24th September 2016
Full Match Report
AMERICAS CHAMPIONSHIP - GAME 3
The Canada Wolverines were playing their first home test match vs USA in 2 years and there was plenty on the line. After both Nations had scored victories over Jamaica, the inaugural Americas Championship trophy would go to the winner of this huge game. Not only was this at stake but first points advantage for the Colonial Cup in 2016 would come from this game. This was going to be a massive game for the fans as all the players come out intent on winning the trophy.
As in all important games like this, the defensive work by both teams was very tough for the first ten minutes, but there were some opportunities opened up by strong Wolverine forward Joel Hulett who made a number of half breaks but lacked support to finish off these opportunities.
After 13 minutes, Akarika Dawn for Canada took it upon himself to test the USA defence close to the tryline and powered over for a try to open the scoring. Steve Piatek missed the conversion but Canada had the early points.
Through various reasons, including a poor short kicking game, the second 20 minutes of the first half saw Canada tackling for most of this period. USA had plenty of ball and tested the Wolverines defence but it never cracked and the rest of the first half remained scoreless. While Canada were happy to walk into the sheds at half time in front, there was plenty of energy burnt from all the tackling and the missed opportunities could come back to haunt them.
USA former NRL player Junior Vaivai was guiding the USA Hawks around the field and was always a danger man for the Wolverines.
Canada came out on fire in the second half and were throwing everything at the Hawks, but they remained patient and stopped any tries being scored until the 64th minute when robust Wolverine Prop Alex Boyd raced 40 metres towards the tryline after picking up the ball from a charge down and then being tackled ten metres out. Canada quickly threw the ball out wide for Kevin Gurniak to score a try in the corner. Steve Piatek missed the conversion from the corner, so Canada had to be happy with the 8-0 lead.
With only 15 minutes remaining, this was going to be interesting and we didn't have to wait long for the Hawks to hit back. A pass that went out the back was scooped up by Hawk's full back Roman Lowrey, who outpaced the opposition to score in the corner after 68 minutes. The conversion was missed, but you could see this gave the USA a huge boost and with only 5 minutes left on the clock a quick passing movement saw Hawk's centre Gabriel Farley race over for a try.
With the scores locked at 8-8, the conversion was missed again so the scores remained locked. Officials were racing around to see what happened with the trophy if the scores were locked up at full time, but there was no need for that discussion as USA Hawks speedster Jon St John raced away from the Wolverines defence to score with just over a minute still on the clock.
Junior Vaivai converted to bring the final score to 14-8 in favour of the Hawks.
Robin Legault, Kevin Gurniak, Danny Tupou, Rick Schouten, Evan Thomas, Matt Wyles, Steve Piatek, Eric Moyer, Alan Lafferty, Alex Boyd, Christian Miller, Akarika Dawn, Joel Hulett, Shaun Mckenzie, Eddie Bilborough, Denny McCarthy, Colbey Franko
Roman Lowrey, Taylor Howden, Taylor Alley, Gabriel Farley, Jon St John, Junior Vaivai, Matt Walsh, Andrew Kneisly, CJ Cortalano, Nick Newlin, Casey Clark, Bart Longchamp, Jon Purnell, Josh Rice, Rich Henson, Joe Eichner, Craig Mackenzie