The Jersey Flegg Cup returned after a 12-month layoff this past weekend with four close contests.
Parramatta and the Wests Tigers enjoyed a week off in Round 1 with both teams receiving their first bye.
Canterbury and Victoria got the action underway in Melbourne in the first Flegg game in almost exactly a year. The two sides traded tries before Thunderbolts captain Jack Natapu scored before the break to give his side an 18-10 lead. Victoria were bolstered heading into the game by the late inclusions of Storm NRL squad members Dean Ieremia, Daniel Atkinson, Jonah Pezet and Judda Turahui. After the break it was all Canterbury, who scored three unanswered tries to seal the victory. Bulldogs’ winger Laitia Moceidreke enjoyed a debut to remember, scoring a try and running for 113 metres, the most in his side.
Canterbury 28 (Biondi-Odo, Hopoi, Moceidreke, Patolo, Pele tries; Biondi-Odo 4 goals) def. Victoria 18 (Ahomana, Natapu, Pezet tries; Atkinson 3 goals) at Gosch’s Paddock.
Debuts: Kaylib Savage, Anthony Pele, Eli Clark, Laitia Moceidreke, Bailey Hayward, Kurtis Morrin, Blake Layton (Canterbury), Damien Chandler, Adam Naitoko, Jonah Pezet, Aman Singh, Lewis Habkouk, Victor Tereszko, Ieremia Ieremia (Victoria).
Mateo Tatola – 23 tackles, Laitia Moceidreke – 113 metres
Local rivals St George Illawarra and Cronulla played out one of the lowest scoring under-21 games you’ll see, with the Dragons holding on for a six-point win. Both sides scored just one try, with Dragons’ hooker Connor Muhleisen proving the difference, kicking three goals. The Dragons’ backline had just one game of Flegg experience going into the game with six rookies on display. One of those debutants was fullback Treigh Stewart, who scored his side’s try and ran for 184 metres. Sharks’ winger Kayal Iro, who previously played Flegg for the Warriors, ran for 172 metres, while Muhleisen and Sharks’ captained Jack Boyling topped the tackle count for their teams.
St George Illawarra 10 (Stewart try; Muhleisen 3 goals) def. Cronulla 4 (Lualua try) at Collegians Sporting Complex.
Debuts: Treigh Stewart, Ryan Papas, Hayden Budd, Kaylen Miller, Billy Hayburn, Sam Hooper (St George Illawarra), Trentham Petersen, Jack Martin*, Rhys Dakin, Bailey Cantrill (Cronulla)
St George Illawarra
Connor Muhleisen – 34 tackles, Treigh Stewart 184 metres
Jack Boyling – 33 tackles, Kayal Iro – 172 metres
Penrith opened their 2021 campaign with an eight-point win over South Sydney, the 2019 premiers. After trailing by two points at halftime, the inexperienced Panthers rallied in the second half, scoring 20 points, with Thomas Jenkins and Ethan Clark-Wood both scoring doubles. The Rabbitohs crossed late through Chaise Robinson, cutting the deficit to eight with under five minutes to play, but it wasn’t enough. Penrith’s side featured 10 players making their Flegg debut, including three players (Sunita Lotoaniu, Connor Mason and Tyreece Tonga) who played SG Ball this year. Panthers’ rookie fullback Sunia Turuva ran for 153 metres, while his Rabbitohs’ counterpart Robinson ran for 154.
Penrith 24 (Clark-Wood 2, Jenkins 2, El-Nachar tries; Mason 2 goals) def. South Sydney 16 (Hutchinson-Walters, Robinson, White tries; Ilias 2 goals) at Panthers Stadium,
Debuts: Sunia Turuva, Flynn Isaacs, Sadee Sub Laban, Sunita Lotoaniu, Brad Fearnley, Hohepa Puru, Connor Mason, Mavrik Geyer, Hanna-Jonathon El-Nachar, Tyreece Tonga (Penrith), Lathan Hutchinson-Walters, Keanu Ratumaitavuki-Aiolupo* (South Sydney)
Brad Fearnley – 28 tackles, Sunia Turuva – 153 metres
Peter Mamouzelos – 41 tackles, Chaise Robinson – 154 metres
The Roosters picked up the two competitions on Sunday morning with a hard fought 12-point win over Manly. The Tricolours took a six-point lead into the half time break thanks to tries from their debuting halves Ronald Volkman and Max Batty. They pushed their lead to 12 shortly after halftime thanks to prop Hugo Patterson before Manly made cut the lead back to six when centre Daniel Ala scored. The away side quickly put the game to bed when lock Harrison Edwards scored four minutes later, with just six minutes left to play. Despite the result, Sea Eagles’ prop Sione Fainu led the charge for his side, running for 183 metres.
Sydney 24 (Batty, Edwards, Patterson, Volkman tries; Fenning 4 goals) def. Manly 12 (Ala, Lehmann tries; Harris 2 goals) at HE Laybutt Sporting Complex.
Debuts: Flynn Angles-Corke, Daniel Ala, Jude Gibbs, Callan Burgess, Tom Eveleigh (Manly), Moala Graham-Taufa, Sidney Noppen, Lani Graham-Taufa, Max Batty, Ronald Volkman, Connagh Takairangi* (Sydney)
Zac Fulton – 30 tackles, Sione Fainu – 183 metres
Jacob Preston – 31 tackles, Moala Graham-Taufa – 155 metres, Riley Meyn – 2 line breaks
|Top try scorers||Top point scorers|
|2||Ethan Clark-Wood (Penrith)||12||Bailey Biondi-Odo (Canterbury)|
|2||Thomas Jenkins (Penrith)||8||Ethan Clark-Wood (Penrith)|
|1||Saimone Ahomana (Victoria)||8||Corey Fenning (Sydney)|
|1||Daniel Ala (Manly)||8||Thomas Jenkins (Penrith)|
|1||Max Batty (Sydney)||6||Daniel Atkinson (Victoria)|
|1||Bailey Biondi-Odo (Canterbury)||6||Connor Muhleisen (St George Illawarra)|
|1||Harrison Edwards (Sydney)||4||Saimone Ahomana (Victoria)|
|1||Vikilifi Hopoi (Canterbury)||4||Daniel Ala (Manly)|
|1||Lathan Hutchinson-Walters (South Sydney)||4||Max Batty (Sydney)|
|1||Max Lehmann (Manly)||4||Harrison Edwards (Sydney)|
Note – *Debutants previously played Hastings Deering Colts