THE Nathaniel Morrison coached Indigenous under 23s men’s side were victorious in the inaugural Group Seven All-Stars clash on Saturday at Shoalhaven’s Rugby Park.
Despite the match ending 12-all, Morrison’s men lifted the specially designed trophy as they scored the first try of the match, against the Adam Bezzina and Gary Breakspear coached Group Seven All-Stars side.
From the first whistle, the Indigenous side, captained by Milton-Ulladulla’s Harley Grundy, were on top, thanks to their all-around energy and enthusiasm.
In saying that, the Luke Asquith (Jamberoo) captained All-Stars were their own worse enemy, conceding four penalties in the opening set.
Despite this and both teams having ample opportunities to score, the match remained scoreless until the 14th minute with Nowra-Bomaderry’s Zac Blattner kicked a penalty goal to give the Indigenous side a 2-nil lead.
The penalty count continued to hurt the All-Stars (10-2 in the first half) – which led to the match’s first try.
A grubber kick was put through into the All-Stars in-goal and after a ricochet, Nowra-Bomaderry’s Chaise Sines dived on the loose ball, to score for the Indigenous side – with six minutes remaining in the first half
Blattner added the extras, making it 8-nil – which is how it remained until half-time.
After the break, simple errors by the All-Stars handed the Indigenous side a golden chance to extend their lead.
Just when is appeared Chaise Sines had his second for the afternoon, he was ruled to have made a double-movement.
The All-Stars made their opposition pay for this error, by scoring their first try of the game two sets later – Kiama hooker Daniel Martin scooted out of dummy-half and dived over.
Jamberoo’s Dean Watling added the extras, making it 8-6 with 26 to play.
Just when the All-Stars were getting on top, Shellharbour Jack Kavanagh was sin-binned for dissent.
During this 10 minute period, the Indigenous side scored their second try of the afternoon.
Albion Park-Oak Flats’ Paul Bell received a cut-out ball and then put his winger Jake Gould (Nowra-Bomaderry) into space.
Winger Gould was then brought down by a sensational covering tackle by Luke Asquith but somehow got a ball away back to Bell, who dived over to score.
Blattner failed to convert, making it 12-6 with 12 to go.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Shellharbour’s Kiran Tranter dived over from close range for the All-Stars, before Watling added the extras – making it 12-all with nine to play.
Unfortunately, the grandstand finish that everyone was anticipating fizzled out, when an All-Stars Tyler Clark was knocked out attempting to make a tackle.
With no time-off being allocated, the final six minutes of the clock run out while Clark received treatment – handing the first try-scorers, the Indigenous side, the victory.
After the match, Jamberoo’s Indigenous lock Jack Loveday was awarded man of the match honours – being well-supported by team mates Zac Blattner and Tyson Simpson.
The All-Stars were best served by captain Luke Asquith, both hookers Kiran Tranter and Daniel Martin, Tyler Clark and Tyran Wishart.
Prior to the men’s match, the Group Seven women’s side defeated the Indigenous side 50-8.
Jamberoo’s Aimee Barnard was named best on ground, with Talia Atfield (Nowra-Bomaderry), Cheyanne Hatch (Milton-Ulladulla), Kaela Thomas (Jamberoo) and Carly Ryan (Jamberoo) also impressing in the strong win – with Stingrays’ Allira Simon and Kiama’s Courtney Sullivan being stand-outs for the Indigenous side.
These two matches acted as trials for the two Group Seven representative sides, which will be announced in the coming days.
Earlier in the day, Albion Park-Oak Flats won the under 18s nine-a-side knock-out, defeating Milton-Ulladulla in the final 8-4.