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NSWRL Country Under-16's and 18's finish tour off with strong wins

New South Wales Rugby League Country brought the curtain down on a successful tour with their third win, this time running eleven tries past England Community Lions West at Pilkington Recs Ruskin Drive. This time, the Lions side featured young talented players from across Lancashire and Cumbria.

After a solid start by the Lions it was the Australians that took charge.

A flowing movement down the left brought the first score of the game as Ryan Mansfield finished at the corner and Thomas Weaver kicked the first of seven goals via a post. In almost no time, NSW Country flew to the line again when fleet-footed fullback Braye Porter carved through and Weaver was again on target.

The determination of the hosts was evident with centre Morgan Ackerley (Wath Brow Hornets) showing up well in defence, and halfback Sam Craig (Newton Storm) attacking with freedom. With Paddy Mahar (Blackbrook) and Kian Fishwick (Orrell St James) also to the fore, NSW Country struggled to impose themselves on the middle third of the first half.

An attacking position brought a great backline move for Mansfield's second and the probing of stand-off Riley Lack was finally rewarded three minutes from half-time. Weaver's boot made it 0-24 at the break.

NSW Country emerged from the dressing rooms an even better prospect and three tries in the first eight minutes of the new half took the game away from the plucky Lions.

Prop Noah Johannsen scored the first with substitute Kyle Mawhinney getting in on the act minutes later, all before Porter supported a break from a promising Lions position to zoom away for his second.

England Community Lions were finally rewarded with some field position and it was an Orell St James combination that brought their try as Jack Houghton cleverly stepped back on the defence and passed left for team-mate Luc Slater to hold off two defenders and go under the posts. Houghton also goaled to make it 6-40.

Clinically, NSW Country imposed themselves again as Weaver cut through for his first try with halfback partner Lack touching down out wide. At this stage it was 6-50 but the Australian side finished strongly with two tries in the last four minutes. Weaver completed his 22 point haul with his second try following a world-class offload from Bayley Cox, this time converted by Michael Pace and the rampaging Cox brought the game to a close with a try that he converted.


Goal: Houghton 1/1

NSWRL COUNTRY: Tries: Mansfield (2, 21), Porter (5, 38), Lack (27, 50), Johannesen (33), Mawhinney (35), Weaver (45, 56), Cox (58)

Goals: Weaver 7/9, Pace 1/1, Cox 1/1. 


In the second of the double-header games at Pilkington Recs, New South Wales Country again proved too strong for their England counterparts.

NSW Country were out of the blocks quickly when Nathan Ward grubber kicked through the defence and Jack Hartwig chased through to open the scoring. Halfback Rylee Blackhall goaled. The visitors then made the most of a handling error after England created numbers and Phoenix Vetenibua-Finnerty picked up and shot to the line.

Good hands from the tourists saw them post a third try with the ball going down the right for wing Noah Ryan to touch down. At this stage it was 0-14 after 13 minutes.

The Lions rallied with Josh Milnes (Siddal), Jack Stevenson (Dalton) and skipper Connor Grainey (Leigh East) trying hard while Oliver Lewis (Siddal) proved his versatility, playing on the wing after appearing at hooker in the previous game between the teams.

Blackhall claimed a try of his own before outstanding fullback Kane Ball added the first of his four tries after 23 minutes. Just as 0-26 looked a likely score at half-time, Country broke free again for Ball to make it 0-30.

The second half started poorly for the Lions and the visitors scored beneath the posts in the opening four minutes. Elijah Collis got the touchdown with Nelson Sharp taking over the goal kicking.

Ball proved a class above and when he extending the tourists advantage after 47 minutes it was tough luck on the Lions who had settled into the game and looked threatening. Regardless, Country found their groove again and created numbers on the left for wing Linkin Bradley to swoop in at the corner in the 51st minute.

Country then brought the half-century up as they forced a handling error and Mackenzie Atkins reacted quickest to pick up and dart over. Blackhall kicked his fourth goal.

Tempers frayed in the closing stages and Vetenibua-Finnerty and Brandon Tickle (Leigh Miners Rangers) were sin-binned for their part in a fracas and NSW Country had the final say on the scoreboard when Sharp lofted an intelligent kick to the right corner and that man Kane Ball was on hand to finish and make it 0-56 in the last minute.

NSWRL COUNTRY: Tries: Hartwig (3), Vetenibua-Finnerty (5), Ryan (13), Blackhall (20), Ball (23, 35, 47, 70), Collis (39), Bradley (51), Atkins (56).

Goals: Blackhall 4/7, Sharp 2/4.


Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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