The NSW Police team met at the new NSW Rugby League centre of excellence and were wished Goodluck by the NSW Rugby League CEO Dave Trodden, our Patron Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy and major sponsor Lee Hagipantelis from Brydens Lawyers.
Below: NSWPRL patron Deputy Commissioner Loy and NSWRL CEO Dave Trodden address the NSWPRL team at the NSWRL centre of excellence
Above: Brydens Lawyers CEO Lee Hagipantelis, NSWPRL patron Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy and NSWRL CEO Dave Trodden
After a training session and use of facilities, the boys had lunch and listened to ex NSW great Braith Anasta talk about his State of Origin experience.
Above: The NSWPRL team train at the NSW Rugby League centre of excellence facility Homebush
Above: The NSWPRL Team at the NSW Rugby League Centre of excellence
Off to Darwin, the boys settled in and prepared for their first game against the Affiliated States (AS)Rugby League team.
Above: The NSWPRL team dine at a Greek restaurant in Darwin 2019
At the at the jersey presentation at Shenanigans Restaurant/bar, debutant Brent Nellies surprised all, including his dad Peter Nellies, with a rendition of the song, The Holy Grail.
Above: NSW Captain Mitchell West interviewed by Darwin TV.
The NSWPRL team led by inspirational captain Mitch West, found a spirited Affiliated States Team, led by their slick half Brendan Williams who could play the game in a dinner suit.
NSW Five-eight Adam McInness snuck through the AS defence to score under posts. NSW hooker Logan Harris. Harris kicked a penalty goal soon after and it was 8 nil. In the 14th minute, the AS half grubbered through and the AS flying winger scored in the corner. Four minutes later, a similar kick put though by the AS half-back saw Brendan Williams regather and score next to the posts. The conversion was a success and AS had a 10 points to eight lead which they took into the sheds at half time. NSWPRL coach Craig Sheridan spoke to the boys about fighting back, which they did and classy NSW centre Haydn Peacock sliced through the AS defence to score in the fourth minute. Logan Harris added the extras and NSW were back in lead. NSW Captain Mitch West had a chance to score in the 12th minute, but had the ball jolted from his arms as he was about to put the ball over the line. Dan Mahoney started a nice right-hand movement and passed to Anton Sahoun who gave centre Haydn Peacock some space. Haydn who chipped ahead, chased and regathered to score an outstanding try which was converted by Logan Harris.
NSW then went left, Mahony threw a beautiful pass to centre Jack Webster who put speedy winger Simon Gairns into space, but it was called back as a debatable forward pass. The game was played in good spirit, except for a short period where some of the AS players reverted to grubby tactics and also made false accusations about a NSW trainer. Despite this low point, NSW stuck to playing footy and the momentum was made by NSW Forwards, Dave Cox, Brayden Sharrock, Danny Lawrence and team captain, Mitch West. Replacement forwards Brent Nellies and Jake Clisby kept the momentum going during their respective stints on the field. NSW debutant and backrower Dane Clarke was inspiring with his controlled aggressive tackles and runs.
The AS unfortunately lost their classy playmaker Brendan Williams, but their team rallied and bustled NSW until classy NSW five-eight Adam McInness cut through, and passed inside to replacement hooker Josh Douglas who scored just left of the upright. Colin ‘Buckets’ Farmillo added the extras and NSW were leading and went on to win the game by 24 points to 10.
Game 2 was the traditional game of NSW Police V QLD Police. As is the case in all of these Tri-Series, it was NSW Police’s turn to back up a day later to face a fresh QLD Police who were itching to beat NSW for the first time in eight years.
Queensland scored first when their smart halfback Al Heldsinger spotted a gap and sent their hard-running centre Hayden Lea through it to score. QLD fullback Jake Carl missed the conversion and it was a 4-nil score line to QLD. The next 10 minutes was tough trench warfare, with both forward packs tearing into each other. NSW led by Mitch West, Dane Clarke, Brayden Sharrock, Dave Cox Danny Lawrence and steered of the dummy half by Logan Harris, whilst QLD were led by their captain Andrew Dunkley, Rhys Bennett, Ryley Kajewski, Daley Boney, Matt Resch and steered by their clever hooker Jarrod Knox. QLD mounted an attacking raid near the NSW line and Al Heldsinger kicked a pin-point grubber kick into the NSW in goal area chased by several QLD speedsters. NSW fullback Daniel Drewe diffused the kick, but QLD would have another 6 tackles from a goal-line drop out to them. The QLD attack continued and this time Heldsinger put up a nicely weighted bomb which was caught by NSW centre Jack Webster, earning NSW a 7-tackle attacking set. NSW fought back into QLD territory, but a handling error near the QLD line turned over possession.
Above: The NSWPRL team in Darwin 2019
There was tit for tat attacking raids from the teams, until in the 26th minute, QLD fullback Jake Carl kicked for Lea who regathered and scored his 2nd 4 pointer in the first half. Jake Carl added the extras and it was QLD 10 NSW nil. Another try to Lea just before half-time saw QLD go into the sheds with a 14 points to nil score line.
In the second half NSW showed extraordinary courage to fight back and scored first when NSW centre Haydn Peacock beat the defence to put Anton Sahyoun over for a nice 4 pointer. Logan Harris converted from near the touchline and it was 14 points to 6. Michael Creamer provided some fresh legs and NSW started to gather momentum until some handling errors let them down. QLD were next to score when veteran centre Dan McMahon sliced through to score. Jake Carl added the extras.
NSW would not give in and Haydn Peacock made another nice break down the right side after being put into space by Logan Harris. Peacock had a number of QLD defenders in front of him and decided to kick into the QLD in goal and back himself. It was a race for the ball between Peacock from NSW and Heldsinger from QLD, who the referee deemed force it into the in goal, giving NSW a repeat set of 6 more tackles.
The game went from end to end for a time until QLD were awarded a penalty and Jake Carl added another 2 points to the score line with a successful penalty goal.
NSW refused to give in and a dropped ball by QLD near the NSW 20 metre line, saw NSW winger Anton Sahyoun pick up the lose ball and put Haydn Peacock on his way. Peacock used great footwork to elude QLD’s Jordan Tusa and score in the corner. Adam McInnes converted, and the score was 22 points to 12. NSW had run out of time, but it was a credit to them to win the second half.
It was a gutsy effort by NSW who had a number of players carrying scars and injury from the previous days game against AS. The whole squad showed great passion for the Blue’s jumper and look forward to meeting QLD next year on the Gold Coast.
Both teams should be congratulated for the great spirit and humility they showed for each other on the field and this was spoken about by the QLD coach Nick Patterson and NSW coach Craig Sheridan to the teams in their respective dressing sheds.
Above: The NSWPRL team unwind after a tough Darwin campaign
QLD backed up the next day to defeat the AS Police team by 18 points to nil and take home the shield. QLD captain Andrew Dunkley was rightly named player of the series.
We thank our sponsors, Bryden Lawyers, CRIMSAFE, Police Bank, Group GSA, Smart Leasing, NSW Police Association and the NSW Rugby League for their support.