Monaro prove too strong for Riverina with 38-10 win

STRONG RUN: Hayden Jolliffe and Hayden Philp try to stop Ron Leapai as Riverina went down to Monaro 38-10 at Harris Park on Saturday. Picture: Les Smith
STRONG RUN: Hayden Jolliffe and Hayden Philp try to stop Ron Leapai as Riverina went down to Monaro 38-10 at Harris Park on Saturday. Picture: Les Smith

For the second year running Monaro has ended Riverina’s Country Championship campaign.

The under 23s team was blown off the field in second half at a windy Harris Park on Saturday.

Riverina trailed 14-10 at half-time but were held scoreless in the second stanza.

The defending champions ran in four unanswered tries in the second half to score a 38-10 and progress to the next stage of the competition.

Errors proved costly for Riverina as they struggled to sustain any pressure on the bigger Monaro outfit.

Fullback Tristan Dickson had a nightmare at the back, with a number of drop balls, and coach Josh Cale thought his team put themselves under too much pressure.

“We were lucky to be in at half-time and I think our mistakes just got us in the end,” Cale said.

“We just turned over too much ball and were a bit loose around the ruck early on and they were punching through us.

“I thought we were probably lucky to be down 14-10 and were a bit flat in the second half.

“We did a similar thing last week but got over it, but I think Monaro are a bit more resilient than the team we played last week (GSR Tigers) and we struggled to get back in the game.”

The game started well for Riverina with Jack Lyons scoring five minutes in.

However Monaro were quick to respond through Temora junior Luke Skildrare and get out to a 12-4 lead when imposing centre Tevita Aroha-Tiunauvai charged through.

It could have been worse for Riverina but they were able to repel repeat sets on their line.

Joe Lumb sparked his team after coming off the bench and the Albury hooker scored to get his team within two points with eight minutes left in the half.

Monaro went into half-time four points up when Gundagai junior Derek Hay kicked a penalty goal after the siren.

They started the second half in the best fashion as Hay stepped through the line to score.

Monaro looked to have the upper hand but it took until the 68th minute for them to score again before three late tries more than sealed the win.

Cale was disappointed the scoreline blew out in the end.

“It probably didn’t reflect how tough the game was,” he said.

“A couple of little bounces and wrong decisions didn’t go our way at certain times and it did blow away in the end which was disappointing.”

The loss is also expected to end Cale’s reign as Riverina coach.

Zac Masters was strong in the forwards for Riverina while Cale was impressed with how captain Sam Elwin led the team around the park.

FULL-TIME

MONARO 38 (D Hay, L Skidmore, T Aroha-Tuinauvai, Z Patch, R Leapai, C McGhie tries; D Hay 7 goals) d RIVERINA 10 (J Lyons, J Lumb tries; S Tracey goal)

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