ILLAWARRA BEATS QUEENSLAND IN XXXX CHALLENGE
Illawarra added another prestigious title to their collection with an emphatic 38-12 win over Gold Coast in the 2010 XXXX Challenge National final at Suncorp Stadium last night.
After leading 16-12 at half time, Illawarra produced a dominant second team performance to register 22 unanswered points.
After winning a record fourth straight NSW Country Rugby League Championship Illawarra were too clinical for their Queensland counterparts in the national final.
“It was a great performance particularly in the second half” Illawarra coach Brett Jones said.
A penalty against Illawarra in possession 20m out gave Gold coast a chance to attack and on the next set their captain and second rower John Flint crashed over for a 4-0 lead after 6 minutes. Five-eighth Cody Walker’s conversion put the Gold Coast 6-0 ahead. Illawarra forced an error deep in Gold Coast territory and halfback Blake Dureau sent second-rower James Grehan over between the posts.
B lake Dureau converted to equalise 6-all after 9 minutes. Clever play by Illawarra centre ryan Smith forced a Gold Coast line drop out but Illawarra could not capitalise on field position. Illawarra then survived a close call when the final pass went forward.
A good run up the middle by winger Joel Ruskin took Illawarra forward and they almost scored off a Blake Dureau kick but centre Ben Haran injured his AC joint in the process and had to leave the field midway through the opening term.
A heavy tackle forced a turnover and in the next set, interchange forward Faamanu Asoava scored near the posts in the 23rd minute for Blake Dureau to add the extras for a 12-6 lead.
An 80m intercept try by Gold Coast winger Scott Mulligan trimmed the margin to two points in the 28th minute.
Walker’s conversion locked up the scores 12-all. Grehan injured his ankle in the 34th minute and was helped from the field but returned kin the 62nd minute.
Quick hands across the backline resulted in a try to Illawarra right winger Sam Morath in the 37th minute for a 16-12 lead at the interval.
In the 43rd minute, back rower Brodea Sanders stretched Illawarra’s lead to 20-12 and Blake Dureau’s conversion made it 22-12. A try to fullback Nathan Dureau stretched Illawarra’s lead to 26-12 after 57th minute.
A break by Luke Muttdon on to Eamon Hillen who chip kicked ahead for Morath to score his second try for Illawarra to lead 30-12 with 10 minutes to go. Nathan Dureau passed to Hillen on half way and he raced away to score.
Joel Ruskin put icing on the cake with a try in the last minute.