A two-try second half effort left the Vodafone Junior Warriors just short of a comeback win in Saturday’s 11th-round Jersey Flegg Cup match against St George Illawarra at Belmore Sports Ground.
In their last outing before the competition’s enforced two-week break, the Vodafone Junior Warriors had pushed the high-flying Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks all the way in a 10-16 loss.
On Saturday they found themselves down 0-10 at halftime but rebounded impressively with second half tries to halfback Paul Turner and wing Patrick Elia only to lose 10-14. It was the team’s fourth close loss this season.
The Vodafone Junior Warriors finished the match behind on the scoreboard but ahead in a number of areas, making slightly more metres than the Dragons (1434-1397) and more line breaks (4-2) while missing fewer missed tackles (24-41) but their completion rate was just 64 per cent.
They didn’t want for individual contributions with the back five all making more than 100 metres, centre Tom Ale with 151 and fullback Kayal Iro 148. Posting the most tackles were back rowers Havi Tupouniua (40), Tyler Slade (32) and Preston Riki (30).
The Vodafone Junior Warriors are on the road again this Saturday when they face the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in Sydney.
At Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney
St George Illawarra Dragons 14 (Jiye Ellis 2, Cooper Purcell tries; Jackson Willis conversion).
Vodafone Junior Warriors 10 (Paul Turner, Patrick Elia tries; Eiden Ackland conversion).
Halftime: 10-0 Dragons.
Referee: Cameron Turner.
Vodafone Junior Warriors | Kayal Iro; Patrick Elia, Tom Ale, Carlos Henry, Elijah Sufia; Eiden Ackland; Paul Turner; Soane Hufanga (c), Lewis Sio, Wesley Veikoso; Tyler Slade (c), Havi Tupouniua; Preston Riki. Interchange: Sheldon Rogers, Sione Tuipulotu, Lotu Inisi, Harley Maynard.