Special Thanks to Shane Myers for the professional photographs in the Flickr folder at the base of this story.  Thanks Shane.
Newcastle was the host city for the 2015 Tri series between reigning champions NSW and their Queensland and Affiliated States police counterparts.
Pre-GAME
The Newcastle Knights football manager Warren Smiles, organised for the NSW v QLD game to go ahead as a curtain raiser to the Knights V Titans at the brilliant Hunter Stadium complex.NSW went into camp at the Quest apartments on the famous Hunter Street and immediately gelled as a unit. NSW Coach Superintendent and recent Australian Police Medal (APM) recipient Craig Sheridan and Head trainer Paul ‘Wal’ Wallace devised training strategies to have “the boys” peaking on game day.The icy weather hit smack bang during the camp, and made recovery swim sessions at the at the picturesque Mereweather ocean pool a shivering affair. ‘Wal’ organised for former NSW State of Origin Captain Danny Buderus to attend our team dinner and present the players with their prized NSW jerseys. Deputy Commissioner Dave Hudson and Assistant Commissioners Alan Clarke and Jeff Loy also attended to show their support for ‘The boys’.Master of ceremonies and NSW Coach Craig Sheridan APM ran the formalities for the evening. After a great meal and company and in possession of their prized playing strip, the NSW team left the classy Rustica Newcastle Beach restaurant.

GAME DAY
The whole of the Hunter region was hit by a cold snap and it felt like being in Antarctica. Light drizzle fell episodically over Hunter Stadium.
Queensland kicked off and the high kick swirled and tumbled back to the Queensland chasers. Queensland seemed to have constant possession but could not break through the strong NSW defence. NSW started to consolidate around the 20 minute mark before classy hooker Matt Johnstone made a brilliant run down the Broadmeadow side of the field to dive over on the 24 minute mark. Rookie NSW fullback Rhys Millar, failed to convert.
There was a fierce forward battle going on between the two teams, with NSW ably led by Captain Dave Cox and backed by, Mitch West, Brayden Sharrock, Tim Pont and Danny Lawrence. Fierce hits were exchanged by both teams with Queensland veterans Nick Paterson and Sam McGregor leading the way. Jason Klimis and Kurtis Ritchie’s hard running from Jared Knox’s crisp passing, were dangerous but the NSW defence held tight. Man mountain Andrew Dunkley kept charging into the NSW forward pack, but could not break through. NSW interchange forwards, Dylan Smith, Mark Nichols, Andrew Atkins and Ben Rigley ensured the brick wall defence stayed intact.
NSW halfback, Jai Jones was having a blinder playing well above his weight. Classy NSW centres Daniel Drewe and Sean Jenkins had to defend constantly and had limited attacking opportunities.
Queensland managed to squeeze through a tiny gap to score their first try with three minutes left in the first half to make the score four all. Half time score 4 all.
It was NSW turn to kick off in the second half and Millar trajected the kick deep into Maroon territory and NSW kept the maroons pinned for several sets of tackles before classy five-eight James Bartholomew gave them some field position.
NSW seemed to make more breaks in general play, again with Brayden Sharrock, Mitch West and Danny Lawrence cutting through on several occasions. However, lack of support or a dropped ball stopped NSW capitalising on the hard work. Jai Jones, continued to probe through with a few near opportunities failing by strong Queensland defence.
Twenty minutes into a brutal encounter the scores were still locked at four points all. Queensland obtained some field position but despite a few repeat sets, the strong NSW defence held tight. Soon after Queensland replacement forward Adam Grice barged towards the tryline. The ball appeared to bounce on the ground, but the try was awarded under the posts. James Bartholomew converted to give Queensland a 10 to 4 lead.
Soon after, Queensland received a penalty near the Broadmeadow side touchline. Bartholomew kicked for goal, but the strong southerly winds blew it off course. PHEW….NSW still were still in the game.
Daniel Drewe moved from centre to five eight replacing rookie Josh Baihn who had a solid debut. NSW kept pressuring the Queensland line and probing their defensive line. Matt Johnstone, scooted through from dummy half to score under the posts. Millar converted and the game was locked at 10 points all. NSW continued to pressure right up to the full-time siren with Mitch West attempting a field goal that shaved the outside of the goal-post.

