Steelers go down in Junior National State Championship

The Illawarra Steelers have gone down to the Tweed Head Seagulls in the Junior National State Championship 48-14.

The Seagulls opened the scoring when a kick from Toby Sexton put in what seemed like a mis-directed kick as it came off the boot but ended up being absolutely perfect as it fell into the arms of Xavier Coates who strolled over untouched.

Illawarra were next to score when the halves combined and last week’s hero, Jayden Sullivan, threw an amazing cut-out pass to Tyrell Sloan to score in the left corner.

The Steelers were not able to take advantage of any momentum as the Seagulls took a strong grasp of the game in the final six minutes before half-time. Brendan Piakura scored a powerful try on the back of a lifting tackle, before Caleb Hodges scored after a great double pump from Kade Hill and a nice offload from previous try-scorer Piakura.

The try of the day came five minutes into the second half when Coates, from deep in his own half, weaved his way through the defence with a spectacular solo effort to increase the lead to 24-4.

Reece Walsh scooted over from dummy half when the Seagulls were again in good position before Josh Bevan crashed over four minutes later. Walsh brought up 40 points when he scored his second try still with 15 minutes remaining.

Some individual brilliance from Sloan put the Steelers on the board again when he put in a grubber for himself and pounced on the ball just before the dead ball line for his second of the afternoon.

The Seagulls hit right back when Sexton shaped to kicked, passed, then backed up to stroll in under the posts before Max Feagai scored for the Cutters with six minutes remaining which was the final scoring play of the game.