The Canberra Region U23’s produced a dominant display to defeat the Victorian U20 Thunderbolts at AAMI Park on Friday afternoon in the World Club Challenge curtain-raiser.
With players hoping to impress Canberra Region coach Ash Barnes for a spot in the Monaro trial next month, Barnes said he was pleased with his side's performance.
“I’ve been really pleased with the effort of the boys today,” Barnes said. “They’ve given me a lot of selection headaches going forward.
“I thought it was a fantastic opportunity put on by Country Rugby League, Victorian Rugby League and Canberra Region Rugby League. The boys got a lot out of coming down here and playing in such a fantastic event and environment like this.”
A first-half blitz saw Canberra take the lead through former Victorian Thunderbolt, Will Sila as he received a cutout pass from Ryan McQueen.
Canberra continued to assert their dominance through the middle as Adam Lucas and Tevita Aroha-Tuinauvai crossed the line for four pointers.
A lapse in defence saw the Thunderbolts get on the board before halftime after their halfback Trent Toelau ran through the line to reduce Canberra’s lead.
However, Canberra put their foot on the accelerator in the second half and they extended their lead after Luke Skidmore barged his way over the line to score.
New Yass Magpies recruit, Jake McGrath scored a second-half double, with his first coming off the back of another McQueen pass.
Victoria managed two more late tries but it wasn’t enough for the home side as Canberra claimed a well-deserved 32-14 win.
The Canberra Region U23’s will take on the Group 16 U23’s next month as players from the two sides hope to make the Monaro squad for this year’s Country Championships.
Canberra Region U23’s 32 (Tries: McGrath 2, Sila, Lucas, Aroha-Tuinauvai, Skidmore; Goals: Hay 4) d Victorian U20’s Thunderbolts 14