Balmain Tigers recorded a hard fought 20-16 win over Wests Magpies in the Wests Tigers U13 Development Game at Campbelltown Sports Stadium today.


In a quality game of football played over 2 x 25 minute halves, the teams were locked at 10-all at half-time with both sides showing some fine attacking ability.


The Tigers soaked up some early attacking raids from the Magpies in the open seven minutes but their defence held firm. The closest the Magpies came to scoring was through a strong run by half-back Logan Vrbanic.


The pressure did tell in the end when a crossfield kick by Vrbanic saw the ball bounce up perfectly for winger Dale Botfield to score in the right corner for a 4-0 lead. The conversion attempt by Vrbanic was unsuccessful.


Balmain centre Lachlan Ilias made a great cover tackle to take Wests full-back Ashur Durbridge into touch to give the Tigers a scrum feed.


The Tigers were rewarded for the effort by Ilias when five-eighth Saul Lewis was put through a small gap by half-back Ben Stevanovic before stepping his way to the line to score for a 4-all scoreline after 14 minutes. Stevanovic converted the try for a 6-4 lead to the Tigers.


Vrbanic got the Magpies back in the lead when he split the defence from a scrum win to race 60 metres to score under the posts. He converted his own try for a 10-6 lead to Wests with five minutes remaining.


Balmain hooker Thomas Gibbeson then showed a touch of class when he showed the ball before splitting the defence to score out wide just before half-time. The try was not converted for a 10-all scoreline at half-time.


2nd Half

Wests went to a 14-10 lead when second-rower Oscar Chong Nee barged his way over the line. The try was converted by Grant Kembrey for a 16-10 lead five minutes after half-time.


Balmain hit back when second-rower Ben Cody used his strength to score to get the Tigers back to trail 16-14 a few minutes later.


The Tigers hit the front when centre Michael Gibson used strength and skill to crash over next to the posts. Ilias converted to give Balmain a 20-16 lead.

The Magpies lost Kembrey with a leg injury not long after.


A man of the match award was presented to both teams. Wests back-rower Oscar Chong Nee Vrbanic was presented with his award by Wests Tigers player Mitchell Moses.


Wests Tigers player Luke Brooks presented the Balmain man of the match award to half-back Ben Stevanovic.