NSW retain the shield due to being reigning champions. Credit must go to the all of the players for a fantastic tough game of rugby league. NSW players player was Matt Johnstone with Brayden Sharrock and Jai Jones close behind.
Four new debutantes to wear the NSW Jersey, Rhys Millar, Ben Nash, Josh Baihn and Dane Sablowski all played well and enjoyed the experience.
Sponsors Ken Millard (CRIMSAFE) Brian Marks (POLICE HEALTH) and Eddie Stuart (INTEGRAL RISK) braved the cold weather and we thank them for their attendance.
Thanks also to our other sponsors, Police Bank, BREON and the Police Association.

Players
The NSW team              The Queensland team
1. Rhys Millar                   1. Jake Carl
2. Liam Watson                2. Andrew Cridland
3. Daniel Drewe               3. John Borland
4. Sean Jenkins               4. Dan McMah
5. Anton Sayhoun           5. Alex Patikura
6. Josh Baihn                   6. James Bartholomew
7. Jai Jones                     7. Russel Satour
8. Brayden Sharrock        8. Sam McGregor
9. Matt Johnstone           9. Jared Knox
10. David Cox                 10. Nick Paterson
11. Mitch West                11. Steve Holland
12. Tim Pont                    12. Jason Klimis
13. Danny Lawrence       13. Kurtis Ritchi
14. Ryan Good                14. Andy Fullagar
15. Dylan Smith               15. Paul Renouf
16. Mark Nichols              16. Jim Doyle
17. Andrew Atkins           17. Adam Grice
18. Ben Wrigley               18. Andrew Dunkley
19. Dane Sablowski         19. Ben Sawden
20. Andrew Hiam             20. Will Scanlan
21. Ben Nash                   21. Brent Shorten
22. Nathan Simpson        22. Hayden Lea

Coach; Craig Sheridan APM Manager; Glenn McDougall
Trainers;
Paul Wallace (Head Trainer)
Bob O’Riordon
Peter Nissen
Dave Hatchwell
Steve Wilson

NSW fixture with the Affiliated States was moved to the historic Lakes United Seagulls complex at Cahill Park Belmont at 3pm on Monday 20 July 2015.
NSW Coach Craig Sheridan APM, was wary of the Affiliated states after they had defeated the Queensland team the previous day by 18 points to 12. Queensland had to back up after the hard fought draw against NSW, and met a pumped Affiliated States led by veteran Phil Stonham at the Central Newcastle ‘Butcher boys’ home ground at Charlestown.
NSW Coach Sheridan APM and Captain Dave Cox stressed the passion of wearing the NSW jersey. ‘The boys’ showed that passion by defeating the Affiliated States by 50 points to 10. NSW showed a great display of fast running football with many of the tries going through many sets of hands. Starting second rower Andy Hiams won the players player award. Jai Jones again showed a ton of ticker climbing out of his sick bed to play and making a huge impact on the game. Danny Lawrence scored a hattrick of tries.
NSW displayed the NSW passion in spades and it was a great team effort. Congratulations to captain Dave Cox for his fearless leadership.
NSW 50 Danny Lawrence 3, Andy Hiam, Liam Watson, Daniel Drewe, Dane Sablowski, Tim Pont Tries, Ryhs Millar 7 goals, Braydon Sharrock goal AFFILIATED STATES 10 Ilija Radan and Nase Holani tries.
After the game a presentation was made at the Lakes Untied leagues club. In a touching moment, Alex Ramsay legend of Police Rugby League deservedly had ‘The Alex Ramsay Memorial Trophy’ named after him for his tireless work and interest in Police Rugby League. Alex who is never short of words was on this occasion when the emotion hit him. The first winner of the ‘Alex Ramsay Memorial Trophy’ for player of the tournament was Brayden Sharrock, who made an outstanding contribution to the NSW side. Congratulations to Braydon.
The Australian Rugby League committee selected the following squad to represent the Australian Police Rugby League later in 2015. Congratulations to all involved.
Australian Team
1. James Bartholomew Qld
2. Josh Munro AS
3. Adam Luchetti AS
4. Sean Jenkins NSW
5. Andrew Cridland Qld
6. Daniel Drewe NSW
7. Jai Jones NSW
8. Brayden Sharrock NSW
9. Jarred Knox Qld
10. David Cox NSW
11. Mitch West NSW
12. Ilija Radan AS
13. Danny Lawrence NSW
14. Matt Johnstone NSW
15. Brendan Williams AS
16. Andrew Dunkley Qld
17. Phil Stonham AS
18. Kurtis Ritchie Qld
19. Jason Klimis Qld
Shadow Players
Dylan Smith NSW
Dave O'Riordan AS
Tim Pont NSW
Andrew Hiam NSW
Manasi Holani AS
Dan McMah Qld

Flickr Gallery (click to view more)

Newcastle Tri series 2015

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