NSWPRL Men’s team dominate the Tri-series, Sydney Australia 2022.

Firstly we would like to thank our fantastic sponsors, Brydens Lawyers, NSW Rugby League, NSW Police Association, Police Bank, Crimsafe, Group GSA, DIMEO Cleaning excellence and Smart leasing for their loyal sponsorship that allows us to assist the NSWPRL men’s and women’s teams.

The NSW Police Rugby League men’s team had the task of taking on a strong QLD Police team as a curtain raiser to State of Origin 1, ACCOR Stadium Homebush, Sydney Australia on Wednesday 8 June 2022. They were required to back up and contest the Tri-Series against the Affiliated States Police team at Leichhardt Oval two days later on Friday 10 June 2022.

Having come into camp in Sydney on Sunday 5 June, the squad led by their new Captain Dane Clarke, and under the coaching of head coach Craig Sheridan and assistant coach Marty Hyde, the squad immediately gelled and worked hard to the get the Sheridan/Hyde plan down pat.

On the Tuesday night before D-Day, the boys enjoyed team dinner chaired by NSWPRL Vice President Rod Sheraton and jersey presentation by Balmain, NSW and Australian Rugby League legend, Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach and Major Sponsor owner Lee Hagipantelis on the Tuesday night at the Pullman Hotel.

On game day, the NSWPRL Team walked to the ‘Wall of remembrance’, a memorial for NSW Police who died in the line of duty. Past patrons, well respected retired NSW Police officers, Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy and Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke gave moving speeches to the team.

The butterflies were present as the boys boarded the bus to Accor, but they were focused and ready for battle with their QLD counterparts.

Once the game got underway, the butterflies disappeared and it was game on.

A great night for rugby league with a fast track that suited the blues.

Margie McDonald from NSW Rugby League media summed up the game as follows.

NSW Police simply too good for fast finishing Queensland

Three rapid-fire tries for the NSW Police midway through the second half helped them to a 28-12 win over Queensland Police at Accor Stadium in Sydney on Wednesday night.

In the first police Rugby League Origin game in three years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSW turned the tables on Queensland who won their last game 22-12 in June 2019 in Darwin.

But brilliant work from NSW halves Connor O’Bierne and David Farkas, alongside creative hooker Matt Johnstone, set the groundwork for the 16-point win.

O’Bierne had three try assists in his contribution to NSW’s five tries to two victory, which was the curtain raiser to the opening Ampol State of Origin game.

However, three quick tries in the second half was a hill too high for Queensland to climb to get back into the game.

The NSW left edge proved a gold mine for the home side in the opening half.

Winger Callum Blinco posted NSW’s first points after a sublime cut-out pass from five-eighth O’Bierne in the ninth minute.

Blinco still had some work to do 10 metres out from the Queensland line, but he stepped off his left foot and evaded two defenders for a one-handed put-down.

Then 11 minutes later O’Bierne was at it again, offering the final pass to fullback Haydn Peacock on the burst down the left side.

Farkas converted from near the touchline to put NSW Police out to 10-0 with a quarter of the game gone.

That remained the half-time score as NSW was able to snuff out several Queensland surges towards their line.

Blinco was in the thick of the goal-line defence with two try-saving tackles to keep the Blues spirits high.

Two tough defensive sets again greeted the NSW players but having withstood that barrage, the floodgates opened.

They scored 18 points in a 15-minute period midway through tries to second rower Rhys Dombkins, hooker Matt Johnstone and centre Mathewson Johns to race out to 28-0.

Johns was later named Player of the Match.

Queensland fullback Jake Carl ran for 20-metres untouched after a beautiful inside pass to score the Maroons first points in the 63rd minute.

Queensland prop Carter Ozanne scored a consolation try 90 seconds from the fulltime hooter.

NSW Coach Craig Sheridan had this to say: It was an absolute pleasure to coach the NSW Police Rugby League team in 2022. The team came to the camp as a complete professional group of men, who were committed to the task and attention to detail. Our preparation was fantastic and the ‘Boys’ took a winning mindset to both games, as they were determined to come home with the interstate and Tri-Series trophy’s.

The team was proud to represent the NSW Police Force and the state of NSW. It was a huge ask to back up after a hard game against QLD and take on the affiliated states. NSW had a number of injuries to contend with and it showed the true character of this fine group of men.

I would also like to thanks our long serving Captain Mitchell West who has been inspirational during his long association of 12 years as a player and in the latter years Captain of the team.

Photographs below are from Game 2, Leichhardt Oval on Friday 10 June 2020 against the affiliated states.

Retiring long serving NSWPRL Captain Mitchell West played his final game of Police rugby league at Leichhardt oval, the eight wonder of the world. What a great note to retire on as a complete winner.

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