There were no surprises on Day 2 but there were periods when the favoured team had to work hard to get going.
Day 2; 9am; sunny and the ground soft but firm.
With all 8 reserves running on to start the game for NSW allowed the ACT lads to take the game up to them. This they did with over 65% of possession for the first 30mins.
Time and time again the ACT pack were driving forward near NSW’s goal line only to be thwarted at the last effort and NSW escaped to protect the scoreboard.
ACT were first to score with a PK at 10mins with NSW to follow 3 mins later. ACT again drove forward and 30m in front of the posts held the NSW #8 (Johnny Walker) up to force the scrum feed. Then another error from NSW by the fullback (Nic Clancy) from coming in from the side to the ruck gave ACT the perfect opportunity to score which they did when Jason Tomane (#20) slammed over and Tom Evans (#11) converted.
Half-time score: ACT 10 – NSW 3.
NSW responded at half-time bringing on four of their first string players and immediately gave the team structure and direction. With their back line playing their patterns NSW scored in front of the scoreboard when Henry Hutchinson (#13) slid over near the left corner post and big Anthony Vasilis (#4) converted. Vasilis kicked a PK soon after and the score was now 13-10 to NSW.
Showing his class as soon as he ran on following the half-time break Jack Clancy (#10) showed another part of his game when he stole valuable ball in the tackle to then put his brother Nic (#15) over for the first of his two tries.
ACT were on the backfoot and was further hampered when their LHP (Faalelei Sione) got his second yellow card in a few weeks.
NSW now upped the temp and pressure. Again #10, Jack Clancy showed off his great passing game to give a lovely ball to Henry Hutchinson (#13) who then set up Tyson Davis (#11) to score out wide.
With ACT repeatedly defending their line with 14 players NSW scored twice with Nic Clancy (#15) getting his second try after taking 2 steps to put the ball down and run-on captain Brandon Paenga-Amosa (#7) scoring tries.
Final score: NSW II 33 def ACT 10
Players of note
NSW: Jack Clancy (#10), Henry Hutchison (#13) and forwards David Morris (#6) and Ned Hannigan (#5).
ACT: Most of their forwards played well and worked tirelessly but were let down by the lack of structure and purpose from their backline.
NSW I 43 — Combined States 12
NSW started well and after three minutes when 12. Tepai Moeroa dislodged a ball in a tackle and after the scrum for a knock-on 14. Harry Jones got the ball and passed inside for 15. Andrew Kellaway to score.
Most of the play was in the Combined half in the first quarter of the game. At 14 minutes there was a scrum from which Moeroa went on one of his power runs before passing to 12. Taane Milne just into the CS half and he ran all the way to score.
But four minutes later NSW 10. Andrew Deegan grubbered through and the ball hit legs. 15. Adrian Delore of CS picked it up for a long run down touch. He passed inside and when 5. Nick Kellaway got it he scored near the posts. As he did so, he probably winked at twin Andrew, the NSW fullback, who was beaten by the high pass inside.
After another four minutes Combined were in again. They got close to the NSW line with a penalty kick and mauled the ball over for a try, with some ease.
At about the end of the first quarter both sides had scored two tries and CS had converted one to take the lead 12-10. They were defending well and were not worried about the size of the scrapbooks of their opponents.
But then NSW started to hit their straps and camped near the CS 22 for a while. At 26 minutes Combined ran the ball from their line setting up an exit kick, but Moeroa again jolted the ball loose from a ball carrier, and it was pounced on by 7. Jack McCalman who got meat.
Just before oranges Moeroa was involved again. He returned a CS kick for a good gain; Jones got the ball through hands and released the money pass to Deegan at the right time for the bonus point try. The Combined side was feeling the pinch of defending hard for long periods.
At half time the Combined side looked tired; and the score was NSW 24-12.
Combined States did not recover in the second half although they were helped when NSW bombed several opportunities.
