By Jimmy Meiklejohn
Round two of the Canberra Region Wheelchair Rugby League (CRWRL) competition went down to the wire, after a tussle at the Queanbeyan Indoor Sports Centre on Sunday.
A late Matt Collins penalty after the full-time siren put the icing on the cake for a triumphant White Bears team, however they had it far from easy following a valiant performance from the Red Bears.
After suffering a 72-10 defeat in Round one, the Red Bears showed massive signs of improvement and matched it with their White Bears opponents for the entirety of the match.
The White Bears team missing key players Jaimz Knight, Luke Patterson and Kale Popple, were the first to get on the board following Zac Carl’s try in the first minute.
An unsuccessful conversion gave the White Bears a 4-0 lead in the early stages of the contest.
Red Bears recruit Rohan Foy would be the next to score, and with the successful conversion gave the Red Bears the lead.
Foy would cross again for the Red Bears in the 17th minute and further extend their lead, to 12-4 heading up to half-time.
Carl would cross again twice more in the next nine minutes, converting once to give the White Bears a narrow 14-12 lead at the half-time break.
Opening half action was fast paced, highlighted by a tight defensive effort from both teams.
White Bears player Toby Popple was the first to score in the second half, extending the lead to 18-12, and two minutes later Carl crossed for his fourth try of the game to bring the score to 24-12.
Foy would cross again for his third try of the game, narrowing the margin to six, as the game entered its closing stages.
Red Bears continued to attack, however after some unfortunate errors were unable to level the scores.
Collins scored a long-distance penalty after the final siren had gone to give the White Bears a 26-18 victory.
Final Score: White Bears 26 (Tries: Z Carl 4, T Popple; Goals: Z Carl 2; Penalty: M Collins) d Red Bears 18 (Tries: R Foy 3; Goals: R Foy 3).
The result was a much-improved performance for the Red Bears team, despite missing Chris O’Brien.
Foy was a standout for the losing team, but was well supported by brothers Briley and Mitchell Sentence and Amanda Carlyon.
For the White Bears, they were able to overcome the loss of speedster Knight following another dominant performance by Carl.
He was supported well by Popple, Collins and the eager Caelan Cassidy who looked dangerous all game.
Increased interest in the competition has led to the likely creation of a third team, and therefore a tri-series of sorts, which will begin this coming weekend in round three.
Details of these three teams will be published during the week.
There is little time to rest for players, with the next round being played this weekend.
Round three of the CRWRL competition kicks off this Sunday 9th May at the Queanbeyan Indoor Sports Centre, with game one kicking off at 1:30pm and the second game kicking off at 2:35pm.