Illawarrior Colts Shine In Tamworth

Player of the Tournament Harvey Austin

There were some eye catching performances from the Illawarrior Colts squad at the NSW Country Championships in Tamworth over the long weekend. None more so than from Harvey Austin who took out the Colts Player of the Tournament award. The Kiama junior has had a very busy few weeks after also taking the same award at the Under 18 Tournament in Lennox Head a few weeks back.

The Illawarra young guns first  win in Tamworth was a 54 -5 win over Mid North Coast with Harvey crossing for four tries and having a hand in a couple of the other four Illawarra tries in the match.

Their second Pool match against Newcastle Hunter finished in the cruelest of ways. After a slow start from the Illawarra youngsters Newcastle went to an early 5 – 0 lead. As the game progressed the Illawarriors built on their game with their defensive effort a feature of the match as they continually repelled an impressive attacking surge from their opponents. A penalty goal by Cooper Hanson had them trailing 5 – 3 as halftime approached when talented winger Blake Gurney took an intercept after a defensive scrum in  front of the Illawarra posts. When surrounded by defenders on Halfway Gurney kicked in field and after a scramble for possession among several players, Gurney came up with the ball and raced away to score after the half-time siren had sounded.

With Hanson adding another penalty goal after the break, the Illawarriors were clinging to an 11 – 5 lead and defending strongly as the Novocastrians threw everything at their line. With just over a minute to go Newcastle broke through to score and with the conversion going over won the match 12 -11 progressing to the Final. The Illawarriors took third place for the tournament with a 57 – 15 win over host Zone Central North in the Play Off match.

Other strong contenders for Country Colts selection along with Austin include Winger Blake Gurney from Shoalhaven, Captain and Flanker Opeti Taufahema, already a regular First Grader with Wollongong University, Fly-Half Cooper Hanson also from University and giant Campbelltown center Kyle Wasson.