SHOALHAVEN’S YUIN Nation boys team has won the third annual Nations of Origin Rugby League Tournament at Raymond Terrace.
After bowing out in the semi-finals last year, the boys team won the event this year, which involves 32 nations from around the state, along with one from Canberra.
“We lost our first game against Tharawal 16-14, as the boys were still playing 13-a-side footy,” said senior constable and head coach Nathan Ward.
“We then had a chat to the boys to go back to playing backyard and care-free footy.
“The boys responded and stepped up.
“We would only make one hit-up and the rest of the set, we would be on the attack.
“As such, we rotated all our substitutes very quickly.”
The boys would go on to win their two remaining games of the first day and qualify first in the pool, on for and against.
“Day two was finals day and we met the Lake Illawarra in the quarter-final and won 24-nil,” Ward said.
“We then met tournament favourites Darug in the semi-finals and before our match with them, they had only conceded two tries.
“But we stuck to our guns and won 18-16.
“We then played Dunghuti, from the mid- north coast in the final and triumphed 22-16, with Tyron Simpson scoring three tries and Talan Stewart the other.”
“The boys might not have been the biggest or the fastest but they were by far then most skillful, playing very exciting and expansive footy."
Ward admits there was a higher level of skill at this year’s tournament and that the boys should be proud of their achievements.
“The boys are over the moon and as a result, there is a real sense of pride within the YUIN Nation,” he said.
“It has flowed back in the region and all through the community people are congratulating them.
“They all have a real sense of pride within themselves too.”
The YUIN Nation also sent a girls team away and they recorded their first ever win at the tournament this year.
“The girls won their first game this year and finished third in their pool,” Ward said.
“They went on to make the semi-final of the plate cup but struggled in the semi-final, with only a bare seven players available.
“Several players, including our best player Mae Gould, picked up injuries and were unable to play.
“But the girls were stoked, after not winning a game last year.”
This event is designed to promote reconciliation within the community by engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people of non-Aboriginal descent through the game of modified rugby league, being rugby league 7s.