Match Report: Mounties beat Bears in Central Coast thriller
Mounties have defeated the North Sydney Bears in a thriller at Central Coast Stadium, in a match which was defined by the battle of the hookers.
Craig Garvey (Mounties) and Robbie Farah (North Sydney) were outstanding for their respective sides, laying on multiple tries each and taking control of the game at various stages.
Mounties started the game quickly - and while the Bears fought back, the early lead was enough to see them leave the Central Coast with two competition points.
Match: Bears vs Mounties
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Off the back of a penalty and a forced dropout, Mounties hit the lead early when Tyler Cornish drifted wide before turning the ball into Mikaele Ravalawa, who forced his way through a hole to score the first points.
The Bears had the next chance when Adam Doueihi put in a grubber for himself and almost re-gathered, but Mounties were next to strike thanks to some brilliant vision from Craig Garvey, who noticed that former Bear Ed Murphy unmarked on the wing and threw a beautiful cut-out ball for him.
While the last try was a touch of class, the next was pure strength and will from Henry Raiwalui as he took the Bears defence on and simply wrestled the ball down to the turf that increased their lead to 16-0.
Doueihi wasn't going to be denied the next time he got an opportunity, scoring a much needed try for the Bears off the back of a penalty to reduce the deficit back to 10, and that score remained at the end of the first half after a missed penalty goal attempt from Mounties.
The first 15 minutes of the second half was a scoreless tight tussle, but it would be Billy Brittain to first trouble the scorekeeper since the break when he darted through a hole at close-range under the posts.
Four points was not the deficit for long, however, as Garvey weaved his magic at the other end of the field when he drew a defender and put Intrust Super Premiership NSW debutant Corey Horsburgh in a hole.
Farah made it three try-assists in a row to a hooker, when he jumped out of dummy-half and played short to Ky Rodwell who crashed over to keep the Bears alive.
The North Sydney attack looked to make the most of their newfound momentum and threw all they had at the opposition, but Mounties' defence held strong; After a frantic final period, the Ryan Carr-coached side came away with a 22-18 victory.
Mounties 22 (M Ravalawa, E Murphy, H Raiwalui, C Horsburgh tries; S Moceidreke 3 goals) def North Sydney Bears 18 (A Doueihi, B Brittain, K Rodwell tries; D Hawkins 3 goals)