Australian Schoolboys - Game 3


Australian Schoolboys defeated Leeds Academy at Headingley on Tuesday, December2nd in a seesawing contest before a crowd of 1840 fans. It was an excellent hitout for the Australian team in the last game before the First test against the England Academy.

Leeds won the toss and kicked off to the Australians, who played a safe set out, followed by a kick from Troy Dargan that was made effective by a fast chase by a good line of green and gold jerseys. Early on in the game, the Australians received an offside penalty 35 metres out from the Leeds line, and after a couple of hitups Ash Nisbet nearly went in from a Dargan pass.

Five minutes in to the game, Leeds received a penalty for holding down in the tackle, and threatened the line, but a try saving tackle from Connor Tracey kept the line intact. Leeds continued on the attack, but conceded a penalty for obstruction. From this, with a kick and good hitups, the Australians worked up to half way. On the right side,10 metres in from the sideline, Connor Tracey’s short pass found Ray Stone on a strong inside line run. He shrugged off two defenders, then, at the 20 metre line, drew the fullback before passing to Jacob Liddle backing up inside. Liddle scored beneath the posts, and Tracey converted for Australia to lead   6 – 0.

Five minutes later, Tracey again instigated a move for the Australians. On the last tackle, on the half way line, Tracey dummied and ran through a hole to the Leeds 30m line. Liddle was again backing up on the inside, and took the pass, then stood in the tackle to try to offload. He popped it back to Gideon Gela who stopped, dropped the ball onto his foot and chipkicked from centerfield to the left wing, where John Olive caught the ball on the full to race over in the corner. The try was unconverted, so Australia’s lead remained 10 - 0.

From the kick off, Australia’s tight players brought the ball back strongly for three tackles, and got the ball to the half way line. The ball went left to Dargan, then Nisbet, who drew the defender and sent Keenan Yorston on a break. He drew the winger and passed to Olive, then stayed alive to get the pass back from olive and score 10 metres to the left of the posts. Tracey converted to take the score to 16 – 0.

Again from the kick off, Australia’s tight players Darryn Schonig and Tom Amone had strong carries and got the ball to the 40m line. The ball was shifted left to Dargan whose inside pass put Gela through another hole. He burst through it, accelerated, and skipped and jumped around the fullback 30 metres out and raced away to score beneath the posts. Tracey again converted and Australia led 22 – 0. At this stage the Leeds defence was struggling to cope, and the Australians clearly had all the momentum.

However this started to change when some errors crept in to the game on both sides. Jacob Host dropped the ball as he was getting up to play it, but when Leeds got the ball from the resultant scrum, Host regained possession by forcing a turnover with his tackle. Australia then lost the ball again. This allowed Leeds to start to create some pressure. They made a break when a kick ricocheted to one of their players, then they almost went over but the attacker was held up by Nisbet. Leeds gained a “six again” call, but almost immediately dropped the ball. Australia contributed to the pressure by dropping the ball again, and the crowd suddenly became a vocal part of the game, calling for and getting a couple of penalties.

On 31 minutes, massed Australian defence pushed a Leeds winger over the sideline, and a number of players ran over to instigate a push and shove. Nothing much came of it, but a player from each side was sin binned as a result.

At 36 minutes, Troy Dargan was taken out late after kicking long, but Leeds received a penalty for the catcher being touched while in the air. From that penalty, after a couple of hitups, Leeds chipped over the top while 30m out. One chaser leapt up and knocked the ball back to fall into the arms of Ashton Golding, who scored beneath the posts. Jordan Lilley’s conversion reduced the lead to 22 – 6.

The Australians replied just before half time, though. Hame Sele’s strong run took the ball back to half way, before it went left to Dargan, who slanted left, used a show and go, and ran to the 20m line, where he drew the fullback and found Nat Butcher on the inside. Butcher took the pass and scored under the posts. Tracey again converted to give the Australians a 28 – 6 lead at half time.

Leeds started the second half in an impressive fashion. Two soft penalties got them deep downfield. They got to the 20m line, moved the ball left for a tackle before shifting it backto the centre, where Robbie Mulhern took on one tackler and flick passed to Ben Frankland who scored unopposed beneath the posts. Lilley again converted and Leeds crept closer, 28 – 12.

From the kick off, Leeds brought the ball into strong Australian defence, and received another penalty, 40m from their goal line. A good kick put them in an attacking position on the left. They moved the ball to the centre before putting on a set play with plenty of decoy runners. Josh Walters found himself through a hole but was cut down in a good tackle. From his play the ball, though, they again went right and Lilley threw a cutout pass to send Tommy Brierley over 10m in from the corner. Lilley again converted to narrow the gap to ten points, 28 – 18.

The next fifteen minutes became a midfield stalemate dominated by the commitment and strength of both defences, and frequent mistakes by both attacks, which kept turning the ball over to the opposition. Leeds started to change this when a soft penalty gave them possession, and a kick and a break put them near the Australian line. Twice they force a “six again” call, but the Australians held out, and eventually forced a dropped ball.

At the 22 minute mark of the second half, a Leeds forward pass on halfway ceded possession. Tyrell Fuiamaono used his strength to make a break on the right, and a quick play the ball allowed for another half break by Connor Tracey. Jayden Brailey at dummy half took the ball right again down the short side to put Latrell Mitchell in to score 5m in from the corner. The try was unconverted and Australia went to a 32 – 18 lead.

Ten minutes later, Leeds were strongly on the attack near the Australian try line after a good break. A forced pass meant the ball hit the deck, to be scooped up by Mitchell on the fly. Chased by a squadron of defenders, Mitchell ran 80 metres, ducking and weaving and trying to shake off his chasers. Just as he was swamped, he threw a lofted pass to support players, but it went to ground and was collected by a Leeds player who raced the ball back in the opposite direction. They kicked through again and went close to scoring, but a spilt ball allowed the players and the crowd to catch their breath.

The Australians then worked their way back to the 40m mark, and from a play the ball, passed to Liddle, now playing five eighth, who used a show and go and pace to get outside his man with a left slanting run. His burst of 30m got him to the fullback ,who he drew before passing to Ash Nisbet, again backing up on the inside, and he went over to score just to the left of the posts. Tracey’s conversion took the score to 38 – 18.

With two minutes to go and nothing to lose, Lilley chip kicked just inside his own half for Brierley, who caught and passed in one movement before passing inside to another player who then found Walters who scored next to the posts. Lilley’s conversion created the full time score of 38 – 24.

The weather was the coolest yet experienced, crisp and clear and 2 degrees, but that didn’t detract from the warm glow of the crowd who basked in the spectacle of a well contested clash in a famously historic venue. On to the First Test!

Australian Schoolboys 38 (Jacob Liddle, John Olive, Keenan Yorston, Gideon Gela, Nat Butcher, Latrell Mitchell, Ash Nisbet tries Connor Tracey 5 Goals) Defeated Leeds Academy 24 (Ashton Golding, Ben Frankland, Tommy Brierley, Josh Walters tries Jordan Lilley 4 goals)


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