Close matches on the weekend will have most clubs looking forward to the break of the long weekend’s general bye round.
Yesterday the Oaks Tigers held off Mittagong 28-22 at Dudley Chesham Oval, while Narellan Jets kept the pressure on the top five with a 34-26 win over Oakdale at Crane Oval.
But as MIKE SHEAN reports, the closest game of all in round eight was at Harvey Shephard Field where Camden Rams and Picton Magpies played out a thrilling and sometimes controversial draw.
A penalty goal to Picton hooker Anthony Provost after the siren sealed the 24-24 result.
It was the first time this season the Rams did not finish in front.
Scoring was limited in the first half, with neither side cracking the defensive line until the 20 minute mark when Picton fullback Bryce Hoskins scored the opening try of the day.
Minutes later centre Nathan Davis split the Camden defence open, and with Picton holding a 10-0 lead, the game appeared headed one way.
Camden steadied after the opening two tries and kept the Magpies to a 10 point lead at halftime.
The Rams charged out of the blocks in the second half, with a try to Josh Goulton minutes after play resumed.
It was followed with a controversial try to Will Kerr, which was awarded despite an apparent knock-on in the lead up play.
Chris Browne’s second conversion of the half saw Camden lead 12-10 with just over half an hour remaining.
Anthony Provost added a penalty goal shortly after to see scores level at 12-12, before Camden winger Freddy Kini played to the whistle and scored in the corner, restoring Camden’s lead with over 20 minutes left on the clock.
Picton winger Luke Canham added his name to the scoring list, before Davis scored his second of the day, with a beautiful set play from a scrum.
The centre raced 50 metres to score untouched under the posts to have Picton lead 22-18 with 10 minutes left.
Jack Quinlan provided a thrilling finish to the game, with a try three minutes from time, and Browne’s sideline conversion gave the Rams a 24-22 lead. Provost kicked a penalty goal, his second of the game, after the siren, to level the scores, and have both teams walk away with one point from the match, which was probably a fair result on the day.
RESULTS – FIRST GRADE
The Oaks Tigers 28 Mittagong Lions 22;
Camden Rams 24 Picton Magpies 24;
Narellan Jets 34 Oakdale Workers 26;
Thirlmere Roosters 68 Campbelltown City 16.
Ladder: Thirlmere 16; Camden 15; Picton 11; The Oaks 10; Mittagong, Narellan 8; Moss Vale 6; Oakdale 4; Campbelltown City 2.
The Oaks 35 Mittagong 34;
Camden 16 Picton 14;
Narellan 56 Oakdale 0;
Thirlmere 46 Campbelltown City 10.
Mt Annan Oakdale Knights 12 Mittagong 10;
Camden 24 Picton 16.
WOMEN’S TACKLE – GSR TROPHY ROUND 1
Windang 12 Picton 14;
Camden 28 Port Kembla 0.
Camden 40 Picton 6;
Narellan White 0 City Blue 54;
The Oaks 20 Mittagong 4;
Narellan Blue 10 Oakdale 12.
Oran Park Chargers 14 Picton 34;
Narellan 48 Mt Annan Knights 10;
Thirlmere 0 Campbelltown City 48.
Next week – general bye
ROUND NINE JUNE 15-16
The Oaks v Moss Vale
Campbelltown City v Narellan
Camden v Thirlmere
Picton v Mittagong