Talent on a plate as juniors tough it out at country championships

By Christopher Bath

THE Group 4 U15s took the silverware home from the Country Northern Championships in Port Macquarie last weekend winning the Plate, while the U14s also impressed, but fell short in the final.

Jed Englert looks to swing one wide for Group 4 U14s at Port Macquarie last weekend. 
Photo: Port News

Jed Englert looks to swing one wide for Group 4 U14s at Port Macquarie last weekend. Photo: Port News

Both sides won and lost to Group 3 along the way, but luckily the U15s did it in the right order.

They lost to the Port-based Group 3 in the first game 22-12 which dropped them straight from the Cup to the Plate division, where they hit their straps.

The following game they touched up Group 18 38-0, which put them in a semi final against rivals and neighbours Group 19.

A tough low scoring game saw Group 4 grind out a great win 12-10 to book a spot in the final.

Group 3 had lost their second game and dropped to the Plate as well, also making the final.

In the second game between the two sides Group 4 were all over them playing expansive football to turn it around and comfortably take the plate 24-8.

Coach Richard Ingram said the boys played 15 minutes of bad footy in the first clash and couldn’t chase the score down.

“It was a great win in the final,” Ingram said.

“I can’t remember the last time that a Group 4 side made the final let alone win one.”

The coach said centres Campbell Lindsay and Isiah Milgate were a force in defence.

Captain Jack Patterson led very well along with his VC Harrison Lehman but it was winger Jayden Slater that earned man of the match honours.

“He had an enormous game and did a heap of work for the forwards,” Ingram said.

“He was very hungry to win and has a great attitude.”

The U15s side will now go on to play the winner of the Southern Championships which was Victorian Rugby League, to see who is NSW Country Plate Champions.

That game will be played at Nelsons Bay on June 14.

The U14s went very close to making a date at the Bay as well, although just missed out.

They actually beat Group 3 in their first match 22-18.

The side then gave it to powerhouses Newcastle, but were unlucky not to win going down 14-12 and dropping to the Plate comp.

Group 1 offered up a good game in the semi, although Group 4 took them apart in the second half to win 26-12.

That win then booked them another match with Group 3 in the final who had gone through on the other side of the draw.

In the second game between the pair Group 4 fell apart after a big weekend of footy and went down 28-0.

“I don’t know if both sides have ever made both finals before,” Ingram said.

“It is a great effort from both teams in a tough competition.”