The Illawarrior Colts have missed the opportunity to advance to the top tier of the 2018 NSW Country Colts tournament. In a lacklustre performance the young Illawarriors went down 31 – 5 to Far North Coast in this year’s Tier 2 Shield Final at Port Macquarie. After trailing by just seven points at half-time the inexperienced Illawarra side couldn’t go with the Northern side conceding three second half tries.
Despite some strong play from forwards Nicholas Cracknell, try scorer Opeti Taufahema and captain Bailey Lamb the side had trouble competing at the breakdown with any success to trouble the north coast boys. All the Far North Coast second half tries came from their slick backline who took full toll against some inefficient first up defence.
There were four Yellow Cards handed out during the second half which made it difficult for both sides to maintain composure. But it was the Dolphins who kept their minds on the task best to run away with the game.
Halfback Corey Aylett and fullback Alphonso Pyne put in sound performances throughout but in general the sides performance lacked the intensity and expertise required at this level. One positive to come from the match is the fact that a significant number of the Illawarra players will still be eligible for Colts football in 2018. This year’s tournament experience will help many of the younger players prepare for another shot of regaining Tier 1 status for the Illawarra in 2018.