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WATCH: Saints Academy end tour with victory over Panthers

Watch the highlights as Saints Academy rounded off their 2019 Academy tour of Australia with an impressive 34-22 victory over Penrith Panthers at Penrith Park on Saturday.

Saints started well as a high bomb from Lewis Dodd had Owen Blackwood charging down field and leaping high for the ball knocking it back, forcing a Penrith error as Saints had the scrum feed 15 metres from the try line.

After a smart back line play Blackwood was this time held up over the line then before the ball found Shay Martyn on the right flank and he crossed for what everyone thought was the first try, only to be denied by the touch judge who deemed his foot was on the whitewash.

A couple of plays later, Reece Sumner, Blackwood and Dodd were forcing the Panthers runners back and the ball popped out with Dodd the first to react picking up the ball and racing 12 metres to score. He then converted his own try and the score and Saints led 6-0 after just nine minutes.

A penalty was given to the Saints and once again the numbers appeared on the right hand side with Jonathan Bennison slicing through the defence and out sprinting the fullback Coroneos to the try line. A great touchline conversion from Dodd never looked in doubt and the score moved to 12-0 after just 13 minutes.

Saints were in again 10 minutes later as Lewis Baxter threw the ball out the back to Dodd who tipped on to Sumner who ran a great line, drew the full back in and passed to Jumah Sambou who scored and it was 16-0 after 27 minutes.

From the kick, as has been a common theme during the tour, the ball was allowed to bounce and it went dead forcing a goal line drop out. Saints were then on the back foot once more after giving away a cheap penalty. Penrith took full advantage of the extra tackles and smart play from Lenaz saw the hooker find their big prop with a neat short ball and he scored to the right of the posts. Russell-Smith’s kick was successful and Penrith were back in it – 16-6.

The game then went set for set up and down the field with both sides defending well and forcing errors. Then on the stroke of half time the Panthers dummy half dived over for a smart try next to the post with the conversion again successful and it was 16-12 at half-time.

Penrith then fielded a new team to start the second half that definitely tested the Saints youngsters. This game was the first on tour that was 40 minute each way – something they are used to back home, but not so far on tour as the games have only been played in 30’s.

Dodd put in a very good kick from inside his half that stopped in the Panthers in goal. Hunter brought the ball back and he set up Leyshon who jumped out of dummy half to score and it was all tied up at 16-16.

Kian Naylor was then able to get a quick play the ball and he fed Zack Lee who pumped his legs taking a few would be defenders with him before spinning in the tackle and offloading to Dodd who stepped the full back to score under the posts. Dodd converted his try. St.Helens 22 Penrith 16.

The lads took a breather again at the 20 minute mark of the second half, but from the restart a Penrith goal-line drop out saw Dodd collect and carry forward before his smart grubber saw Sumner pounce on it for a good and well needed try. The goal was converted by Dodd and after 21 mins the score was St.Helens 28 Penrith 16.

Following a Penrith error Sambou burst through from dummy half inside his own quarter and made 40 metres. Two play the balls later Dodd hit Baxter with an inside ball and he calmly drew the full back and passed to the supporting McDaid who crossed under the posts. Dodd obliged by adding the extras. 16-34 with 75 minutes played.

In the closing minutes Penrith had an attacking set in St.Helens 20m and again the hooker dived over to score under the posts, but it wasn’t enough as Saints prevailed 34-22.

Man Of the Match: Lewis Dodd / Cruise Tweedle
Best Back: Harvey McDaid / Nicholas Lenaz
Best Forward: Taylor Pemberton / Zack Hunter

Penrith first half Team

1 Caleb Coroneos
2 Kai Hillen
3 Bailey Borthwick
4 Jecii Pritchard
5 Jimmy Donnelly
6 James Ross
7 Keegan Russell-Smith
8 Issac Papalii
9 Nicholas Lenaz
10 Peter Hansen
11 David Haumono
12 Sunita Lotoaniu
13 Cruise Tweedie
14 Aden Lehn
15 Paul Afualo
16 Sione Neiufi

Penrith second half Team

1 Zack Hunter
2 Ben English
3 Angelis Hotere-Papali
4 Javae Correia
5 Ethan Duggan
6 Izaak Nasio
7 Pharell Zimmerman
8 Jack Hyde
9 Tye Leyshan
10 Kobi Borthwick
11 Mahina Taiki
12 Justice Sene
13 Riley Bax
14 Corey Friday
15 Blacke Pinchback

St.Helens Team

13.Harvey McDaid
12 Shay Martyn
7 Rio Corkill
21 Jumah Sambou
4 Owen Blackwood
3 Jonathan Bennison
8 Lewis Dodd
19 Jamie Pye
18. Taylor Pemberton
1 Cole Appleby
17 Ben O’Donnell
22 Reece Sumner
2 Lewis Baxter
23 Joe Woods
15 Daniel Moss
13 Harvey McDaid
5 Ethan Bradbury
10 Zack Lee
11 Tom Lyon
6 Harry Brooks
16 Kian Naylor
1 Kellem Rodgers
9 Ellis Keppel
14 Keenan McDaid (injured)

Weekend Summary 

Day 19…[Gameday!]

The usual game day routine was followed by a relaxed breakfast, stroll in the park, lunch, a couple of hours free time, pre-match meal then a short bus ride across Mulgoa Road to Panthers Stadium for the final match of the 2019 tour.

This is the game that is most looked forward to on all of our tours and it is always a tough encounter and this was no different. The sense of achievement and pride was felt in the changing rooms as the boys belted out the winning song one last time, and how richly it was deserved.

Head Coach Derek Traynor said: “This was a really tough game and a great way for the lads to finish off what as been a fantastic tour with a great win against a very strong opposition.”

Everyone had the opportunity to swap training kit with our opponents after the game and it’s good to know that the tour legacy will live on in Penrith with the Saints badge being displayed along side the memories that have been made. A special mention must go to Ian Jones, a Saints fan who lives over in Australia, who never misses the games and looks forward to every tour. He was presented with a special tour T-shirt as a thank you for his continued support.

The short journey home involved a quick stop at the local McDonalds, everyone taking advantage of the opportunity on offer, non more so than Ellis Keppell, who’s double Big Mac was the envy of the rest of the squad!

Day 20…

With sore bodies everywhere and no more matches to prepare for, it was a well earned lie in this morning, before we headed up to the Panthers Leagues club for an all that you can eat breakfast buffet. The delight on the boys and staff’s faces as the unlimited bacon, eggs, sausage, beans etc had replaced the usual porridge, toast and cereal!

A morning on the slides and in the pools at Sydney’s ‘Raging Waters’ (formerly Wet’n’Wild ) was a great recovery session, however, the newly enforced strict weight restrictions limited the amount of fun that could be had on the rubber ring slides!

A final visit to Darling harbour was followed by the eagerly anticipated Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. The fear of heights was apparent throughout the squad – Ben O’Donnell, Harry Brooks, Cole Appleby and Jamie Pye were especially fearful, but all managed to push through and get the job done which is a credit to them. Once completed, Shay Martyn’s reaction said it all: “That’s the best thing that I have ever done”!

A drive back to Penrith, picking up dominos pizza on the way, before the annual tour awards ceremony followed as the coaching staff awarded various prizes to the players that have impressed over the tour.

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