NORTHERN Inland did it tough against Sydney North West in its ARU Junior Gold Cup clashes at TAS yesterday, with the Sydney sides running out convincing winners in both the 15s and 17s.
The 15s got up 55-10 before the 17s turned a 24-nil half-time scoreline into a 50-point shutout.
The bright point for Northern Inland was the 15s scoring their first points of the competition.
Winger Tom Baker had the home crowd cheering when he hit a nice line and ran all the way to score in the corner.
Half-back Will Morley then latched onto an intercept a couple of minutes later to give Northern Inland its second try.
The game was well gone by then though.
The signs were ominous for the home side when it knocked on the kick-off and a couple of minutes later Sydney North got across.
But the boys picked themselves up and had a good chance themselves not long after, with some good hands through the backs freeing up Baker on the left.
He just couldn’t get around his Sydney opposite.
Northern Inland was unable to sustain the pressure though and coughed up the ball a couple of phases later.
The first half was all Sydney North West from there.
It ran in another two quick tries to lead 19-nil after only about 10 minutes and had most of the ball and territory.
The second half started in much the same vein for Northern Inland.
It had to do a lot of defending but finished strongly and arguably had the better of the last 10 minutes.
That was when it scored both its tries.
It was a much-improved performance from the Northern boys, although coaches Gus Comi and Bernie Williams could have been excused for being a bit worried when they spilled the kick-off.
“But at least the first 10 we showed signs that we were going to be a bit more competitive,” Comi said.
They were – Sydney North was just too big and too fast.
“To defend against those guys where you’re beaten on an individual basis you’ve got to have good defensive structure,” Comi said.
That got better as the game went on.
They still had a few ill-disciplined moments but the backs, particularly, combined better in defence.
In the first half they were standing off a bit and letting Sydney North run at them.
In the second half, their push-up defence was a lot better, Williams said.
The forwards also stepped it up in the second half. The scrum and lineout functioned better and they were able to retain the ball and build a bit of momentum.
The 17s were then well-beaten.
They started okay but again leaked too many points in the midfield, with Sydney North’s state centre Luke Lough proving a real handful all day.