In an extraordinary Round 6 of Illawarra Rugby in which
in excess of forty tries have been scored in four matches, Campbelltown have
confirmed second spot on the Peter Woods Challenge Shield table. Holding off a fast
finishing Shoalhaven side at Campbelltown Showground, the Quinnies registered a
high scoring 45 – 40 win to set up a top of the table showdown with leaders
Avondale in two weeks.
With this week’s results going as expected the win gives
the Quinnies a nine point buffer ahead of third placed Vikings and they remain just
five points behind the competition leading Wombats. Campbelltown will host
Avondale at Campbelltown in Round 8 which may well decide who will finish this
shortened season with the new Trophy.
In a remarkable match Campbelltown scored seven tries compared
to Shoalhavens six, just managing to keep the lead after having a commanding 33
point margin over Shoalies with fifteen minutes left in the match.
Campbelltown dominated the first thirty minutes of the game
and looked to be heading for a big win when they led 17 – 0 with three tries on
the board. Shoalhaven wingman David Priestman instigated his side’s fightback
with a clever kick and chase try from fifty meters out and then finished a
somewhat sloppy backline raid to score his second just a minute before the
break to get Shoalies back into the game at 12 – 17.
The second half was a try fest with eight tries scored,
four to each side. Like at the start of the match the Quinnies started strongly
crossing for a try after less than a minute of the half. Despite losing several
key players to injury up to this point of the game their forward pack led by
Lock Tausoga and No.8 Hector Tapueluelu took full control of the match. With fly
half Netane Masima producing a masterful kicking game all the attack came from
the home side as they put on four tries to lead by 45 – 12 at the sixty five
But the game was far from over with both sides emptying
their benches as the pace of the match and injuries took their toll. However it
was the Shoalies who were able to finish the stronger giving Campbelltown a
real fright over the final fifteen minutes of the match.
Shoalhavens centers Henry Hibbs and Aaron McDonell were
instrumental in the final challenge for an unlikely win. McDonell scored a try
out of nothing with just twelve minutes to go which sparked a spirited drive
from the visitors. Replacement winger Lee Baddeley scored three times in eight
minutes taking full advantage of some exciting backline play by the centers as
the ball was flung from one side of the field to the other. With Hobbs stepping
up kicking four beautiful conversions to keep his side in the hunt, Shoalies
ran out of time with the last try coming with just seconds left to play.
Shoalhaven were well served up front by No. 8 Max Von
Stappen and Locks Douglas Want and Michael Raftery, while Hibbs and McDonell
were ably supported by Blake Gurney and Steven Brandon at the back.
Campbelltown had many strong performers but will have to
improve their eighty minute effort if they are to trouble competition
frontrunners Avondale in two weeks. Veteran captain Prop Alex Sherwin was busy
throughout adding a try in this match to his already impressive career tally.
Impressive efforts also from Locks Ben Meafua, Tausoga and Flanker John Akauola-Laula
until injured with No.8 Hector Tapueluelu also a standout. The all round game
of Fly-Half Netane Masima caught the eye and we should see an interesting
contest between him and outstanding Wombat No.10 Silipa Tuigamala when their
teams clash in two weeks. Centers Elijah Sa and Nano Katoa performed strongly
Campbelltown 45 ( Aran Anapu 2 tries, Alefelio Moata’ane
1 try, Tony Campbell 1 try, Elijah Sa 1 try, Alex Sherwin 1 try, Netane Masima
Def Shoalhaven 40 ( Lee Baddeley 3 tries, David Priestman
2 tries, Aaron McDonell 1 try, Henry Hibbs 5 goals)
Other Match Results
Avondale 60 Def Kiama 7
Shamrocks 43 Def Tech Waratahs 12
Vikings 50 Def Camden 12