GIO Schoolboys Cup: Westfields Sports High v Erindale College
Westfields Sports High continued its impressive start to the GIO Schoolboy Cup, overpowering a depleted Erindale side 42-6 in their second round pool match at Kippax Oval on Thursday.
With a star-studded forward pack featuring NSW U/18’s prop Kelepi Tanginoa, as well as a host of SG Ball representatives, Westfields proved far too strong for the hosts, who lost both their starting props within the first ten minutes.
Westfields opened the scoring early in the third minute, with winger Nathan Rumsby scooting across untouched off the back of a barnstorming 30-metre break by Souths SG Ball prop Solomona Laulu.
Both Laulu and Tanginoa repeatedly punched holes in the Erindale defence, with five-eighth Guston Jasmin benefitting from his forwards dominance when he stepped his way over from short range in the 14th minute. Fullback Jordie Hedges converted to stretch the lead to ten, and from the next set of six the pair combined in an impressive kick chase move that had shades of Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater about it, as Hedges pounced on Jasmin’s pin point grubber to take the score to 16-0.
Erindale had fallen into the trap of trying to match the much bigger Westfields pack early, but began to work their way back into the contest with repeat sets approaching half time, and found reward for their efforts through a barge over try from dummy half by hooker Tommy Katene, which was then converted by centre Luke Heyman to reduce the deficit to 16-6.
Following the break Erindale remained competitive, with young Kiwi Jared McIlwrick in particular troubling Westfields, and should have added more points but for a few inopportune errors in attack. Eventually though, the loss of two starting forwards combined with the extra defensive workload caught up with the Canberrans, and a fine juggling touchdown by Westfields centre Tui Oloapu, followed by a simple try to fellow three-quarter and man of the match Siope Aukafolau blew the score out to 26-6 in the 39th minute.
With the match beyond doubt the western Sydney side unleashed, as the Westfields backline gladly capitalised on some impressive offloads and second phase play from their forwards with some brilliant razzle-dazzle footy to run in three tries in the final four minutes, the highlight of which was a length of the field team effort that involved seven pairs of hands before big man Matthew Waterhouse crashed over as the siren sounded.
Westfields will next face the red-hot Holy Cross side in what looms as a showdown for progression through to the semi finals, while Erindale travel to Wollongong in search of their first win of the season against Illawarra Sports High.
Westfields Sports High 42 (N Rumsby 2, G Jasmin, J Hedges, T Oloapu, S Aukaloau, B Cox, M Waterhouse tries; J Hedges 4, T Oloapu golas) def. Erindale 6 (T Katene try; L Heyman goal) at Kippax Oval, Canberra