There was some unimpressive rugby from both sides in the third quarter but when NSW had their mind on the job Moreoa went over after a series of moves when the ball was not dropped for a change, Jones scored after a blistering run escorted by chasing tacklers and 9. Mitchell Short sniped from a ruck into a huge gap, and scored a meatie.
Combined States looked good in the first quarter of the game but the better class and staying power of NSW told in the end.
The winning margin looks convincing but NSW were not as good as they were against WA on Day 1. They dropped a lot of ball and when they didn’t, some players hogged it despite the instruction from selectors after Day 1 that they were looking for players who could facilitate their team mates.
For Combined States Adrian Delore was their best player (again) playing flyhalf with the 15 jersey on his back, and Nic Kellaway tackled and ran himself to the ground – as well as backing up to score a try.
For NSW Moeroa had a mixed game: he dropped a lot of ball yet he was involved in most of NSW’s tries. Milne looked good again: there is a bit of Peter Betham in him.
Jones, a non-hog, had a top game either running or passing, but his goal-kicking was scratchy. Deegan ran well again but his kicking from hand needs work.
McCalman played well on the openside flank and must be putting pressure on Wilkin of Queensland (an admirable player himself) for national honours.
Andrew Kellaway? I’m sick of writing about him; what form he is in !!
NSW 43— [Tries: Andrew Kellaway, Taane Milne, Andrew Deegan, Jack McCalman, Tepai Moeroa, Harry Jones, Mitchell Short. Conversions: Jones (4).]
Combined States 12 —[Tries: Nic Kellaway. Unknown (maul). Conversion: Adrian Delore.]
Queensland I 42 — Victoria 17
Ten minutes in (and ironically after a good Victoria scrum) Queensland got the ball and 11.Adrian Henley, playing fullback, left tacklers sprawling on the grass and scored a pie.
At 20 minutes reserve scrummie James Tuttle chipped for inside centre Nathan Russell (in the 22 jersey). It was bang-on and Russell scored.
Later lock Jamason Fa’anana-Schult ran diagonally for the corner and got meat.
But Queensland weren’t finished: before oranges they launched another raid and after some switches and a kick through Luke Papworth got the bonus point try.
All the tries were converted by Mitchell Third; so at half-time the score was 28-0.
In the second half Victoria woke up and scored three tries to two but the damage was done and they lost 42-17.
Victoria had potential but lacked composure under pressure because of a lack of experience in matters needed for national success.
Queensland had a good first half but faded in the second and were outscored 14-17 after oranges. This is all the more remarkable because Queensland scored from the second-half kick-off.
Victoria had problems clearing the ball but they had the Queensland scrum under all kinds of pressure in the first half.
The best for Victoria were livewire scrumhalf Matt Euese and 4. Nick Latuhoi, who is a true leader. The athleticism of 5. Izack Rodda was also impressive.
For Queensland some of the best were reserves – scrummie James Tuttle and backrower Luke Papworth – but chunky 10. Mitchell Third had a second good all-round game for the tournament.
Queensland II 33 — Western Australia 17
Queensland scored three tries to none in the first half and with penalty goals swapped were 20-3 ahead at the break.
However after oranges WA made an unexpected charge. They had the vibe, scoring two tries, and were behind only 23-17 with 13 minutes to go.
But then Queensland, helped by the lady barracker in the red top (even the referee had to smile) lifted for another try after 9. Moses Sorovi got the ball from a WA scrum and sniped over. This was followed by a penalty goal kicked to the music of the loud barracking from the same supporter a few metres away.
This was another case where a team from a less populated area did not have the rugby experience of an opponent whose players compete in stronger competitions.
For WA scrumhalf Angus Taylor, fullback Jayden Ngamanu and raging no.8 Hayden Anderson all played well.
For Queensland openside flanker Douglas MacMillan got to Oz smokey status with another strong game — and both scrumhalf Sorovi and flyhalf Carlin Anderson were impressive.