Wombats Overwhelm Depleted Vikings

MatchReportDefending Premiers Avondale has leapfrogged Vikings into the top four of the IDRU Builders Club Premiership with a grueling 36 – 11win at Vikings Oval. Vikings competed strongly in the first half going to the break just one point down at 6 – 7 but couldn’t stay with the Premiers after the time-out. The Wombats found their expansive attacking game in the second stanza to run in five tries to the Bluey’s one.

Vikings jumped out of the blocks at the start and with a very energetic game plan managed to dominate possession not allowing the Wombats to build any attacking momentum. With most of the play taking place in the Avondale half of the field for the first five minutes Blue Half-Back Tom Sawden opened the scoring with a penalty goal.

Depriving the Wombats of the ball and slowing the pace of the game to their advantage Vikings continued to curb Avondale’s attacking opportunities until Wombat winger Jesse Leng scored a try against the run of play. Leng showed blistering pace down the beach side touchline to score in the far corner. Silipa Tuigamala’s conversion from the widest angle gave Avondale the lead at 7 – 3 after nineteen minutes.

With their representative backrowers Dane Nethery, Jack Hobbs and Cody Roman along with Fullback Jason Reid prominent, Vikings continued to frustrate Avondale’s usual free flowing style. Avondale’s new Country Lock Taiti-Taanoa Tuumuliileuao and No.8 Gus Faleauto produced several opportunities for their side with strong runs but the swarming Vikings defense held strong through to the break. Sawden added another penalty goal just before the break as Avondale went to oranges one point up.

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And Rugby Was The Winner Once Again

2018 20 The Warren ComplexI was invited by The Rogue to accompany him and two other Rugby Tragics on a road trip to Warren to attend the Country Rugby Union Championships, which were held in Warren on Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29. I readily accepted. The Rogue, as most of you are aware is the anonymous author of much of what appears on the IDRU website. To avoid pressure on the three of us who accompanied him, to reveal his closely guarded identity, it is probably best that we assume pseudonyms as well. I will call us The Stork, Colonel Klink and Danny Boy. Rather than discuss in detail the excellent performance of our Illawarra Teams, which will no doubt be covered elsewhere by others, I will instead try to provide some insight into other aspects of the weekend from a supporter’s point of view.

The Rogue, who admits to having a fairly cavalier attitude to punctuality, arrived for my 9 o’clock pickup promptly at 9.45 on the Friday morning, with The Colonel and Danny Boy ensconced safely in the back seat. I hopped into the front seat with The Rogue driving and we were on our way.

I will point out at this stage that the many kilometres we covered over the next four days were particularly enjoyable because I had had the foresight to bring a collection of Jazz C.D’s including one of my own modest offerings on the piano, containing 33 tracks of seldom heard early classics. The boys couldn’t find the words to express their appreciation. To make it even more enjoyable I turned it into a competition in which they had to guess the titles of these old songs. The Rogue won with six. The Colonel got two and Danny Boy none, probably due to his hearing problem. A weak effort all round I thought.

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An Even Dozen Illawarriors In Country Cockatoos Training Squad

NSW Country LogoAfter dominating at the NSW Country Championships last weekend in Warren the Illawarriors have likewise dominated in the Country Cockatoos Training Squad released yesterday. In a squad of 37 players 12 Illawarriors have won selection for the training squad which will be reduced to a final squad for the Cockatoos upcoming rep program for 2018.

Headed by Illawarrior Skipper Paul Tuala, there are five players from Wollongong University including Tom Baker, Takunda Chimwaza, Sam Latu, and Amos Leef. Bowral have Tim Small and Henry Yuill in the squad, while Kiama is represented by Leighton Cowley. Tech Waratahs flyer Aisake Tuevu has won a spot as have Dane Nethery from Vikings, Jay Spencer from Camden, and Tait-Tania Tuumuliileuao from Avondale. The players will be vying for places in the final Cockatoos squad for matches against ACT, NSW Subbies and Queensland Country.

In a surprising development there is only one player from Newcastle/Hunter in the squad with 9 from Central West and 5 from Central Coast the next best represented Zones.

Illawarra has also fared well in the Cockatoos Colts Squad announced as well. Reece Apolo and Opeti Taufahema from Uni, Nicholas Cracknell from Shamrocks, and Mani Tuigamala from Avondale, were all rewarded with selection after outstanding performances in Warren.

The Rogues Rant

RoguesRantWelcome to The Rogues Rant, an occasional look at all things Rugby.

There were some interesting comments from Rod Kafer this week following the Brumbies performance against the Crusaders. Kafer who is now the Head of Rugby Australia’s National Coaching Panel was scathing in his comments in regard to not just the Brumbies but Australian players in general. A lack of core fundamentals is how he described Australian players suggesting that they don’t know how to win games. After some 36 straight games in which Kiwi sides have beaten Australian sides in Super Rugby it’s impossible to argue with his point of view. I reckon Kafer is just the man to make a difference in how things are done in the Australian Coaching and Development Programs. It’s been broken for quite some time now and the sooner someone stands up and makes the right sort of noises to turn it around the better. All power to Rod Kafer.

