Wests Tigers youngsters star in junior international

Wests Tigers young guns David Nofoaluma, Kurtis Rowe and Manaia Cherrington have starred for their countries as the Junior Kangaroos defeated the Junior Kiwis 38-26.


The young Kiwi side delivered a new haka and then came charging out of the blocks to lead 14-0 after 16mins.


Kurtis Rowe, the Junior Kiwis fullback, scored two tries within ten minutes of the start. The first was a solo effort from close range, while his second had the Kiwis rolling as he backed up in typical fashion to score untouched.


Then Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, who'd delivered the final pass for the second of Rowes tries, added a third to suggest an upset could be on the cards.


But the Australians hit back with a couple of tries, both converted by the Holden Cup player of the year Bryce Cartwright, before Watene-Zelezniak, playing on the right wing, got his second try to send the Kiwis into half-time leading 20-10.


The temperature at the ground was in the mid-30s, which meant drinks breaks were held mid-way through each half and the crowd of around 1,000 mostly watched from the safety of the shaded parts of the grandstand.


Raymond Faitala-Mariner started the second half on the right note for the Kiwi boys, when he showed superb footwork and a rock solid fend to score on the right edge. Mason Linos third conversion had the Kiwis in front 26-10 with 30mins to play. But the Australians came home in Oracle-like fashion, with five unanswered tries taking them to a 38-26 win.


The Junior Kiwis, with just one recognised NRL player in Ngani Laumape, were up against an Australian side scattered with boys with NRL experience. But the New Zealanders will still look at this as one that got away.


At WIN Jubilee Oval, Kogarah:


Junior Kiwis 26: (Kurtis Rowe 2, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 2, Raymond Faitala-Mariner tries. Mason Lino 3 conversions)

Junior Kangaroos 38: (Patrick Mago 2, Vai Toutai, Junior Paulo, David Nofoaluma, Charly Runciman, Mitch Cornish. Bryce Cartwright 5 conversions).


Half-time: 20-10 (Junior Kiwis)

Referee: Henry Perenara