Camden Rams have maintained their share of the lead of the IDRU Builders Club Premiership with a 34 – 12 Round 2 win over Shoalhaven. The Rams dominated the match on the back of a strong forward game, playing very direct constantly putting the Shoalies on the back foot throughout. Had it not been for the abundance of penalties in the match the margin could have been much larger.
Camden has shown in the opening two weeks of the competition that they will be a different proposition this season under new Head Coach Doug Ryan. Running in five tries to two, on the back of a strong and well organized defensive effort, the Rams now sit on top of the table with ten points along with defending Premiers Bowral.
The first fifteen minutes of the match was punctuated with eight penalties as both sides struggled to get into any rhythm. Rams Fly-Half Michael Midson swooped on a loose ball twenty out from Shoalies line finding his wingman Jalesi Naivalu who crossed for the opening try. Five minutes later the Brandon brothers combined to produce one of their specials to open the Shoalies account. Fullback Steven broke clear inside his own half and with a swerving run booted clear into Camden’s half. Brother Keiran came from the right wing in support taking the inside pass to sprint away and score beside the posts. Keiran converted the try for the Shoalies to take the lead for the only time in the match, 7 – 5 after twenty minutes.
The Shoalhaven lead was short lived, with one of Camden’s best on the day Captain and Prop Jai Gunton, producing a rampaging run from fifteen meters out to score next for the Rams. Dane Kelly converted for Camden to lead 12 – 7. Frustratingly the final fifteen minutes of the half was once again dominated by penalties. On the stroke of half-time Kelly kicked a penalty goal for the Rams to take a 15 – 7 lead into the break.
The second term was barely a minute old when Camden added to their score-line. From the kick-off the Rams put on a six phase drive from deep in their own half and were soon pressing the Shoalies line. With the Shoalies defense struggling to stem the flow, Rams Half-back Terry Fanaula darted through from the side of a ruck to score their third try. Kelly missed the conversion for the Rams to lead 20 – 7 with half the match remaining.
Shoalies Brandon Wright caught the Rams defense napping when he broke free from a maul close to the Camden line and crossed virtually untouched to get his side back within eight of the lead after forty-five minutes. It was just about all the Shoalies could muster for the rest of the match. With Steven Brandon not returning to the field after the break the Shoalies attack lacked spark and combined with a very well organized Rams defense the remainder of the match belonged to home side.
Winger Joseph Tildsley crossed for the home side on the back of a strong backline play instigated by classy Fly-Half Midson. Kelly converted from touch for a 27 – 12 lead after fifty minutes. Once again penalties dominated the next fifteen minutes before Camden No.8 Josh Institoris scored what was the try of the match inside the last five minutes of the game. Fly-half Midson pushed through the Shoalies line and found big Second Rower James Walgers running at an angle just into the Shoalhaven half. Walgers charged up field drawing the remaining Shoalhaven defenders before putting No. 8 Institoris away for the try. Dane Kelly’s conversion brought up the final score.
It was a strong performance from the Rams which pleased the new look Camden coaching staff. However the next three weeks will be at test for Camden with matches coming up against last year’s top four sides Vikings, Avondale and University.
Rams Captain Jai Gunton deservedly took three points in the IDRU Player of the Year award, leading from the front all day. His Locks James Walgers and Sean O’Flynn were strong with No.8 Institoris prominent. Halves Fanaula and Midson were instrumental in the Camden attack while Elijah Sa was outstanding in both attack and defense with the big center making some crunching tackles. Fullback Kane Morgan and center Kelly were classy.
Shoalhaven struggled to maintain any real pressure on the Rams throughout the match, despite energetic performances from Aaron Loudon and Tom Horton in the forwards and a busy Sam Watts, Angus Maddinson and Keiran Brandon in the backs.
Shoalhaven 34 (Jalesi Nauvalu 1 try, Jai Gunton 1 try, Terry Fanaula 1 try, Joseph Tildsley 1 try, Josh Institoris 1 try, Dane Kelly 3 goals, 1 penalty Goal)
Def Shoalhaven 12 (Brandon Wright 1 try, Keiran Brandon 1 try, 1 goal)
Other Match Results
Vikings 53 Def Campbelltown 13
Bowral 52 Def Kiama 19
Avondale 39 Def Shamrocks 23
University 41 Def Tech Waratahs 13