Wigan sustained an injury in the second minute, after a forward attempted to tackle Aussie captain Luciano Leilua. Just after this, Australia received a penalty on the half way to go on the attack, and then gain a repeat set, but the Wigan defence held firm. Wigan received a penalty in the 3rd minute after a little help from the crowd. They received another penalty at the 5th minute for a flop, however they lost momentum when they dropped the ball ten metres out from the Australian line. Australia made good ground and gained a repeat set at 7 minutes from a Brock Lamb kick. From this Tyrell Fuimiano made a good break to keep up the pressure.
At the 9th minute Jacob Host was tackled on the line after a strong run. The ball was then shifted wide to the left where Brock Lamb put Connor Cox over in the corner. Brock Lamb was unerring with the conversion for Australia to lead 6-0.
At the 12th minute Australia was rushed into a hurried kick, but a good chase by Connor Cox forced a dropped ball. At the 15th minute Wigan regained the ball after a Latrell Mitchell knock on just inside his own half. Wigan maintained possession with an 18th minute penalty against Leilua 40 metres out from the Australian line. They moved the ball left to the middle of the field, where a late ball at the line from Wigan #1 put their #6 through for a break with pace and a step to go around Mitchell and score 10 metres to the left of the posts. The conversion by #7 allowed Wigan to draw level at 6-6.
The Wigan #6 took advantage of the slope at the 22nd minute to kick a clever40-20. On the last tackle, the ball was again in the hands of #6, who put an angled kick left into the corner for #3, who won a chase for the ball to score 15 metres in from the corner. The conversion by #7 took Wigan to a 12-6 lead.
At 28 minutes, Australia’s disorganised finish to a set led to a turnover, and this was exacerbated by a penalty against Fuimaiono for a tackle to the head. Another mistake came in the 30th minute when Keegan Hipgrave dropped the ball in a crunching tackle.
A good Wigan break down the left wing at 31 minutes ended with a kick which went into touch, but the scrum was awarded to Wigan. They worked the ball to the right, made 10 metres, and came back to the left for the #6 to deliver a great pass to the centre to put the winger, #14 in just in from the post. The try was unconverted – Wigan led 16-6.
At the 36th minute Ray Stone was penalised for an alleged hit on the kicker, on the report of a touch judge, who during the day kept himself very busy. The resultant penalty from 20 metres out was followed by another against Hipgrave for a high tackle 10 metres out and right in front of the posts. The attempt from #7 was successful, and Wigan took an 18-6 lead into half time.
Australia completed a much more impressive defensive set to start the second half, which meant they got the ball back on the half way line. The set was completed with a repeat set from a Jack Cogger kick, and the Australians were suddenly starting to build pressure. This led to another penalty to Australia on the Wigan line on the last tackle. However, the touch judge then found a penalty to go against the Australians in possession while 5 metres out. The kick took Wigan to 30 metres out, but Australian defence held well again.
At 7 minutes into the half, the Australians were pressuring well, and threatened down the right, but strong defence put the ball carrier into touch. At 15 minutes, Mitchell shrugged off defenders and made a great break down the centre, finding Lamb in support, who passed to Troy Dargan, but he was swamped by defenders. He tried to get a pass away, but it was knocked down by a defender. From the ensuing scrum, Mitchell made a break to score under the posts. Lamb’s conversion made it Wigan 18-12.
At the 17 minute mark, an exchange between players led to one player from each team being sent off, and another Australian sin binned. A penalty to Australia was reversed, and Wigan went on the attack, but the depleted Australian defence held solid. Possession went back to Australia, and the forwards made some impressive ground, so that a long kick was effective in putting pressure on Wigan. Hame Sele then stole the ball a tackle and went on a 30 metre run downfield. The ball was then moved left to Mitchell, who passed long to Keenan Yorston who scored 15 metres in from the corner. Lamb was again assured with the conversion, to bring the scores level to 18-18. In retrospect, this was the turning point in the game.
At the 21st minute of the half, Braden Robson stripped the ball from a player who had taken a high kick from Australia. The ball was moved to the left side, and Ray Stone almost scored. Then Dargan passed to Nat Butcher who went over from close range near the left post, and Lamb again converted for a 24-18 lead.
At the 30 minute mark, passes under pressure from Dargan to Lamb to Mitchell put John Olive on a 50 metre run. After a couple of tackles on the right, the ball went quickly left Yorston to again score in the corner. Lamb again converted from wide out for a 30-18 lead.
After 37 minutes of the second half, a handover to the Australians on half way was followed by a 10 metre run to the left. A couple of passes right to Fuimaiono led to a 25 metre run by him to beat a number of defenders and score 10 metres to the right of the posts. Brock Lamb kept up to keep his 100% record, and take the game to the final score of 36-18.
Wigan were impressive opponents, with a number of players who could use the ball skillfully, while their defence was committed and energetic. The Australians started slowly, and frequently threatened to gain momentum without really gaining dominance until well into the second half.
Australian Schoolboys 36 (Keenan Yorston 2, Connor Cox, Latrell Mitchell, Nat Butcher, Tyrell Fuimainono tries, Brock Lamb 6 goals) defeated Wigan Academy 18. Crowd, 1239
Last Modified on 22/04/2015 10:27