North Lakes Kangaroos courageously crashed to their 11th straight defeat with a 22-8 loss to the Samford Stags in the Open 3 Northside Division played at the Kinsella Sports Complex.
The Kangaroos’ gutsy performance showed lots of promise and gave hope of an end to their long losing streak but Samford showed why they are the big improvers in this division with the Stags on the cusp of breaking into the top five at the back end of the season.
Samford five-eighth Zack Moes was superb. His long-range kicking and sidestepping caused the Kangaroos no end of trouble and the classy standoff was first to cross for the visitors in the seventh minute with a nice step off his left foot to go in beside the posts.
Samford, inspired by Moes, again toyed with the Kangaroos defence and this time the pivot found fullback Richard Barber on his inside who collected a beautiful pass in the bread basket to go in and score.
Again, Moes reached into his well-equipped tool box to bang over a superb goal from the sideline to propel the Stags to a 10-0 lead.
This could have been the signal for Kangaroo heads to drop but coach David Downey was trying hard to inspire his men from the sidelines and some savvy replacements sparked the Roos back to life.
With the cavalry arriving just in time to avoid a cricket score, Kangaroos halfback Justin Hendrickson set up the home side’s first try when his beautiful cut-out pass found winger Aaron Nicholson who excelled to ground the ball with the attention of three Stags players determined to push the speedster into touch.
But just as the Kangaroos looked like they were back on track, they were derailed on the halftime hooter when powerful Stags centre Josh Smith crossed after some ill-positioned Roos proved no match for his fearsome fend.
The signalling of the second half would set the scene for a good old-fashioned showdown. Samford, ahead on points, came out all guns blazing but the Kangaroos, superbly led by workhorses Hendrickson, prop Warren Fisher and second rower Andy Weir, refused to hand in the towel.
Whilst the Kangaroos were frustrating to watch at times with a bad case of butterfingers, the home side were given a rowdy cheer by their supporters as centre Jeremiah Sami slipped through a gap and palmed off two defenders to score a well-deserved try.
At 14-8 it was now anybody’s game but frustration on both sides twice erupted into melees, after which a Kangaroo was sent to the bin.
Once the dust settled both sides decided to switch on and play some decent rugby league.
Samford’s Moes and Barber were still running riot and twice nearly crossed again only for the lion-hearted defence of the home side.
There was hope of Kangaroos comeback when Aaron Danzel made a decisive run through the middle but the fullback was cut short in what appeared would be a certain try.
By then the extra effort the Kangaroos had exerted in avoiding a blowout meant they had no more to give in the dying stages when Samford second rower John Stay scored his team’s try of the day after regathering a beautiful chip kick from halfback Brayden Harris to seal a much-needed win for the vastly improving Stags.
SAMFORD STAGS 22 def NORTH LAKES KANGAROOS 8