THE Group 10 under 16s made sure their last game together in 2016 is one they will remember, a late flurry of tries seeing them post a comprehensive 46-24 win over Federation of Italia Rugby League Australia White on Saturday.
Playing at Carrington Park, the Group 10 under 16s held a slim 28-24 lead with 18 minutes to go. But in the final nine minutes, the hosts ran in three tries to finish in emphatic fashion.
Group 10 coach Kurt Hancock felt the 30-minutes each way format suited his side much better than the 10 minute halves they encountered at the Harmony Cup a week earlier. He was also pleased with the pride they displayed in their jumper.
“I spoke to the guys before the game and told them that every time they pulled on a rep jersey, something special happens,” Hancock said.
“These guys played really well, they could have easily dropped their heads and turned up their toes after getting pushed back from Western Division, but they turned up to their training sessions, they worked hard and today they got the rewards.”
Group 10 made a good start to the match with two tries in the space of six minutes.
Orange CYMS prop Will Cusack scored the first as he palmed off one defender and dragged three others over the line with him, while Blayney centre Brad Baker crossed for the other in the left corner.
Fullback Cody Ramsey, who had set up the second try with a brilliant 45-metre kick return, converted the first for an 8-0 lead.
Replacement hooker Joel Saldaneri got FIRLA back in the match with a piece of individual brilliance, selling the Group 10 right side defence with a dummy. Sam Elias booted the conversion to make it 8-6.
Nick Tillburg came up with a reply for Group 10, but Saldaneri dummied his way over for another before team-mate Michael Gibbons crashed through the online defence. Elias converted both for FIRLA to lead 18-16.
But FIRLA made a mistake from the following kick-off, spilling the ball into touch, and Group 10 punished the error with a Ramsey try. He converted his effort – a good display of speed and footwork – to give the hosts a 22-18 half-time lead.
Baker crossed six minutes after play resumed, but when James Olivero dived over from dummy half for FIRLA and Elias converted, it was game on at 28-24.
FIRLA had its chances to once more snatch the lead, but Group 10 stood firm in defence before blowing their rivals away in the final nine minutes.
St Pat’s halfback Connor Naylor put Max Booker into space, then John Markowski won the marking contest for a bomb and ran away to score. With 80 seconds left Baker made it a treble and Ramsey converted to seal the 22-point win.