What a great occasion in Warren over the weekend. The Warren community came out in force to make the NSW Country Championships as memorable for everyone as possible. I can tell you they succeeded in doing just that. It seemed like the whole town were at the ground to make sure it was a weekend to remember. The atmosphere at the ground was friendly and inviting with everything laid on for us visitors by all manner of local community groups. It was real old fashion country hospitality. Well done to everyone at Warren Rugby Club, Western Plains Rugby, NSW Country Rugby and most especially the friendly people of the Warren district.2018 11 Illawarriors Coaching Staff

The Illawarriors Coaching Staff - Brendan Schoup, Shaun McCreedy, Richard Thompson, Donovan Nepia, Gavin Holder, Tim Olsen.

As for the football at Warren, what a fantastic win for the Illawarriors. Congratulations to all the players, the Coaching Panel and everyone involved in the preparations for this tournament. The squad never put a foot wrong, particularly in defense, and was clearly the best side in the contest. For me the difference was clear between the Illawarriors and their opponents. When the time came for the coaches to go to their benches during both our matches it was the Illawarra bench that stood up to be counted. When the changes came the other side’s noticeably faded but the Illawarriors maintained their intensity and pulled away in both matches to well-deserved victories. It is an indication of just how strong Illawarra Rugby is at the moment when we can put so many quality players into play at this tournament. Add to this the fact that there were five or six players from the original training squad that weren’t considered for the Warren trip due to injury, it has to be said that Illawarra Rugby sure is in a healthy state at the moment. Special mentions from me for the following players, Wayne Ngatai, Jay Spencer, Jack Hobbs, Leighton Cowley, Dane Nethery, Paul Tuala, Tim Small, Sam Latu, Etuale Lolohea, Tom Baker, Tait-Taanoa Tuumulileuao and three try hero of the final Henry Yuill. I can’t forget the Colts, great weekend for Jeromy Cairns, Nick Cracknell, Opeti Taufahema, Te AtaWhai Mason, Reece Apolo, Angus Males and the very talented Mani Tuigamala.

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Colts Secure Third At Country Championships

illawarriors logoThe Illawarrior Colts have ensured our Zone’s re-instatement into the top tier of NSW Country Colts Championships going forward, registering a resounding 38 – 22 victory over Central Coast in Sunday’s Play Off match in Warren. After going down to eventual Country Colts winners Newcastle/Hunter on Saturday the young Illawarriors regrouped and produced a much improved effort to complete a comfortable win in the end.

With the scores locked at 17 all at the break it was Illawarra who took control in the second term to register a six tries to three win. The Coasties had the better of things early but it was the Illawarriors who scored first through exciting winger Reece Apolo. Busy hooker Jeromy Cairns fielded a kick in his own half before finding some space for Apolo to clear away down the left. With a couple of dummy passes thrown in the young speedster ran sixty meters to score. The try was converted by the talented Mani Tuigamala for a 7 – 0 lead after eight minutes.

Shortly after, Central Coast Fly-Half Mitch Leonard took the sweetest of intercepts inside his own half and raced away to score a converted try to equal the scores. The tries kept coming when soon after Tai Matenga raced down the left again for a try as Illawarra took the lead 12 – 7 at the fourteen minute mark.

Lanky Central Coast Lock Will McDonald led the charge for the Coasties as they kept play in the Illawarra half for an extended period. Eventually the pressure took its toll as some sloppy Illawarra defense allowed Flanker Matthew Martin to cross for a try. Winger Luke Brown kicked his second goal as Central Coast took back the lead 14 – 12.

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Illawarriors Surge To Country Title

2018 6a Caldwell Cup SquadThe Illawarriors are bringing home their third Caldwell Cup title in four years after an emphatic 37 – 15 NSW Country Championship Final victory over Central West in Warren. Despite plenty of pundits declaring Central West favorites for the title it was the Illawarriors who dominated the match with an outstanding defensive effort to blot the Blue Bulls out of the match.

Running in three tries in each half the Illawarriors were a step ahead of their opponents for most of the match after an enthralling first twenty minutes. Both sides started strongly asking many questions of each-others defense as play pulsated back and forth.

Illawarra Fly-half Tom Baker opened the scoring with a penalty goal after eight minutes as both defenses held strong despite some enterprising play from both teams. Six minutes later after the Bulls had pressured the Illawarra line for an extended period it was wingman Tom Green who finally managed to split the Illawarra defense to score on the left for a 5 – 3 lead.      

The Bulls only lead of the match was short lived as Illawarra quickly responded when Bowral flyer Henry Yuill crossed in the left corner for the first of his hat-trick of tries. With the Illawarra forwards now getting the upper hand in tight two more tries came before the break.

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