All you need to know from the first round across three of the NSWRL junior representative competitions.
Wet weather causes cancellations
New South Wales got some much needed rain over the weekend after a summer of bushfire and drought. It did, however, cause 12 games across the junior representative competitions to be cancelled due to ground closures. 24 teams will have to wait an extra week to begin Rugby League for 2020.
Turoa Williams produced the standout highlight in the Bulldogs’ 42-4 win over the West Coast Pirates to kick off the SG Ball Cup, scoring three four-pointers in the first half within just 20 minutes of play.
The Canterbury-Bankstown winger had a performance to remember with tries in the 10th, 19th and 30th minute, evading three would-be tacklers for his first, muscling over the line from a floating cut-out ball for the second, and grasping a deft cross-field kick on the run to score untouched for the third.
The Canberra Raiders were the only winners in the Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup over the weekend given they beat Parramatta 30-8 in the only game that went ahead throughout the competition. The Raiders were knocked out of last year’s finals series by the Eels to the tune of 48-4 making this result a remarkable turnaround.
The Raiders began proceedings at the nine-minute mark when prop Holly Jane Christison crossed over from close range. Winger Klaudia Osztrenkovics raced up the sideline from a scrum play for Canberra’s second try later in the half, which was soon followed by a brilliantly regathered grubber from No. 1 Madyson Tooth to score beside the upright.
Parramatta opened their account in the second half but it was all Canberra down at Belconnen Oval.
Shaky start to premiership defence
The Newcastle Knights won the UNE Harold Matthews Cup last year, but were put to the sword by the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at Lottoland on Saturday.
Despite conceding the first four-pointer to Newcastle prop Jarred Williams in the opening minutes, the Sea Eagles hit back with 18 unanswered points through Ropeti Lole, Samuela Fainu and Ollie Cummins before the break.
The Knights’ second try courtesy of Liam Williams came early after half-time, but it wasn’t enough to stop a rampant Manly Warringah who scored four more tries on the way to a 28-point win.
In other Harold Matthews Cup results, the Parramatta Eels had a successful start to their campaign as they held off the Canberra Raiders in a 14-4 victory on the road.
The Warriors have entered the UNE SG Ball competition in 2020 after moving away from the Jersey Flegg Cup. They got off to a great start by defeating the Victoria Thunderbolts 36-16 at Trusts Stadium in Waitakere.
Elsewhere in Round 1 of the SG Ball Cup, nothing could separate the Sea Eagles and Knights in a 16-all draw, while Canberra defeated Parramatta 30-16 at Belconnen Oval.
Photo: The Greenhouse