VICTORIA finished its Under 15 Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League tournament on a high at Jack Woolaston Oval, Tamworth yesterday when the Ashley Lanfranchi-coached side dominated South Australia with a 46-nil win.
The Victorians scored nine tries with Anzac Leavai and fullback Nathan Utia scoring two tries apiece.
Utia was also named Victoria’s player of the match.
“It was a good way to finish,” Victorian coach Ashley Lanfranchi told The Leader.
“They’ve had a good week, enjoyed themselves and are a good bunch of kids. Just disappointing they were down the first day, that made it difficult to make the final.”
Instead Western Australia and Northern Territory will play today’s final of the affiliated schools for the John Allen Trophy at noon. That will be the main curtain raiser to the championship final between Queensland Maroon and Queensland White.
It is the first time the two Queensland teams have played the final with NSW Combined Catholic Colleges to play NSW CIS in the first game this morning (9.30am) and then NSW Combined High Schools to play ACT this morning (10.45am) after ACT beat NSWCIS 32-20 at Jack Woolaston Oval yesterday.
CIS had led 16-6 at one stage of a first half where it looked comfortable and in charge with the likes of props Toby Bowditch and Iakopo Esera setting a platform in close with hard-working secondrower Matthew Morgan.
Captain Tyron Taukomo was unstoppable at times in the centres.
However, a Daniel Desmet try just before half time gave ACT a boost, the goalkicking five eighth jinking his way over out wide.
ACT then drew level through a Demario Russell try and were piggy-baked up the field by a string of penalties before Esera and then Harry Wilson were given game-breaking 10 minute sin-bins.
That effectively halted any CIS fightback.
ACT coach Steve Collins was proud of his side, which earned a crack at “one of the big three” NSW CHS in their final game today.
“We were a bit off early,” Collins said.
“They showed a bit of character to come back. It’s always tough to come back from a few points down at this age.”
He said the team has started to put together some combinations and played some good football.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge (of playing CHS),” he said.
“They will give us a good yardstick.”