NSW Country Championships Review

May 10, 2016


Central Coast had an enjoyable weekend in Armidale at the NSW Country Championships. Both the Senior team and the Colts team put in good performances over the two days of the Championships.
The 1st XV lost both their two matches but put in very concerted effort on both days. The Colts team reached the Tier 1 Colts Final with a fantastic win over rivals New England on the Saturday before going down in the Final in a close one to Hunter by 18 points to 13. The performance by both teams was excellent, and we are hoping that it augurs well for both teams over the next few years.


Game 1           CENTRAL COAST  v. ILLAWARRA
                        Saturday, 7th May, 2016       12.50 pm

The first match started out as a very physical encounter with both teams giving it their all in the opening stages. Good defence by the Central Coast kept out the Illawarra side in the early stages. However continual attack by Illawarra saw them post the first points. A penalty goal and a converted try saw Illawarra jump to a 10 points to nil lead at the 20 minute mark. Central Coast did miss two kickable penalty shots at goal. Things were not going well at that stage. Illawarra was setting the pace but the Coast side was hanging in there. Things changed at the 27th minute when Central Coast crossed for their first try. Halfback Matt King capped off a great movement to cross under the posts. The conversion of the try by fullback Nathan Brown had reduced the lead to 10 points to 7. The remainder of the half saw Central Coast play their best rugby of the weekend. They scored a great try soon after the first. A break by team Captain Josh McGlynn saw several passes result in replacement flanker Jarrod Grange cross adjacent to the posts. It was a wonderful 50 metre try. The conversion of this try had taken the Coast side to a 14 points to 10 lead. This was to be the score at the halftime break and things were certainly looking good. Illawarra were the current Caldwell Cup Champions and were a very big team. However the second half did not start well. Illawarra quickly hit back and had crossed for a converted try within 3 minutes of the start of the half. The Central Coast team was playing good rugby however. Best players for the Coast team were flanker Sam Kenny, halfback Matt King, hooker Ethan McInnes and centre Matt Anderson. Five-eight Josh McGlynn was also directing play very well. Central Coast kicked a penalty goal at the midway point of the second stanza and the scores were level at 17 points apiece. The match was certainly up for grabs at that stage. However Illawarra proved too strong in the last quarter of the match and were able to cross for two converted tries. Central Coast gave it their all and was right in the picture for much of the game. It was disappointing to fade away towards the end but it was not for the lack of any effort.
Central Coast                        17
Matt King, Jarrod Grange tries;
Nathan Brown 2 conversions;
Jarrod Grange 1 penalty goal

lost to

Illawarra                    31
4 tries, 1 penalty goal and 4 conversions

                        Sunday, 8th May, 2016                      12.30 pm

Central Coast started this match brilliantly with a try within the opening 2 minutes. Fullback Nathan Brown scored the try and the Central Coast side had the start they wanted. Winger Mitch Clay made a long break before passing infield to Brown who raced in for a great try. This 70 metre try certainly got things off on the right foot. This 5 nil score line was quickly increased with a further two penalty goals to Nathan Brown. Central Coast led by 11 points to nil within the opening 10 minutes and things were looking great. The team was playing aggressive rugby and the benefits were flowing. Both teams played some very good rugby in the opening quarter of the match and both teams had their chances of posting points. But it was the Central Coast who led early. However Central North was not to be denied. They gradually got back into the match with two tries. With the first of these two tries converted, Central North had quickly gained the lead of 12 points to 11. It was a good game to watch as both teams were intent on spreading the ball wide. A further 2 penalty goals and a late try saw Central North go farther ahead in this half, and very quickly had jumped to a 25 points to 11 lead. They were a big team and the Central Coast team were sure they would get back into the match in the second half in the quite warm conditions. This score line of 25 points to 11 remained the score at halftime. Best players for the Central Coast were fullback Nathan Brown, lock Joe Taylor, but generally all players put in very good efforts. The second half only lasted a few minutes. A very serious leg injury to one of the Central North players resulted in the match being abandoned. Central Coast had high hopes of coming home in this match but the injury did put a dampener on the match and the players. It was a most unfortunate way to conclude the Seniors campaign.

