NSW Country Under-16’s and 18’s Kick-off Representative Tour with impressive wins

It proved a profitable night for New South Wales Country Under-16s in the first game of their three match tour. They had far too much class for a galant if outgunned England Community Lions East Under-16s at Stanningley.

With many players having represented Yorkshire as they romped to the BARLA Three Counties Under 17 title, hopes were high, yet almost from the off, it was the visitors and their outstanding halfback Thomas Weaver who took control, and they never looked back, finishing with eleven tries.

The first score came in the third minute when prop Jack Cullen twisted over from close range and Weaver added the first of eight goals.

By the time the clock ticked to ten minutes NSW Country had claimed further tries from Reef Sommerville and Braye Porter.

Fullback Porter was another thorn in the Community Lions East side who saw good efforts from Shaw Cross prop Paul Chitakunya and Stanningley centre Frankie Gibson.

It was Porter that caught the eye when cleaning up a kick and then zipping down the left wing before swerving inside and beating four defenders to the line to make it 22-0 in their favour after 16 minutes.

Virtually from the restart, the clinical Country side played down the left and Rowan Mansfield scored a spectacular try, running right round tothe posts after a 60 metre dash down the wing.

There was still time for NSW Country to claim their sixth try ahead of the break as the defence faded away and Keegan Kenny stormed through the middle.

The boot of Weaver kept things ticking and the touring Australians led 34-0 at half-time.

Three tries in the first seven minutes of the second half  threatened to open the floodgates as Noah Johannssen proved too powerful near the line and Kenny bumped through some close range defence to claim his second and Mansfield claimed a pin-point weaver kick to go in at the corner.

That moved the score to 50-0.

The Community Lions East side managed to plug a few gaps in their defence but when the classy Weaver picked it apart and then goaled to complete his 20 point haul, they looked a weary outfit.

NSW County took advantage again before full-time when Cullen scored his second and Porter added the goal to confirm a 62-0 success.

NSW Country Under-16’s 62  (J Cullen 2, R Sommerville (7), B Porter 2, R Mansfield 2, K Kenny 2, N Johannssen, T Weaver tries; T Weaver 8 goals, B Porter goal) def. England Community Lions 0

In the second game, England Community Lions Under 18s were unble to maintain a highly promising opening as New South Wales Country Under 18s got on top in their first tour game.

The opening ten minutes belonged to the Lions as Adam Livesey (Leigh Miners), Connor Grainey (Leigh East) and halfback Matty Ellis (Latchford Albion) took the game to their counterparts but when Nelson Sharp pierced their defence in the eleventh minute, NSW Country took a lead they were never to lose.

A quick double from stand-off Tyrone Roberts, plus the first of six goals made it 14-0 by the 17th minute and there was further pain for the Lions as Sharp scored his second and substitute hooker Campbell Woolnough nipped over from dummy half.  

Just before half-time, NSW Country added another try when centre Benjamin Lovett went in and Roberts rounded things off with his fourth conversion.

Trailing 32-0, the Lions needed an early response but instead the visitors took a firm grip of the game with classy fullback Kane Ball bamboozling the defence out wide.

The hosts then had a good spell as Elliot Stockdale (Dalton) shot down the left side with Tyrone Roberts being sinbinned for his part in the tackle.

With Josh Milnes (Siddal) making inroads and finding a couple of offloads, the Community Lions attacked with new relish but Reece Storey (Wigan St Judes) saw the bounce of a ball go against him, whilst another potential four pointson the left was chalked off for offside.

NSW Country tackled well during this period and responded with a great move that brought a try for Mackenzie Atkins, goaled by halfback Rylee Blackhall, which made the score 0-44.

Roberts returned from the sin-bin and with his first touch supported a midfield break from outstanding loose forward Nathan Ward to sail to the posts for his hat-trick. He goaled to finish with a personal haul of 24 points.

To their credit, England Community Lions kept going and finally got consolation when Astin Mossop (Millom) charged to the line from closerange and Charlie Heaton (Dewsbury Celtic) goaled. The sides meet again on November 30 at Pilkington Recs in St Helens.     

NSW Country Under-18’s 50 (T Roberts 3, N Sharp 2, C Woolnough, B Lovett, K Ball, M Atkins tries; T Roberts 6 goals, R Blackhall goal) def. England Community Lions 6 (A Mossop try; Charlie Heaton goal)

By David Parkinson (UK League Weekly)