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Anderson stars as Rebels run riot again

Newcastle Rebels fullback Cameron Anderson put his stamp once again on the Men’s Country Championships Grand Final helping his side to a 20-4 victory over the Monaro Colts at Cessnock Sportsground today.

Anderson scored the last of the Rebels four tries – the only points of the second half – after also scoring a try in Newcastle’s triumph last year over the Riverina Bulls.

For his efforts this year Anderson earned the Player of the Match as his teammates celebrated back-to-back Country Championships titles for 2023-2024.

“It’s a great Rugby League heartland and so is Monaro too,” said Rebels and former NRL coach Garth Brennan.

“Newcastle is going to have another strong competition this year with some very good clubs.

“And a lot of that comes back to ex-NRL players coming back to contribute to local footy and that’s great to see.”

The Rebels had True Blue Blake Ferguson and NRL outside back Will Smith in their side.

Smith playing at halfback had a hand in one of the Rebels tries, while Ferguson always dragged several defenders in his carries before he left the field in the 64th minute for an HIA (head injury assessment).

Newcastle Rebels win the 2024 Men's Country Championships. Photos: Bryden Sharp
Newcastle Rebels win the 2024 Men's Country Championships. Photos: Bryden Sharp

The Colts had former Canberra and Dragons NRL half Sam Williams organising their attack.

“Any side led by Sam Williams with all his NRL experience is going to be tough,” Brennan aid.

“We knew they’d be a tough challenge and they didn’t disappoint. No-one likes seeing blow-out scores, but we tried nevertheless.”

The Colts were well in the fight at halftime trailing 14-4.

The Rebels were quick out of the blocks with winger Honeti Tuha crossing in the corner in the fifth minute before prop James Taylor scored seven minutes later.

Chad O’Donnell kicked one of the conversions for a 10-0 lead.

The nous of Williams led to Monaro’s first try when he saw space on the right edge for his winger Brandon Withers and kicked the ball straight to him.

But Newcastle kept repelling the Colts and finally worked their way down into their territory, where they posted their third try in the left corner.

Smith sent a crisp pass to his centre Matt Soper-Lawler, who in turn shot the ball cleanly to the open arms of winger William Nieuwenhuise.

In the second half, handling errors by both side made it disjointed football with no clear momentum by either side. Colts had a slim lead in the penalty count 6-5 and did defend their line courageously.

Brennan had two players that stood out for him.

“I thought (hooker) Luke Huth was a standout. I’ve got no doubt he should be in the NRL system somewhere he’s that solid,” he said.

“He’s a class player and you could see the difference when he came back on.

“I also thought our prop James Taylor was tireless. He’s got plenty of heart and he really ripped in. He was amazing for us today.”

Scores: Newcastle Rebels 20 (Honeti Tuha, James Taylor, William Nieuwenhuise, Cameron Anderson tries; Chad O'Donnell 2 goals) def Monaro Colts 4 (Brandon Withers)

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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