NYC Raiders beat Storm in Albury Trial
Monday 11 February 2013 10:58 AM
A hat trick from dynamic centre Brenko Lee propelled the Canberra Raiders Under 20s side to a 20-16 victory over the Melbourne Storm in a keenly contested trial match at Greenfield Park, Albury last Saturday.
17 year old Lee was in fine touch during the game. Not only did he cross for three tries but he also helped set up another and caused plenty of headaches for the Storm’s left side defence throughout the entire 80 minutes with his bullocking runs.
However, the ever humble Lee was quick to attribute his great showing to his Raiders team mates.
“It was good to score three tries but it was the boys who set the platform for me” Lee said after the game “It was mainly them, I was just catching the ball and putting it down.”
The first quarter was a tight affair. Melbourne had the lion’s share of possession in the opening minutes but the Raiders defended well to repeatedly shut down a number of the Storm’s attacking opportunities close to their line.
The Raiders were the first to score in the 18th minute , when some nice lead up play from centre Jeremy Hawkins and prop Kilu Pangai deep in the Storm half saw five eighth Matt Frawley cross adjacent to left upright. Both teams opted to skip the conversions and at the end of the first quarter the Green Machine led 4-0.
The second quarter was a bit sloppy with both teams struggling to control the ball in the muggy conditions. Pangai again was impressive for Canberra during this quarter, carrying the ball strongly and threatening the Storm defensive line with some well timed offloads, one of which created a good break for halfback Rick Garard. Some questionable refereeing decisions late in the quarter saw the Storm dominate possession and take an 8-4 lead through two quick tries to interchange forward Christian Welch and winger Dane Chang.
The third quarter started poorly for the Raiders with an error at the kick off giving the Storm an attacking opportunity early on, an opportunity which they converted when Steve Liki crossed to extend Melbourne’s lead to 12-4. However, the Raiders struck back in the 49th minute when a well executed set play involving Hawkins and Lee created a try for winger Eli Roberts in the right hand corner.
Melbourne scored again in the 53rd minute when Storm forward Matt Lodge barged over the line from close range for a 16-8 score line. The Green Machine grabbed the last try of the quarter through Lee who crossed on the right hand touchline after a nice pass from Garard.
It was end to end play in the final quarter with both teams throwing the ball around and creating a number of attacking opportunities in desperate pursuit of victory. Ultimately it was the Raiders who prevailed, scoring two tries through Lee in the last 10 minutes to seal the game. Lee’s second try, which came in the 31st minute was particularly impressive. Taking the ball at second receiver, 30 metres out from the Storm line, the big centre side stepped three defenders before touching down.
Raiders coach Mick Mantelli appeared happy with his team’s performance.
“I thought we were very good” Mantelli said “We put into practice a bit of the stuff we’ve been working on at training for the last couple of weeks, which is good ”
“Our set structures were really good today”
However, he did concede that there was still room for improvement, particularly in defence.
“I think we’ve got to do a little work on our defence around the middle area, they came through us a few times quite easily. We just need to learn to defend back to back sets a bit more aggressively.”
The next hit out for the Raiders Under 20s squad will against the Bulldogs in Goulburn on Saturday 23rd of February.