Rebels and Rams Qualify for Championship Decider
The Newcastle Rebels and Western Rams will fight out the 2011 AAMI Under 18's Country Championships Final after both secured victories in their semi finals in Singleton this weekend.
The Newcastle Rebels overcame an 18 - 10 half time deficit by scoring 14 unanswered points in the second half in their 24 - 18 win over the Central Hunter Power.
The Power opened the scoring after just five minutes through a converted try to Zane Rickett but the Rebels bounced back immediately through tries to Josh Morrison and Steve Widders as they took control of the match and the scoreboard with a 10 - 6 lead mid way through the first term.
The Rebels continued to apply pressure to the Central Hunter and went looking for points again when Jarrod Rotumah kicked cross field looking for his outside men. The Power's Ethan Christiansen came away with the ball and ran the length of the field to return his team to the lead. The Power extended that lead to 8 points when Jacobe Dowell crossed over from close to the line to go to the break with an 18 points to 10 advantage.
The Rebels threw evrything at the power in the early parts of the second half but struggled to turn the possession into points with the defeence of their opposition proving difficult to crack. The crack eventually appeared after a series of near misses when Hephi Hamon scored in the left hand corner to narrow the gap to just 4 points.
It was again the left hand side that proved fruitful with Josh Morrison scoring his second try of the match and when Steve Widders converted from the touchline the Rebels hit the front and never looked back.
Ryan Wood got a great reward for an outstanding performance when he crossed to seal the 24 - 18 in the dying moments sending the Rebels to Albury to defend their 2010 title.
Title favourites the Western Rams were given an early scare by the Southern Redbacks but proved too strong in the end running out 28 - 0 victors in the first semi final match. The Rams after leading 4 - 0 early found themselves defending for much of the first half but the Redbacks struggled to break their line. The weight of possession shifted to the rams in the second stanza and under immense pressure the Redbacks found their opponenets too tough to hold out eventually succumbing to a 28 - 0 defeat in their first semi final in their brief history.