The Sydney Roosters Junior Reps teams headed to a wet and slippery Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday night, to take on an equally confident Magpie teams. In an early season top of the table clash for both sides, the boys knew it was going to be a tough night.
The early exchanges showed the Harold Matthews game was going to be a great game. The defence from both teams was brutal and both teams struggled with their handling. It was the Magpies who settled better and they had the young Roosters camped in their own 20 for most of the first half. It was a try against the run of play that saw young half back Stephan Blair swoop on a loose Magpies pass and run 80 metres for Tyzac Bailey to dive over from dummy half to take the lead 4 points to nil. The dominance in field position eventually cracked the Roosters as the Magpies finally scored and convert to take a 6 point to 4 lead into the break. With sensational goal line defence in the first half and an even share of possession in the second half, coach Chris O’Connell was confident the boys could get on top in the second half. Unfortunatley, a couple of early dropped balls and 5 minutes of a lapse in concentration in defence had the Magpies in for 2 early second half tries to race to a 18 points to 4 lead, which in the conditions was going to be tough to peg back. To the boys credit they fought all the way to the end and with a candidate for team try of the year scored 2 more converted tries in the final 10 minutes to go down 18 points to 16. It was a good learning curve for the rounds ahead for the boys who also had to contend with a 6-0 penalty count against them. With the wet weather and little possession, it was good hit out for some tough games ahead. Kell O’Brien worked tirelessly all night with some good impact up front by Charles Taufu. Caine Matthews-Wood was dangerous at fullback and Lachlan Lam threatened the young Magpies in attack with some great footwork in the slippery conditions.
Western Suburbs Magpies 18 (Jamen Johnson, Hosea Leuea, Jake Scott tries. Hosea Leuea 3 goals) def Sydney Roosters 16 (Tyzac Bailey, Jai McGrath, Victor Radley tries. Stephan Blair 2 goals)
It was then up to the SG Ball to face a much bigger Magpies outfit. With a number of key injuries and driving rain it was a very nervous coach Anthony Barnes before the match. The heavens opened 10 minutes into the match and it was a real grind for the first half. The Roosters had their nose in front 8 points to 4 with tries to front rower Poasa Faamausili and winger Johnny Tuivasa-Scheck, but with a silly penalty and field position the Magpies scored on the hooter of halftime to have the game even at 8 points all. In the second half the Roosters went to another the gear. With relentless defence and a power running game, the Roosters raced in 5 tries to take the game and the points. Traditionally slow starters, the SG Ball has started the competition in great shape, in particular with many of their squad getting game time, the depth looks strong and if they can maintain their momentum they are shaping as a strong contender for this season final series. For the Roosters Angus Crichton had a sensational game and is improving every week. Latrell Mitchell, who at fullback in trying conditions, was safe as a bank and also threatened the line with every touch. Poasa Faamausili really charged into the defence all night and was rewarded with two tries.
Sydney Roosters 38 (Latrell Mitchell 2, Poasa Faamausili 2, Angus Crichton, Chevi Ellis, Johnny Tuivasa-Scheck tries; Travis Lowe 5 goals.) def Western Suburbs Magpies 14 (Mason Cerruto, Veiru Mapesone, Ututao Wright tries. Mason Cerrtuo goal)
Round 4 has the boys heading out to Remondis Stadium to take on the Sharks this Friday night. As everyone knows taking on the Sharks at home is no easy task. Both teams will need to back up on a short turnaround which is a new experience for these young players.
Round 3: Sydney Roosters vs Cronulla Sharks
Venue: Remondis Stadium, Cronulla
Harold Matthews (Friday 7th March - 6:15pm kick off)
SG Ball (Friday 7th March - 7:45pm kick off)