It was plenty of firsts for the Under 9 Bowen Seagulls, with the team’s first ever game in their first year of travelling. Under 9 coach Becky Otto said. “The team did extremely well considering this was the first time they actually got to travel to compete.”
Zach Coventry shone in his first game of rugby league. “He was a little hesitant before the game, concerned about tackling,” Otto said. “We had a bit of a chat and I told him to go and enjoy himself.”
And enjoy himself he did. Otto said at the end of a set, he made an ‘awesome tackle right on the sideline’. Buoyed by the crowd’s encouragement, young Zach became more confident. “He will make a great addition to the team as he continues to progress his skills.”
Other players to impress the coach were Ryan Donnelly and Rory Haworth. “Both put in huge efforts in our attack and defence on the day.”
Otto was pleased with the efforts of the team and said that as a team, the challenge would be working on spreading the ball, getting it out to the wingers.
Leki Tuitupou, coach of the Under 11s, was happy with the impressive start to the season by his charges which saw them keep their opposition scoreless. Particularly impressive was newcomer Lachlan Smith.
“Lachlan trained really well this week, so we made him captain on the day. He played really well, talking and looking for the ball. He kept himself busy on the field.”
Also to impress were Sione Afu and Jordan Thomas. “Sione played in the forwards, and made lots of breaks while Jordan was the top tackler with 25. Gary Smith, our Player of the Day was everywhere, and made quite a few breaks.”
Adam Howarth at fullback was safe effectively stopping the opposition if they broke through the first line of defence.
The biggest challenge for the coach is to develop the strategic aspect of the game. “I want to make the boys understand the game. At the moment, they are all enjoying it. Now we need to build different skills.”
The Under 12s may have been narrowly defeated in their game against Centrals Gold, however Coach Bill Walpole was happy with their efforts. “The team went really well.” Walpole was particularly impressed with their defensive efforts. “They gave it to them, and held them out.”
Cygnet Tamwoy played his first game of Rugby League, and Walpole was pleased with his performance.
“He will be a great asset to the team. His attack is really good.”
Walpole said the team’s most immediate challenge will be to work on a backline attack.
The Under 13s were defeated by Central’s Gold however there were a lot of positives coming from the game for Coach Brenden O’Grady.
“Two weeks ago, we played the same team in a trial game, and they were way too good. This time, we were much more competitive. It was a great turnaround, and a good team effort.”
O’Grady said there was a handful of new players in the team this year who have never played league before. “Bohdi Teakel and Kaleal Archer played good. They had a bit of a go, and made some great tackles.”
All the new players are fitting in to the team well; however O’Grady said it might take a few weeks for them to settle into the physicality of the game.
Their biggest challenge for the season ahead is containing teams and thinking positively. “Our attack is good. We can score tries. We need to keep our defensive line straight and learn that when we are down a try, it’s not the end of the game.”
The Under 16s finished a fine day of rugby league with a win over their opposition. Coach Nelson Dotoi was particularly impressed with the Under 15 players.
“We couldn’t get the numbers to have both Under 15 and Under 16, so we combined the two.”
While this ensured those players got to play, it also posed a problem with a limited preparation time. “We knew it was going to be tough because we haven’t had many training sessions together but the boys played really well.”
Improving team fitness is a goal for Dotoi. “We started both halves well and for the first 20 minutes were competitive. At the back end of each half, we knew we would lack fitness.”
Holding onto a narrow lead until the end of the game impressed the coach. “We defended well to hold them out towards the end.”