IT’S been a horror week for Leeton, but the Phantoms reversed their fortunes at Beres Ellwood Oval on Saturday.
The Phantoms paid tribute to Stephanie Scott with a minute’s silence prior to their game against Ag College, before coming away with a 25-15 win.
Ag College were up early, but didn’t take the most of its chances and the Phantoms punished them in the second half.
With the scores looked at 8-all at half-time, it was the Phantoms who scored the first two tries after the break as they pounced on the mistake-prone Aggies.
When Farrel Maota scored Leeton’s third try the perfect start to the season took shape.
However, Ag College hit back three plays later when Rob Wiltshire scored to give his team a chance of mounting a late comeback.
Any comeback was quickly snuffed out by Andrew Qio, after he scored in the corner in the dying minutes.
After an ordinary season in 2014, the Phantoms started in the best possible fashion.
With plenty of new faces, including new co-coach Seru Rogo, Leeton were on song early.
With only one win to their names last season the changes made throughout the off-season had an immediate affect.
Co-coach Liam Ward couldn’t be happier with how his team started the season.
“It’s an excellent way to start the year off,” Ward said.
“We had a lot to play for today so it was pretty awesome.”
On the back of a hard week for the town, getting a win means that little bit more.
“What’s happened and the way the town has stood up is just an amazing thing,” Ward said.
“Full credit to everyone.”
Injuries and a lack of numbers where the biggest issue facing the Phantoms last season.
The inclusion of former Fijian international, and Griffith Blacks premiership winner, Marika Vunibaka has driven a number of his former teammates to the club.
He alongside with New Zealand prop Daniel Patu has given plenty of go forward.
Vunibaka played in the second row for the Phantoms, but Ward expects him to be back at inside centre in the near future.
Ward still wants his team to focus on their scrumming, after Ag College were able to get on top in the first half.
“The Ag College tight five really took it to us and we have a lot of work to do,” he said.
“We started off the game pretty well, but then unsettled our pack and we struggled a bit.”
The Phantoms will play Wagga City at home next Saturday.
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