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City Under 18s chalk up three-peat over gallant Country

City have made it a three-peat after scoring a 30-10 win against a gallant Country outfit in the CABE Under 18s match at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium today.

City, who won the Under 18s title in 2021-22, scored a try in the final minute of the first half to take a 14-6 lead – and the ascendency – into the break.

Country refused to give up and would rue a missed opportunity in the second half when five-eighth Jye Linnane got a saloon bounce on a kick-chase but was unable to find his support.

It proved to be even more heartbreaking after City worked their way upfield to score through No.6 Latu Fainu to seal the result.

“I thought Country were excellent,” City coach Peter Marrapodi said.

“It was the real Country attitude of, ‘hang in there, hang in there’ and even when they were on the back foot they hung in there and stuck it to us.

“They were really good, we were our own worst enemy at times. The execution wasn’t great but the talent’s there and these guys will go a long way.”

City started the match on the right note after making the most of an early opportunity from a scrum 45 minutes out from their own line.

A quick shift to the right saw centre Michael Gabrael release Casey McLean down the sideline and the City winger had too much pace for the Country defence. Centre Richard Penisni, the brother of Parramatta Eels NRL centre Will Penisini, landed the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

McLean then produced another piece of brilliance – and speed – after defusing a kick five metres out from his own line before setting sail for the try line at the opposite end of the field. The City winger stood up Country fullback Samuel Gash along the way to score and extend City’s lead to 10-0.

Country needed something to keep them in the contest before the break and replacement forward Jarrah Treweek answered the call when he stormed on to a pass from Linnane to score next to the posts. Centre Clay Baldock added the extras to reduce the margin to 10-6.

Any joy was short-lived after City replacement forward Jordan Miller went on a barnstorming run in the final minute before half-time and picked up hooker Tallyn Da Silva with an offload. The City hooker then managed to slip a pass for back-rower Lachlan Galvin who accelerated towards the corner to score.

Penisini was unable to make the conversion from out wide but City had the lead at half-time 14-6 in what was a tough blow for Country.

City maintained their momentum when play resumed after Penisini slipped a great pass away as he was going to ground for winger Samuel Leuluai to score in the corner. They extended the margin to 24-6 after Galvin picked up his back-row partner Ethan Robberts with a nice pass to crash over close to the posts.

Country would not go away and hooker Xavier Cacciotti kept them in the contest after burrowing his way over from dummy-half to make it 24-10.

Fainu scored shortly afterwards and Penisini converted to seal the result 30-10 to seal the victory.

Marrapodi said the Country-City concept had been a great experience for both camps and would stand them in good stead for their Rugby League careers.

“I always say to these guys that one of the great things about our game is the relationships you form along the way, and these guys will come together over the years and remember the memories they’ve created here,” he said.

City 30 (Casey McLean 2, Lachlan Galvin, Ethan Roberts, Siamani Leuluai, Latu Fainu tries; Richard Penisini 3 goals) def Country 10 (Jarrah Treweek, Xavier Cacciotti tries; Clay Baldock goal) at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

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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