Assistant coach George Carmont made a dramatic try-scoring comeback in the Vodafone Warriors’ second round New South Wales Cup loss to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground in Sydney today.
In a contest in which the lead changed no fewer than six times, the Bulldogs held on to win 26-18 but the story of the match was the return by former Samoa, Newcastle and Wigan centre Carmont, who turns 37 in June.
After ending his Super League playing days with Wigan at the end of the 2012, he was intent on retirement although he trained briefly with the Vodafone Warriors when they began their offseason training programme for the 2013 season.
Aucklander Carmont, known as ‘Chicken George’ and ‘Gorgeous George’ in his playing days, made 83 NRL appearances for Newcastle (2004-07) and 154 for Wigan (2008-12), scoring 113 tries in total. He also represented Toa Samoa.
Today he was brought into a reshuffled NSW Cup line-up for the Vodafone Warriors battle with the Bulldogs.
Jarrod Tua, originally named in the centres, moved onto the wing to make way for Carmont while Willie Peace, named to start on the wing, was switched to the bench. Charlie Gubb didn’t travel after initially being selected to make his comeback from a foot injury.
After conceding an early try, the Vodafone Warriors recovered through an Upu Poching try and Api Pewhairangi’s conversion to lead 6-4.
They again fell behind but Pewhairangi scored and converted for a 12-8 halftime lead.
Once more the Bulldogs edged ahead 14-12 early in the second half before ‘Chicken George’ provided an even more memorable touch to his comeback story by scoring a try which handed his side the lead yet again, Pewhairangi’s conversion making it 18-14.
There was to be no fairytale ending, though, with the Bulldogs hitting the front 20-18 and crossing in the final moments for a 26-18 victory.
The Bulldogs opened their season last week with a 20-26 loss to Penrith while the Vodafone Warriors beat Carmont’s old Newcastle club 26-18.
After two consecutive games on the road, the Vodafone Warriors will be part of a tripleheader treat for the club’s first home game day of the season at Mount Smart Stadium today week (March 21). On a day starting with the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ NYC clash against the Eels (12.45pm kick-off), the New South Wales Cup side faces Wentworthville (2.45pm kick-off) followed by the NRL contest between the Vodafone Warriors and the Eels starting at 5.00pm.
Match details | Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26 (Corey Thompson, Tyrone Phillips, Levi Dodd, Jarrod McInally, Lindon McGrady tries; Chase Stanley 3 conversions).
Vodafone Warriors 18 (Upu Poching, Api Pewhairangi, George Carmont tries; Api Pewhairangi 3 conversions).
Halftime: 12-8 Vodafone Warriors.
Referee: Scot Nicholls.
Vodafone Warriors: Viliami Kaveinga; Saula Solomona, Dominique Peyroux, George Carmont, Jarrod Tua; Api Pewhairangi, Sam Cook; Suaia Matagi, Siliva Havili, Sebastine Ikahihifo; John Palavi (c), Sione Lousi; Raymond Faitala-Mariner. Interchange: David Bhana, Upu Poching, Willie Peace, Nathaniel Peteru.