hoare claimed man of the match honours for East Campbelltown while Kamuta was also very dangerous in attack.
East Campbelltown Eagles 27 (C Iosefa, S Hoare, F Toutai, G Vatuvei tries; S Harding 5 goals; C Standing field goal) def. Mounties 20 (B Speechley 2, M Green, J Green tries; M Aupouri 2 goals)