The NSW Police Rugby League Country Championships were held at beautiful Nelson Bay on 12-14 March 2014. The Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos, the Country North Cowboys and the Country South Boars provided a strong standard of rugby league. Hunter Hawkesbury were crowned the Country Champions for the second year running, but all team one one game each and the scorelines tight. Read more and view gallery.
TThe NSW Police Rugby League held their second year of the Country Police Rugby League Championships at the picturesque Tomaree Oval at Nelson Bay Port Stephens between 13-15 March 2014.
Perfect weather provided allowed exciting open rugby league to be exhibited by the three teams competing in the championships.
Game 1 - Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos and the Country North Cowboys opened proceedings with a hard fought match on Tuesday 13 March. Led by Ben Wrigley the Kangaroos seemed a well-structured unit under the coaching of Anthony Vandenburgh and management of veteran country stalwart Paul Hill.
Country North had met that morning and after an inspirational speech from Captain-coach Scott Swain, showed a ton of fighting spirit to be worthy apponents for the Roos. Led by nippy half-back Ryan Eckersley the Cowboys capitalised on the speed of new centre Kane Goodchild who was exciting in attack. Dave Hill, Aaron Weatherley and Bob Davidson led the way in the forwards with Captain Scott Swain. In the end the Roos proved too strong and won the chocolates.
Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos 34 tries to Dean Wood x 2, Dan Mcarthur, Gerry Passfield, Mick Fortier, Anthony Newell. Ben Wrigley 4 goals defeated Country North 20 tries to Ryan Eckersly, Josh Lee, Scott Swain, Kane Goodchild. Goals Kane Goodchild x 2.
See highlights on you tube link http://youtu.be/3XVmqMew1mg
Game 2 - Country South Boars came out against the Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos fresh and ready to play on Tuesday 14 March. Led by Nathan Simpson, the Boars were fast and furious. Coach Mick Ricketts barked instructions from the bench and Brayden Sharrock and Nathan Simpson delivered by laying a platform for Gavin Lennon to direct play around the rucks. Liam Watson and Tony Leadbitter provided the pace out wide and James Dine bagged two tries.
The Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos were gallant in defeat with Ben Wrigley, Tim Montgomery, Rob Ayscough and classy winger Mick Fortier prominent.
Full time - Country South Boars 22 tries James Dine x 2, Tony Leadbitter, Carl Middleton. Goals - Gavin Lennon x 3 defeated Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos 17 tries Tim Montgomery, Rob Ayscough, Mick Fortier. Goals Ben Wrigley x 2 and one field goal.
Game 3 – Country North Cowboys came out this time fired up and ready to break their drought and forge a win. Led magnificently by their gallant forwards allowed opportunity for their classy backs to play some exciting rugby league and score tries. Joe de Dassel a rugby union player having his second game of rugby league, followed veterans, Dave Hill, Ben King, Bob Davidson and Aaron Weatherley with some barnstorming runs.
The Boar’s playmaker Gavin Lennon and the Cowboy’s playmaker Ryan Eckersley, had a magnificent tussle trying to gain ascendency over the other. Hooker Craig Simpson led the way in defence for the Cowboys and tackled himself to a standstill. Simon Cass, Matt Chappel and Kane Goodchild were classy out wide for the Cowboys, and slowly the combinations were evolving with the structure.
The Boars were worthy opponents and again were led by Nathan Simpson, Brayden Sharrock, Gavin Lennon and Brad Russell.
Full time – Country North Cowboys 20 - tries to Matt Chappel x 2, Craig Simpson, Kane Goodchild. 2 goals to Kane Goodchild defeated Country South Boars 16 - tries to Liam Watson x 2, Brad Russell. 2 goals to Gavin Lennon.
As a result of the three games all teams won one game each. A count back of points for and against determined that the Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos are the 2014 Champions of the NSW Police Country Rugby League Championships.
Summary of the NSW Police Country Rugby League Championships;
The overall standard of Rugby League was sensational and exciting to watch. Each and every player and official deserves a pat on the back for availing themselves for this carnival and participating in the right spirit.
