The Mounties held off the North Sydney Bears in a tight 18-16 victory at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After a fairly even start to the match, the Mounties opened the scoring ten minutes into the match. Quick ball movement from the right of the field to the left saw Mitch Barnett run through a sizeable hole in the Bears’ defence.
The Mounties had their second try of the afternoon only a few minutes later when Glen Buttriss passed the ball to a rampaging Luke Bateman. Only two meters out, the prop steamrolled his way over the try line to make it 10-0.
The two sides continued to battle valiantly for the rest of the half. Despite Jarrad Kennedy, Waqa and Ottio linking up nicely on the Mounties’ right edge, no further points were scored in the first half.
Shortly after the interval, Lachlan Croker looked to have scored the first try of the second half. However, the youngster’s’ efforts were in vain as an obstruction was called.
The Bears’ forwards were physical throughout the match and they lead the way as North Sydney stormed back into contention. The Bears had their reward in the 52nd minute when Patrice Siolo barged through three defenders to score North Sydney’s first try of the afternoon.
With twenty minutes to go, Kato Ottio once again showed his freakish athletic talent. Last play of the set, Maurice Kennedy kicked a high ball across field. Although there didn’t look to be too much danger, Ottio soared above the Bears’ defenders plucking the ball out of the air to score a sensational try.
Bears’ captain Ed Murphy kept his team within striking distance of the Mounties with a four-pointer in the right-hand corner of the field. An unsuccessful conversion meant that the Mounties had a 16-10 lead with 14 minutes remaining.
The Mounties had a golden opportunity to go more than a converted try ahead when given a penalty in front of the posts. Unfortunately, Lachlan Croker’s effort went wide.
Despite the setback, the Mounties were awarded another penalty in a similar position only minutes later. Maurice Kennedy made no mistake from the tee, extending the Mounties’ lead to more than a converted try.
The Mounties were in for a nervy finish when North Sydney winger Tautalatasi Tasi scored in the corner. Despite a difficult sideline conversion, Eli Levido made no mistake to reduce their deficit to two points.
With the tension building, Mitch Barnett threw himself at the ball to gather Levido’s chip. The effort from the second-rower meant that the Mounties were able to hold on to win a hard-fought match.
Mounties 18 (Barnett, Bateman, Ottio Con Phelps 1/2 Duggan 1/1 Pen Croker 0/1 M. Kennedy 1/1) defeated Bears 16 (Siolo, Murphy, Tasi Con Levido 2/3)