Academy Beat Central Coast

DAY 9 – Pre-match rain looked to scupper what over the years has been an evenly contested affair at the Morrie Breen Oval in Wyong, writes Ian Talbot.

After both teams got into the arm wrestle, it was the Saints youngsters who opened the scoring with Chris Follin striding through after a well worked move.

Jordan Gibbons tagging on the extras.

Saints continued their dominance early doors with some great long range kicks keeping the ‘Coasties’ pinned in their own half.

And that early pressure paid dividends on 10 minutes.

From a scrum, Matthew Costello, with a 3 on 3, skipped out to throw a magnificent cut out pass for Gibbons stroll over.

And he bettered his try with a cracking conversion from the touchline.

After 14 minutes Central Coast got back into the game with a barnstorming run from the centre.

But a great piece of dummy half play from Brad Pinder sent Matty Lees crashing over.

Gibbons converting again to put the Tourists in control.

Coach Derek Traynor then made several substitutions to rotate his side but Central Coast scored out wide on the hooter to make it an eight point game.

The home side made a rake of changes at half time – only for Saints to start the second half the strongest and increase their lead.

After 43 minutes a well-worked right to left move saw Follin steaming in for his second following a great ball from Elliot Jenkins.

Gibbons adding his third conversion to put Saints in total control at 24-10.

Just over 10 minutes later, with a play seemingly fizzling out, a big right foot step and jinking run saw Costello beat four home defenders for a great try.

The home side didn’t give up though and after some crunching tackles and barnstorming runs worked themselves into a good position and hit back in the corner to make it 28-14.

Both teams went set for set in the final stages – and a little piece of dummy half magic saw Brad Billsborough scamper over with Lewis Furlong converting to give Saints a 34-14 victory – their second win on the tour.

Derek Traynor said: “I was really happy with the display. We managed to get all players some game time and suffered no injuries. The opposition in the next two games will be a step up in intensity and we will be ready for the challenge.

“A big well done to Elliot Jenkins for playing his first game at academy level. He showed that he is more than capable of performing at this level.

“Adam Causey also played good minutes against a good right sided Coast attack.

“Finally, Kevin Brown was a constant threat in attack. His hard yards took pressure off the forwards.”

As it happened:

  • 5 mins well worked try by the Saints sees Follin striding in, great conversion by Gibbons 6-0
  • 10 mins gone, Gibbons over in the corner straight from scrum after great work from Costello. Booming touch line conversion from Gibbons 12-0
  • 14 mins Central Coast go in at side of posts 12-6
  • 25 mins great dummy half work from Pinder sendsLlees crashing over on a great running line. Gibbons conversion 18-6
  • 40 mins Central Coast score in the corner on the hooter 18-10
  • Half Time: Saints 18 Central Coast 10
  • 43 mins Follin goes in without a hand laid on him after lovely worked right to left move – final ball off Jenkins. Gibbons impeccable 24-10
  • 54 mins great individual effort from Costello sees him beat four defenders to stretch over in the corner 28-10
  • 70 mins Central Coast go in after sustained pressure 28-14
  • 78 mins great dummy half work sees Billsborough scamper – Furlong converts 34-14


Tries: Follin (2), Gibbons, Lees, Costello, Billsborough
Goals: Gibbons (4), Furlong

Saints starting 13:

Costello; Gibbons, C.Brown, Furlong, K.Brown; Jenkins, Fairclough; Lees, Billsborough, Nzoungou, Follin, Weldon, Lewtas.

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