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Andrew Johns Cup

CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups

CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups (Photo - Bryden Sharp NSWRL)
CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups (Photo - Bryden Sharp NSWRL)

CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups

Author : Margie McDonald NSWRL Media

CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups

CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups (Photos: Bryden Sharp NSWRL)

CC Roosters back 2 back Andrew Johns Cups (Photos: Bryden Sharp NSWRL)

Central Coast Roosters became the first club to win consecutive SLE Andrew Johns Cups with a 20-12 win over Macarthur Wests Tigers at Cessnock Sportsground today.

It was the Roosters third trophy since the regional Under 16s competition began six years ago, adding to their premiership in 2021.

Macarthur had the best defensive record of Andrew Johns Cup this year, but the Roosters started quickly with winger Semi Leweniqila scoring off a cut-out pass in the right corner in just the second minute.

It was Leweniqila’s 10th try of the season making him the leading try-scorer across both Southern and Northern Conferences.

A second try to interchange prop Blessing Foini in the 23rd minute, with both being converted by halfback Owen Knowles, gave the Roosters a comfortable 12-0 half-time lead.

“I asked them to start really fast which they did. So that set the scene for everything,” coach Paul Franze told nswrl.com.au.

“Our defence was also key. They fatigued a little at the back-end but they did enough to get the win.”

Player of the Match and recipient of the inaugural Robert ‘Bert’ Lowrie Medal was lock and skipper Alexander Stephenson, one of many hard-workers in the Roosters forward pack.

Bert Lowrie (L) with SLE Andrew Johns Cup Player of the Match, Alexander Stephenson. Photos: Bryden Sharp

Bert Lowrie (L) with SLE Andrew Johns Cup Player of the Match, Alexander Stephenson. Photos: Bryden Sharp

The Tigers were unlucky not to get some first-half points themselves with hooker Elijah Mears and lock Kye Penfold both held up over the line.

Macarthur was dealt an early blow in the second half with No.6 and skipper Brock Achurch leaving the field for an HIA (head injury assessment).

The Roosters third try came six minutes after the break, when five-eighth Jack Dean-Potaka stepped inside and swivelled in the tackle to bounce over, stretching the lead to 16-0.

Within 10 minutes the Roosters had their fourth with centre Koby Houghton finishing off a left-edge move after his side were awarded a penalty 15 metres out.

At 20-0 the Tigers were looking down the barrel of a whitewash but suddenly they sparked into more expansive football as they sensed the Roosters forwards tiring.

Fullback Ronel Ribucan swan-dived over the line in the 53rd minute and then Achurch, who returned to the field after passing his concussion test, completed a 70-metre effort beginning with winger Mawin Tema Soaai steaming down the left touchline.

Winger Joshua Vella converted both, but the clock was against Macarthur.

Their fightback did give the Roosters staff a jolt on the sideline.

“A bit nerve-wracking near the end there. But I had confidence in the boys that they’d get the job done,” Franze said.

“It was a team effort, but I loved the work of my second rowers Cooper Gibbs and Tulsyn McCulloch combining with hooker Kalen Cashin.

“My middles Alexander Stephenson, Duncan Gatt-Smith and Samuel Tracey weren’t bad either. Then you’ve got big Blessing Foini coming off the bench. They were the backbone today.”

Scores: Central Coast Roosters 20 (Semi Lewesiqila, Blessing Foini, Jack Dean-Potaka, Koby Houghton tries; Owen Knowlesa 2 goals) def Macarthur Wests Tigers 12 (Ronel Ribucan, Brock Achurch tries; Joshua Vella 2 goals).

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