By Jimmy Meiklejohn
Canberra Region Wheelchair Rugby League’s (CRWRL) fourth round was held on the weekend at the Queanbeyan Indoor Sports Centre, with the White Bears team holding off a valiant Red Bears team following a strong second half showing from the White Bears.
With some players fresh off a strong representative showing for the Rolling Raiders in Shellharbour last weekend, this weekend’s clash was destined to be a good contest.
The two team captains Luke Patterson and Michael Medveczky battled off in a game of scissors, paper, rock to decide who would kick off, with Red Bears captain Medveczky coming out victorious.
After having a starring role last weekend, Zac Carl was the first to cross for the White Bears team in the seventh minute, however he was unsuccessful in his conversion, which was a sign of things to come from the White Bears team.
The opening minutes were tightly contested, with either team unable to break through some solid defensive efforts.
Briley Sentance fought back for the Red Bears team scoring next in the 13th minute, however he was also unsuccessful in his conversion, locking the scores at 4-4.
Carl would cross again for the White Bears in the 24th minute but would then miss the conversion giving his team an 8-4 lead.
Three more minutes would pass before Carl would cross again, this time passing the conversion duties to Mitchell Sentance, but he was also unsuccessful. The White Bears lead was out to 12-4.
Toby Popple would score right on the halftime siren, following a miracle kick that somehow stayed inside the field of play while dancing on the sideline, allowing him to score in the corner and give the White Bears a 16-4 lead going into half-time after he also missed his conversion.
Going into halftime, the Red Bears team were very much still in the contest following some woeful kicking by the White Bears team.
The Red Bears team started the second half strongly, with Chris O’Brien scoring in the 31st minute and nailing the conversion, a testament to the practice he has been putting in.
This would close the margin to six, however this would be as close as the Red Bears would get as the White Bears, who put their foot down in the second half.
Carl would cross for his fourth try of the day, but conversion issues were still prevalent as he missed again, meaning the White Bears were zero from five attempts putting the score at 20-10.
Popple would cross for his second try of the afternoon and after giving the conversion to Brad Burns, he slotted successfully giving the White Bears a 26-10 lead.
A minute later Popple would cross again following some clever work after a knock on to extend his team’s lead out to 30-10, with his father Kale Popple also submitting to conversion woes.
Carl would cross for his fifth of the afternoon putting the result without doubt and extending the lead out to 34-10.
Brigid Baker would be the next White Bear to have a go at converting, but she was also unable to send the ball over the goalposts.
Sentance would put the icing on the cake for the White Bears in the 55th minute and with his successful conversion gave the White Bears a 40-10 lead heading into the final moments of the game.
Final Score: White Bears 40 (Tries: Z Carl 5, T Popple 3, M Sentance; Goals: B Burns, M Sentance) d Red Bears 10 (Tries: B Sentance, C O’Brien; Goals: C O’Brien).
Carl impressed again for the White Bears, taking his season tally to 20 tries after four games.
Popple was also instrumental in the team’s win giving praise to the team’s experiences the weekend prior.
“Doing a few small drills with Brad Grove (Rolling Raiders Coach) was a huge help, but also watching the City Vs Country game and how they move definitely helped”.
It was a strong team showing from the White Bears, with all players showing improved skills and quick ball movement which proved too much for the Red Bears defence.
For the Red Bears, O’Brien was spectacular all game as were the efforts from Sentance. Amanda Carlyon was also a strong contributor, the representative experience showing in her performance.
Following a busy four-week period, the players get a deserved week off before Round five commences in a fortnight’s time
For the White Bears, some much needed practice in front of the sticks will be needed, as the Red Bears team will be hungry for their first win and missing crucial conversions could be costly.
Round Five will be held at the Queanbeyan Indoor Sports Centre on the 6th of June, with the action set to kick off at 2pm.
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