Steelers Advance in AAMI Park Thriller
By Tate Spiteri
The ISC NRL Victoria 9s competition kicked off in dramatic fashion last night with the Doveton Steelers defeating Northern Thunder 20-18 in a pulsating affair at AAMI Park.
The match was not decided until the final kick of the game after an after the siren try to Northen’s Alfred Faofua gave the Thunder a chance to tie the game.
Interestingly, had the Thunder completed the conversion to tie the game they would have advanced to the next stage of the competiton.
In the event of a draw the team who scores first advances, meaning Elias Sila’s opening minute try would have been the difference maker.
The win can only be described as a dodged bullet for the Steelers given they had possession when the siren blew for full time and a 20-14 lead in tact.
Failure to kill the ball however resulted in a shock turnover granting the Thunder a dramatic final play that through crisp wide passing and the full use of the ground they managed to score from.
Relieved Doveton coach Shane Wisnesky admitted after the game that the heart was in the mouth during the final stages of the dramatic win.
“The boys will learn a lot from that”
“We loved playing here, and can’t wait to be back” he said.
Wisnesky nominated hooker Semiti Ruanaivalu as his standout performer while winger James Stednik also impressed.
RJ Hinaki’s pinpoint, swingng conversion kick from the AAMI Park sideline following Casimiar Niupulusu’s daring run and important second half try would eventually prove the two point difference the Steelers needed.
Centre Esoto Mulipola who was forced to leave the ground after having his shirt ripped to pieces in the second half described the chance to play at AAMI Park again as the main motivation behind the stirring win.
“Its an amazing opportunity, hopefully next time I can score a try” he said.
The Steelers will have to wait until the 1st of April to find out whether they will face the Altona Roosters or Werribee Bears in the Semi Final.
The Semi-Final will be played again at AAMI Park as a curtain raiser to the Storm v Parramatta game on the 8th of July.
Doveton Steelers (Tauai ‘3, Sao-Mofoti ‘6, Niupulusu ’12, Stednik ’14)
Northern Thunder (Sila ‘1, Ranapia ‘8, Uli ’16, Faofua ’19)
Doveton Steelers (Sao-Mofoti 1/1, Hinaki 1/1)
Northern Thunder (Ranapia 1/1)