Australian Police Team 2014

The Australian Police Rugby League team took on their Tasman brothers at sensational AAMI Park Stadium Melbourne on Sunday 2 November 2014. Led by the slick James Bartholomew (Barts), the APRL ‘Jackaroos’ triumphed with an unexpected score of 70 points to 34. Australia hadn’t beaten the KIWIS for fourteen years.
A series of photographs will be available at the foot of this story.
The ‘Jacks’ started sensationally kicking deep into KIWI territory. The first defensive set indicated the Jacks were here to play, particularly a bone ratter from Phil ‘Sheppy’ Stonham. When the Jacks received possession, a great break by Mitch West saw captain ‘Barts’ loom up on the outside. Barts beat the fullback and scored try number one and Josh Murphy converted.
Seven minutes Australia were in again and Josh Murphy converted. NZ started to build some nice combinations and were attacking the Jacks near halfway when Aussie centre John Borland intercepted a pass and ran thirty five metres to score in the corner. Josh Murphy converted from the sideline.
Ex NRL legend Robbie Mears combined well with Brendan Williams and Josh Murphy and the ‘big three’were taking control of the game knowing there were ten hungry ‘Aussies’ responding with zest to the calls made by the playmakers. The Aussies had a ton of speed to burn out wide with hard running centre Sean Jenkins, Lee Cameron and Andrew Cridland making several breaks through the NZ defence.
The Kiwis knuckled down and started to play some slick attacking moves which saw them score their first try which they converted. Around the 19 minute mark, Aussie five-eight Josh Murphy kicked a well-judged grubber kick into the Kiwi in goal area. Speedy winger Andrew Cridland almost masked his 2013 World Cup try in England when he came from no-where to touch down in the corner. Josh Murphy kicked another sensation goal from the sideline to convert ‘Crido’s’ four pointer.
Twenty one minutes into the first half, local boy Brendan Williams who was wearing the number seven, threw a classy pass that put the hard running ‘Sheppy’ Stonham into a nice gap. Shep drew the Kiwi fullback and passed inside to ‘Barts’ who scored his second four pointer.
Coach Sheridan brought on the ‘shock and awe’ weapon Matt Johnstone who shot out of dummy half thirty metres out from the Kiwi line. Matt mesmorised three defenders before scoring his first four pointer for the afternoon.
The Kiwis hit back a few minutes from half time with a nice passing phase of play which went through six sets of hands before scoring their second try. The half time score was 40 points to 10.
In the second half the Kiwis started with enthusiasm and were looked as though their coach gave them a ‘rocket’ at half time. It didn’t take long for them to show they had pride in their jersey and were first to score. A few minutes later, Matt Johnstone replied for the Aussies and scored his second try after some nice combinations.
Aussie second rower Mitch West, was a powerhouse working well with his partner in crime Braydon Sharrock, veterans Grant Miers, Phil Stonham and exciting debutant Kurtis Ritchie. ‘Westy’ didn’t take long to bust through the Kiwi defence and he set up Jason Klimis who cleverly backed up Westy. Klimis was over for a nice four pointer.
The Kiwis started to mount an insurgence changing the game momentum to them and scored three quick tries to take the score to a more respectable 50 points to 34.
The Aussies wouldn’t lay down though and some hard work by Dave O’Riordan, Bradley Wootton and hard hitting Andrew ‘Ackers’ Atkins started to provide muscle back onto the proud Kiwis. Sharrock continued to terrorise the Kiwis and looked like ‘Usain Bolt’ as he scored a runaway try. His partner in crime Mitch West scored an inspirational try and few minutes later followed by another spectacular try to James Bartholomew (3rd try).
In the dying minutes the Kiwis were surging towards the Aussie try line when Matty Johnstone gathered a loose ball and ran ninety metres to score. By that stage the crowd had gathered to close to fifteen thousand and responded with roars and cheers to the great tries scored and the Aussie victory.
NZ chose a well-deserved Josh Murphy (Australian 5/8) as man of the match and Australia chose NZ ‘rake’ Terrence Williams as their pick.
Australian Coach Craig Sheridan was extremely pleased with the way the Australian side gelled, not only on the field, but also off the field. Sheridan said, “‘The boys’ were all proud Police officer’s and gelled like brothers. It was a pleasure to be involved with them, and I would like to thank ‘Barts’ for a great Captain’s knock”.
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