Central Coast                        11
Nathan Brown try;

Nathan Brown 2 penalty goals

lost to

Central North            25
3 tries, 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals


Game 1           CENTRAL COAST  v. NEW ENGLAND
                        Saturday, 7th May 201          2.20 pm

In one of the best games of rugby over the weekend the Central Coast team played outstanding rugby to win this match. It was an even battle throughout but the Central Coast team played their best rugby for many years. New England opened the scoring with a converted try and this 7 – 0 lead remained the score for much of the first half. Both teams had periods of attack but good defence from both teams limited the scoring opportunities. Central Coast did cross for a try but it was disallowed due to an earlier infringement. It was proving quite frustrating for the team. Central Coast scored their first try right at the end of the half, in the 33rd minute, when their winger Mitch Starkey crossed for a good try. The try was the result of sustained pressure by the team. The score of 7 points to 5 remained the score at halftime and the match was very much on the edge. New England went further ahead at the start of the second stanza when they crossed for a converted try in the 7th minute of this half. With the scoreline at 14 points to 5 things were not looking comfortable for the Central Coast team. However, much of the remainder of the match saw the Central Coast team on the attack. They did dominate proceedings but wrong options, dropped ball, and very good New England defence were proving strong obstacles to any scoring chances. At the 12th minute centre Wade Hannell broke through and scored a very good try. This reduced the New England lead to 14 points to 10 and the result was there for the taking. Central Coast were dominating territory in the final quarter of the match, and this dominance was rewarded in the 27th minute when winger Dylan Galvin crossed for a great converted try to make the score 17 points to 14 with time running out. This remained the final score. Best players for Central Coast were centre Wade Hannell, flanker Lapana Vitale, winger Dylan Galvin and prop Dan Matthew. It was a tense and exciting match, but one which Central Coast did deserve to win. It was wonderful win and placed the team into the Tier 1 Colts final the following day against Newcastle Hunter.

Central Coast           17
Mitch Starkey, Wade Hannell, 
Dylan Galvin tries;
Jaydn Pearson 1 conversion

New England             14
2 tries, 2 conversions

Game 2           COLTS FINAL (Tier 1)
                        Sunday, 8th May, 2016          1 pm

The Central Coast team played good rugby in the opening stages of the Colts Final. It was a very even start and with the match being played in warm conditions the players knew they were in for a tough encounter. Central Coast had good periods of attack and also displayed excellent defence when required. Central Coast opened the scoring in the 5th minute when flanker Lapana Vitale broke from the scrum and scored a try wide out. This 5 points to nil lead was just what the team needed. Things were even better straight from the kickoff when Central Coast went on the attack and Dylan Galvin scored wide out. These two tries in a couple of minutes had given Central Coast a wonderful 10 points to nil lead after only 7 minutes. The remainder of the first half was an even battle but the Newcastle team were able to claw their way back into the match. They scored a try midway through the half and then scored right on the halftime break. It was most disappointing for the Coast team but the score was locked at 10 points apiece with neither side able to kick a goal in the half. The second half continued in much the same vein. Both teams kicked a penalty each to level the scores at 13 points apiece midway through this second stanza. Central Coast had several very good players in this match. These included No.8 Robert Peden, centre Alec Dark, and flankers Lapana Vitale and Owen Turner. Central Coast continued to have opportunities to post points but it was not to be. Missed penalty goals did not help, and the lineout went astray on occasions. Newcastle Hunter scored a try in the 26th minute so with under 10 minutes to go Newcastle Hunter led by 18 points to 13. Central Coast continued to attack but could not break through. They were awarded several penalties late in the game, and on one occasion were held up very close to the line. It was a heart wrenching finish but the Newcastle team were able to hold on to gain the 18-13 victory. The Central Coast team had gone so close to being NSW Country Champions. The win against New England the previous day may have taken a lot from the players, but the team put in such a great effort and were obviously shattered at the final result. The team had finished 2nd and will remain in Tier 1 and hopefully can go that one step further next year.

Central Coast                        13
Lapana Vitale, Dylan Galvin tries;

Jaydn Pearson 1 penalty goal

lost to
Newcastle Hunter      18
3 tries, 1 penalty goal

It was a mixed weekend for Central Coast Rugby Union results wise. The Colts will remain in Tier 1 next year, while the Seniors, despite playing very well, will now be playing in the Richardson Shield in 2017. Both teams were a credit to Central Coast Rugby, and the coaching staff of both teams did an excellent job.