The 2016 season started on Saturday for the Canberra Raiders SG Ball and Harold Matthews teams. Both teams put in spirited performances against tough opposition from the Western Sydney Academy of Sport.
Canberra 40 (S Finnegan 2, S Ketia-Opo 2, J Simbiken 2, S Kris tries; Ketia-Opo 5 goals) bt WSAS 12 (A Myles, S Taufua tries; B Hands 2 goals)
The runaway victory was a great result for SG Ball coach Dean Souter after a long and gruelling pre-season.
"We started slowly on the weekend and ended up 12 nil behind in the first 15 minutes. This obviously wasn’t the start we wanted but the team re-grouped and got down to business. The team led at the break 18-12 in a gritty display to get the game back under their control," Souter said.
"The second half demonstrated what the boys can accomplish when they stay on point and players do their job. Each individual knowing what their role is on field is key to the team making progress and getting good outcomes.
"For this time of the season we were happy with the result and the game gave us plenty of information about where we are at the moment. Our job now as a group is to try and build some momentum and keep working hard on our development.
"Thanks to all the local people that came down to support the teams, it really made a big difference to the boys."
Canberra 12 (J Church 3 tries) drew WSAS 12 (A Vaiotu, L Heku tries; Z Duclos 2 goals)
Harold Matthews coach Adam Kyle was happy with his sides performance on the weekend.
"To start the season with a draw is a really positive start. WSAS came here ready to play and we were slightly off the pace with some uncharacteristic errors. I was very proud of the boys and the way we kept in the contest. It's a massive chance to walk away with lots to learn," Kyle said.
"Our defence was outstanding the boys at times were off their feet and in really hot weather I couldn't have been more happy with the way we kept getting our bodies in front.
"Our attack looked really sharp at times and with a little more composure and willingness to trade sets the result could have been different.
"This week will be a focus on making sure we respect the football and composure under pressure. The game on the weekend was a great learning curve and we look forward to bouncing back this weekend against SWSAS."
SG Ball: Perth v Canberra, Curtin University, Saturday 20 February 2016 11.00 am
Harold Matthews: SWSAS v Canberra, Kirkham Oval, Saturday 20 February 2015 1.30 pm