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The State Championships (Day 2) continued today at Brittania Oval with the southern suburbs having the better of their northern counterparts in both the Under 14 and Under 16 age groups.
With both sides looking to improve their aggregate ahead of Friday’s final day of competition, South’s Under 14’s reversed Monday’s 14-point loss to win 33-0, while the southerners continued to hold the wood over their opponents in the Under 16’s, winning 26-15.
The Under 14’s encounter was a one-sided affair with South keen to make amends for their 19-5 loss two days prior.
With both sides sharing possession without firing a shot through the first quarter of the match, Nicholas Gale opened the scoring when he scooted around the defensive line to score.
Christopher Gale added his side’s second when he set sail for the try line off the back of a rampaging run from lock Benjamin Syme. The South fullback added the extras on both occasions to give his side a 14-0 lead at the break, in what was a polished goal-kicking display, only missing one from his five attempts at conversion for the afternoon.
The second half didn’t improve for the North side, with South flanker Ethan Poi crossing, Finbar Gaffney executing an impressive individual effort and Syme charging through from a kick-off to allow hooker Bitner Junior Tumanurao through for his second try in as many matches.
North will have the opportunity to snare the State Championship, should they be able to turn around the existing 19-point deficit.
The Under 16’s match proved an exciting encounter with North holding the lead for the bulk of the match, before a late surge from South allowed them to claim their second successive win.
After surviving 10 minutes of sustained South pressure, it was North who crossed first when the ball was spread wide and found Nick Bradley. The winger grubbered through for himself to regather and cross to give his side a 5-0 lead.
South responded just before half time when fullback Isaiah Pedersen, who was unquestionably the most dangerous player on the field throughout the match, tore through the North defensive line to allow his winger Ivan Wright to score and give his side a 7-5 lead at the break.
However, the half time advantage soon disappeared when North flyhalf Barry Erasmus piloted home a penalty goal five minutes into the new term.
While South had the better of the possession for the half, they were unable to make any inroads on their 8-7 shortfall on the scoreboard until the final 15 minutes of the match that saw both sides pile on a combined 26 points.
First it was South’s Jamon Tuiavi’i who charged over from close range before hot-stepping scrumhalf Hershelle Classen put his winger Joshua Billington to score for the northsiders and re-establish their one-point lead at 15-14.
However, with three minutes remaining South’s Ruban Birch reached out to give his side a late lead before the deal was sealed with a brilliant length-of-the-field try, set up by an impressive individual run by Kyle Akuhata, passed on by excellent quick hands from flyhalf Joseph Simpkins and eventually scored by lock Luke Fouwler.
All four sides will be in action on Friday afternoon for the final two matches of the State Championships at Brittania Oval.