To the referees and linesmen, thanks for your contribution.
To Charlie Haggett and the Nelson Bay blues rugby league club we thank you for your hospitability and allowing us to use your ground and facilities.
To the supporters: Some ‘Old Heads’ were seen watching the games. Ian Welch, Wayne ‘Bugs’ Merry, Mal Matthews, Doug Keen, Alex and Heath Ramsay, Col Dorn and Rob McDonald provided some hilarious comments on the concourse.
To the Assistant Commissioners; Jeff Loy Commander of the Northern Region and Gary Worboys of the Southern Region, thanks for your attendance and support. It is refreshing to see such high ranking officers of the NSW Police Force supporting their troops on the ground in this great game of Rugby League. Both Jeff and Gary are retired NSW Police Rugby League players.
The NSW Police Rugby League Committee determined that two new trophies would be utilised to mark the significance of the NSW Police Country Championships.
Rob McDonald trophy :
Presented to the winners of the NSW Police Country Rugby League Champions.
Rob ‘Evil’ McDonald along with Gary Butt first organised a Police Country side to play the city Police in 1982. Coached by former Australian international Brian ‘Chica’ Moore, the Country Police rugby league team was born. Until the mid-nineties, Rob continued organising the Police Country side until 1996. He recruited respected NSW Police legend Jim Brazil to coach the side during those years.
Winners of the 2014 NSW Police Country Rugby League Championships – Hunter Hawkesbury Kangaroos.
Peter Nissen trophy:
Presented to the ‘Player of the carnival’.
Peter initially became involved with the NSW Police Country side after being transferred from Newtown to Tweed Heads in 1987. Peter was involved with the Country Police side from 1987 – mid-nineties as a player. Prior to that he played 70 grade games with the Balmain Tigers, from 1979-1982. He also played for the Newtown Police team in 1983 and 1984 and the NSW Police city teams. Peter also went on the inaugural NSW Police team tour of England in 1990 as their oldest player in the squad.
From the mid-nineties until 2000 the NSW Police Country rugby league ceased. With the help of Matt Dennis, Peter organised a NSW Police Country side in 2001 who wearing borrowed Tweed Heads Seagulls jerseys, defeated the NSW Police City team at Kogarah oval.
In 2005 after the demise of the NSW Police Sydney competition, a NSW Police Country side competed in the Police Rugby League Championships at Narrabeen. Peter has been a trainer and organise with the country team since 2005.
Winner of the 2014 Peter Nissen trophy – Ben Wrigley.
Peter said, “I am humbled to have a trophy named after me. All of my involvement with Police footy is to share the mateship and give something back to the sport I love. Each and every player and official I have been involved in are all ‘heroes’ in my eyes, playing and involving themselves in such a tough sport, arguably the toughest sport in the world. I congratulate Ben Wrigley as the recipient of my trophy, Ben is ‘Mr Rugby League’ and a great bloke as well. I also want to pay special tribute to Paul ‘Wally’ Wallace our head trainer for Country and NSW since 2005. Paul brought a new type of professionalism into Police rugby league and is just a great bloke. To all of those involved in Police rugby league, thankyou, stay involved in this great brotherhood.”
The future: From the three games mentioned, NSWPRL selectors Rod Sheraton, Nick Hyde and Cameron Smith selected a strong Country Police team to take on the City Police team at Wagga on Wednesday 21 May 2014.
NSWPRL Country representative team to play City Police at Wagga in 21st May is:
1. Liam Watson
2. Mick Fortier
3. Kane Goodchild
4. James Dine
5. Matt Chappell
6. Benjamin J Wrigley
7. Ryan Eckersley
8. Dave Hill
9. Simon Cass
10. Shannon Hargreaves
11. Brayden Sharrock
12. Peter Mortimer
13. Nathan Simpson
14. Gerry Passfie
15. Rob Ayscough
16. Joe De Dassel
17. Simon Davies
18. Bob Davison
19. Tony Leadbitter
20. George White
Coach: Michael Ricketts
Assistant: Tony Vandenburgh
Assistant: Scott Swain
Manager: Matt Carroll