Sixteen year-old five eighth Jaden Clarke showed experience isn’t everything as he led Endeavour Sports High to an impressive 36-6 win over Bass Hill in just his second game for the school at New Era Stadium on Wednesday.
Hailing from Lake Cargelligo in the state’s South West, Clarke’s bruising defence was more than worthy of man of the match honours, and Endeavour coach Dave Howlett was full of praise for his Indigenous import after the match.
“He’s a good boy and as you can see from the game today he’s a strong young fella… He’s a footballer and he contacts with and without the ball; he takes a lot to stop when he carries the ball and you know you’re tackled when he tackles you,” said Howlett.
“He also works really hard at school and is an excellent student, and he’s a good role model for all the other Koori boys in the area,” Howlett said of the youngster who also tallied an impressive 16 points in Endeavour’s first round win over Hunter Sports High.
Clarke, who’s heavy hitting was the highlight of an often-physical first half, said he was enjoying his move to the big smoke.
“It’s only my second game in the black jumper and I’m loving it, it’s good. I just came down to the city this year and it’s the best thing I’ve done,” said the Cronulla Sharks up and comer.
Not to be outdone was Clarke’s halves partner and fellow Sharks SG Ball star Nu Brown, who’s astute kicking game led directly to two of Endeavour’s first half tries and consistently provided his side with great field position.
Bass Hill were unlucky not to draw first points after having the better of the early exchanges, but it was Endeavour who struck first when centre and St George junior Brent Anderson showed a clean pair of heels to race 60 metres with an intercept try against the run of play in the 16th minute.
A try to centre partner Paul Momorovski, as well as Anderson’s second four pointer, both from pinpoint attacking kicks by Brown, sent Endeavour to the break up 14-0, and back to back tries to winger Dean Spanos and Momorovski again when play resumed blew the score out 24-0 after half an hour of play.
However with a blowout looming Bass Hill rallied, and they were rewarded for their efforts in defence with a try to prop Jake Kamire in the 38th minute, who showed some good footwork for a big man to step his way over from close range.
Late tries to Justin Dinopoulos and Sharks SG Ball prop Kurt Dillon rounded out the match for Endeavour, who now head into their final pool match against last year’s finalists Matraville Sports High with a chance to qualify for the semi finals.
For Bass Hill, they must now win both their remaining pool matches against Matraville next Wednesday and Hunter Sports High to have any hope of progressing to the next round.
Endeavour Sports High 36 (B Anderson 2, P Momorovski 2, D Spanos, J Dinopoulos, K Dillon tries; J Clarke 2, Nu Brown 2 goals) def. Bass Hill Sports High 6 (J Kamire try; F Ngatuvai goal) at New Era Stadium, Cabramatta