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  • David Graham


MacKillop Saints rally late in Second Half to keep Eels Cup Campaign on track.

MacKillop Saints have continued their unbeaten start to the 2018 Parramatta Eels Cup campaign with a hard-fought draw. The game, which featured arguably the teams to beat in 2018 was not a disappointment. Determined to start on a more positive footing the Saints’ forwards did no wrong as they continually battered the Casuarina line in the early exchanges. Completions and kick chases served the Saints well as they crossed the line early with an agile scoot near the line by Hooker Nathan Dixon. Converting his own try, Dixon put the Saints in front by 6, where they stayed for the duration of the 1st Half.

The remainder of the half saw the ball move back and forth and MacKillop seemingly had the upper hand on a determined, yet depleted Colts outfit. At the break both Coaches talked competitions and sensible decision making, yet it was Casuarina College that returned to the field ready to play. In an unprecedented fight back, Casuarina crossed the line twice to score 12 unanswered points within 5 minutes to turn the game on its head. Frustration crept into the MacKillop side as ball handling and rushed passes seemingly invited a tired Casuarina right back into the contest. It would be full back Stepheno George to ‘steady the ship’ at the 40-minute mark, with Harry Price successfully converting to bring the game back to even keel. (Saints 12 – 12 Colts).

In echoes of Round 1, Casuarina successfully crossed the line with mere minutes left on the clock, however failed to convert with the ball bouncing off the left upright. MacKillop would strike next, with some fancy footwork and dummy passes by number six Philip Vo, levelling the scores at 16 apiece. That would be the last time in the game Saints completed a set, with ball handling errors ruling out the chance of a win. The Colts capitalised on this, completing repeated sets of six on the MacKillop line. With determination and a little luck, MacKillop was able to hold out the Colts and the game finished in a draw. (Saints 16 – 16 Colts).

Rugby League Director, David Graham said of the match, "We had our opportunities, the game was ours for the taking…However we failed to deliver at critical stages. We will be reviewing the game and working hard to make sure our team delivers for the full 50* minutes”. Coach Matthew Sharp, whilst frustrated is confident he has the personnel to get the job done; "Today was a tough game, whilst disappointing not to get the win it wasn’t the worst result in the world, however it’s not what we had hoped for. We have some work to do. We’ll fix our problems and come back stronger next week”. Eels Cup Round 3 will see MacKillop take on long-time rivals Katherine High School to a secure valuable top 2 finish in the pool rounds.

*Parramatta Eels Cup fixtures are 2 x 25min halves.

Parramatta Eels Cup Rd 2: Wednesday 9th May, 4:00pm

HALF TIME SCORE: MacKillop Saints 6 – 0 Casuarina Colts FULL TIME SCORE: MacKillop Saints 16 – 16 Casuarina Colts

TRY SCORERS: Stepheno George, Nathan Dixon, Philip Vo CONVERSIONS: Nathan Dixon 1/1, Harry Price 1/2. MAN OF THE MATCH: Campbell Smith

MacKillop Saints: Most Valuable Players 1 pt. Jackson Chisholm 2 pts. Jayden Hunter 3 pts. Stepheno George 4 pts. Campbell Smith

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