Appin Dogs have kept touch with the top five after a hard fought 28-24 win over The Oaks on Friday night at Appin Sportsground while the Campbelltown City Kangaroos recorded just their second win of the season when they overcame Thirlmere on Sunday, Mike Shean reports:
The Friday night match, one of the two deferred games played this weekend, wasn’t a pretty affair, but Appin will be happy with the result, knowing they’ve accounted for one of the teams vying for a position in the finals this year.
Appin opened the account after five minutes through centre Sol Kamuta, but the play began when prop Bryce Gibbs put impressive youngster Roman Ioelu into space.
The Tigers weren’t to be left out of the action, with Brayden Goulding crossing five minutes later. Mitchell Brasington converted to give the visitors a slender lead after 10 minutes.
The teams continued to trade tries during the opening 40 minutes, with Ty Blanchette and Issac Wojewodka scoring for Appin and The Oaks respectively.
Appin took a two point lead – 14-12 – through evergreen winger Matt McCauley three minutes before the break, but coach Dane Wooden would have wanted more in defence and attack in the second half.
Unfortunately the message didn’t seem to reach the Appin players, as Ben Scambary restored the lead for the Tigers only minutes after the restart.
Play became scrappy in the second half, punctuated with handling errors and minor scuffles resulting in penalties.
Tempers frayed and eventually a small altercation developed, with both sides seeing players given their marching orders from referee Sam McDonald.
Three players in total were sent from the field, with two from Appin, and one Tigers player not returning to the field.
Once a degree of order had been restored, Appin seemed to settle the better, and focused on playing football more than the Tigers.
Jason Blewitt crossed before McCauley bagged a double for the locals, but they only led 22-18 with around 20 minutes remaining.
Appin then crossed with five minutes remaining through hard working centre Ty Blanchette, but the lead was 28-18 and the Tigers were still in the contest.
A late try to the Tigers wasn’t enough with the Dogs holding on for a 28-24 win, which Appin coach Dane Wooden admitted wasn’t pretty.
Wooden knew his side had played ugly football and got away with a win, which sees them jump the Tigers into third on the First Grade ladder.
Wooden is aware of the potential in his side, but they need to control their discipline if they’re to make an impact later this season.
The Oaks coach Mitchell Brasington declined to comment after the game, but would have been frustrated with the performance from his side.
Brasington would know they need to improve if they want to challenge for honours in 2015.
♦ In the second deferred match of the weekend, Campbelltown City have recorded their second win of the Group Six Rugby League season after a hard fought 18-4 win over Thirlmere on Sunday afternoon.
The Roos headed south to Thirlmere Sportsground to meet a Roosters team who were desperate to keep in touch with the top five at the halfway mark of the competition.
Both sides observed a minute’s silence before kick off as a mark of respect following the passing of Earl Reeves during the week.
The Kangaroos lost a player to a knee injury in the opening minutes, while both teams were guilty of handling errors and poor completion rates.
The first points of the match came after 23 minutes when Thirlmere winger Jordie Reid scored.
But eight minutes later Thirlmere was down a man when Jayden Merchant was sent off for a high tackle.
The Roosters seemed to be able to adjust defensively playing a man short and did not concede any points before the interval.
Reid’s try was the only points of the first 40 minutes, with the Roosters leading 4-0 at the halftime break.
Coaches David Greene and Drew Dalton would have asked for more from their respective teams at the break, but it seemed like neither side took much notice of the message from their coaches.
Neither side seemed to want to take control of a match which was there for the taking.
Both sides were again guilty of errors in the second half.
City’s Josh Burke finally broke the drought with a long range solo try for the Roos, which gave them a 6-4 lead but with still more than 20 minutes left on the clock.
But when Chris Williamson crossed again for City just minutes later – following a nice run down the side – the visitors from Campbelltown had suddenly raced out to an eight point lead.
Tim Quirk sealed the win for City with a third try in the space of 11 minutes, and the game was effectively over at 18-4.
Thirlmere had their chances late, but blew any opportunities to score points.
The defeat means the Roosters have slipped further behind the top five.
Dalton said Thirlmere was a “massive side’’ and had some “quality football’’ in them, and he was happy with the defensive effort from his side.
While saying his whole team had played well, Dalton gave special mention to Kurt Austin and Maurangi Maurangi.
RESULTS, FIRST GRADE:
Appin Dogs 28 The Oaks Tigers 24;
Thirlmere Roosters 4 Campbelltown City Kangaroos 18.
The Oaks 9;
Moss Vale 9;
Campbelltown City 5;
Appin 28 The Oaks 18;
Thirlmere 22 Campbelltown City 16.
Under 18 (1):
Thirlmere 20 Campbelltown City 28.
♦ NEXT WEEK ROUND 10 (First grade only – home teams listed first):
Campbelltown City vs Appin (Campbelltown Stadium);
Mittagong vs Moss Vale;
Narellan vs Camden;
Oakdale vs The Oaks;
Thirlmere vs Picton.
• All games start 2.30pm Sunday)