Victoria Under 12's Finish 4th
Victoria U/12 National Championship
The Victorian U/12 boys have unfortunately finished just outside the medal positions, grabbing 4th position in the competition at Casey Fields last week.
The group had the difficult task form the outset, being placed in the top pool with powerhouses Queensland and New South Wales, who finished winners and runner-up respectively.
In the first game, the boys faced New South Wales invitational, and despite being under dogs in their group, they played with great intention and skill with an upset brewing.
Despite leading at half-time in what was a wet and windy encounter, the boys were unable to hold off the power of NSW invitational, ending the game with a 22-all draw. While the result was disappointing, given the position that they were in, it gave the rest of the competition indication that Victoria were here to play, and that they could match it with the powerhouses.
In their next game, it was a much different story, unable to capture any of that form in that first game, with the conditions being too dismal, and the opposition being too powerful, losing 40-0.
Coach, Jason Beach, was proud of the efforts the boys were able to produce when faced with adversity, “Whenever we had a bad game, the boys were able to regroup and get up for the next game and put in a really strong performance, which is something I was really proud of.”
This was the case after a poor performance against New South Wales, with a much stronger outing against Queensland. It was a learning curve for the team, conceding 16 points in the first half, it looked like another heavy defeat. However, the boys dug deep and defended exceptionally well in the second half, limiting the Queensland side to just one try. They ended up losing 20-0, placing them last in the group before the Finals began.
The Quarter Finals was a massive mental test for the young group, facing ACT and being down 10-0 with 10 minutes remaining, the boys had to find some motivation to get over the line.
However, as Coach Beach explained earlier, the boys just somehow find a way, and this was no exception. In the best performance of the competition, the boys were able to scrap together two tries, with hooker Clayton Tapelu crossing both times, giving Victoria a 12-10 win.
This win was a real morale booster for the group, winning their first game of the competition, and motivation for coming up against Queensland in the semi-finals.
The boys were able to hit the scoreboard first, courtesy of Frankleen Newah-Jarfoi, giving the boys belief of a possible upset. Queensland were able to hit back and regain the lead heading into half-time up 14-6. Queensland were able to score twice more before another set play help set up Frankleen with his second try of the game. Unable to finish the job, the boys ended up losing 26-12 in a much stronger performance against the best team in the competition.
This loss placed them in the match-up for the bronze medal against NSW Invitational, with a chance to sneak into a medal chance. However, with a long week drawing to a close, it seemed the fatigue had set in with the boys unable to regain any form from the previous two games, losing out 16-0, and finishing fourth in the competition.
Clayton Tapelu was awarded Victoria’s Player of the Championships, polling 29 votes, while Phoenix Estall [22 votes] and Joel Hill [17 votes] followed in second and third respectively.
Victoria 22 -22 NSW Invitational [Group Match]
Victoria 0 – 40 NSW [Group Match]
Victoria 0 – 20 QLD [Group Match]
Victoria 12 – 10 ACT [Quarter-Final]
Victoria 12 – 26 QLD [Semi-Final]
Victoria 0 – 16 NSW Invitational [Bronze Medal Match]