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History made on NSWRL Regional Representatives Grand Final Day

The Central Coast Roosters and Newcastle Rebels made history after claiming back-to-back premierships, while Monaro Colts claimed their first title to cap a successful NSWRL Regional Representatives Grand Finals Day at Cessnock Sportsground today.

The Roosters beat a gallant Macarthur Wests Tigers 20-12 in the SLE Andrew Johns Cup (Under 16s); the Colts won a thriller 28-18 against Northern Tigers in the SLE Laurie Daley Cup (Under 18s); while the Rebels beat Monaro Colts 20-4 in the Men’s Country Championships.

The spoils were shared with northern NSW claiming two premierships, while southern NSW took one, to reflect the strength of Rugby League around the state.

“The NSWRL Regional Representatives Grand Final Day is a celebration of the quality of regional NSW Rugby League, and we saw some fantastic talent emerging this season from the SLE Andrew Johns Cup and SLE Laurie Daley Cup,” NSWRL Head of Competitions Yvette Downey said.

“The Men’s Country Championships is an opportunity for players to earn another representative jersey and it is always great to see former NRL players giving back to the game, with Blake Ferguson and Will Smith in action for Newcastle Rebels, and Sam Williams for the Monaro Colts.

“Last week, our women’s Rugby League season in regional NSW also finished on a high with Western Rams proving too strong in both the inaugural Westpac Lisa Fiaola Cup (Under 17s) and Women’s Country Championships.

“The game continues to go from strength to strength in regional NSW and I congratulate the winners and runners-up from today on a very successful season.”

The day kicked off with the Central Coast Roosters becoming the first team in SLE Andrew Johns Cup history to win consecutive premierships after beating Macarthur Wests Tigers 20-12.

The Roosters muscled up in defence against the Tigers as they surged to a 20-0 lead which they held until late in the second half.

The Tigers to their credit fought their way back into the contest with two late tries to make things interesting, but the Roosters held their nerve.

Central Coast captain Alexander Stephenson won the inaugural Robert ‘Bert’ Lowrie Medal for Player of the Match, while the Roosters are now the most successful club in the competition’s history with three titles (2021, 2023-24).

“I asked them to start really fast which they did so that set the scene for everything,” Roosters coach Paul Franze said.

“Our defence was also key. They fatigued a little at the back-end but they did enough to get the win.”

The second match saw Monaro Colts erase the disappointment of last year’s Grand Final loss in the SLE Laurie Daley Cup to claim their first premiership with a 28-18 win over a gallant Northern Tigers.

The result made up for the disappointment of 2023 after they lost the Grand Final 26-24 to Illawarra South Coast Dragons.

The Colts started strongly and took a 16-8 lead into half-time but the Tigers - as they have done all season – refused to give in and fought back to reduce the margin to 22-18 and set up a grandstand finish.

The match wasn’t decided until hooker Mitchell Brophy scored his second try for the day with less than five minutes on the clock, while halfback Jonah Anderson was named the inaugural winner of the John ‘Choc’ Anderson OAM Medal for Player of the Match.

“What’s the old saying – you’ve got to lose one to win one,” Colts coach Brendan Bradley said.

“We probably came a bit better prepared this year to be honest. I think we probably surprised ourselves last year and didn’t realise how big a deal it was.

“To all my staff, there’s a lot of work that goes into it, and I’m really proud of them, it feels a lot different to last year let me tell you.”

The day concluded with the Rebels, whose team included True Blue Blake Ferguson, former NRL player Will Smith and was coached by former NRL coach Garth Brennan, securing a second title with a 20-4 win over the Colts, who had former Canberra Raiders halfback Sam Williams at the helm.

The star-studded Rebels were favoured to win the match, but the Colts showed great resolve to hang in there and only be trailing 14-4 at the break.

The game wasn’t decided until the final 10 minutes when Rebels fullback Cameron Anderson, who was later named Player of the Match, scored underneath the posts to help seal a 20-4 victory.

“Monaro really came to play, and they really put it to us,” Brennan said.

“It might not have been the best spectacle, but it was gritty bush football. We knew they’d be a tough challenge and they didn’t disappoint.”

Click here for the SLE Andrew Johns Cup match report

Click here for the SLE Laurie Daley Cup match report

Click here for the Men’s Country Championships match report

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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