It was a promising start for Melbourne Storm’s new pathways program, as the U/17 Harold Matthews and U/19 SG Ball squads took to the fields for the first rounds of their respective competitions at Hill Grammar in Kenthurst, NSW.
U/17s UNE Harold Matthews
Starting strong, the Storm Under 17s left the pitch at halftime with a 12-0 lead keeping the North Sydney Bears scoreless.
Following a quick play from the mid-field close to the line, Micah Warena dived over in the opening ten minutes to put the visitors on the board. Warena was closely followed by a powerful Lockyer-Azile Foliola who pushed through the Bears defence from dummy-half to boost the boys in purple’s lead, alongside two conversions from Waka Hammond.
The Bears came back with a vengeance in the second half, levelling the score from a converted line-break and a try-line scramble.
The young team will once again travel to New South Wales for Round 2 to take on the Western Suburbs Magpies at Kirkham Oval on February 10.
North Sydney Bears 12 – Melbourne Storm 12
Storm: Micah Warena, Lockyer-Azile Foliola
Bears: Blake Van Drie, Ben Stringer
Storm: Waka Hammond 2
Bears: Benjamin Askew 2
UNE Harold Matthews Cup | Round One Highlights
U/19s UNE SG Ball Cup
The Melbourne SG Ball Under 19s secured a boost of confidence for the 2024 season after taking a 32-16 win over the North Sydney Bears.
The Storm young-guns came out of the gate with a burst of energy laying down five of their six tries in the first half. Jett Elich kicked off the Club’s scorecard by running over in the opening seven minutes, followed by a successful run from dummy-half by Harrison Hill.
Two minutes later, a speedy linebreak and quick-thinking pass from Ioane Lui allowed Nisifolo Fauonuku to make his way over from the centres. Lui went on to make yet another linebreak work off a scrum, this time taking the cake for himself as he secured Storm’s fourth try in the 30th minute.
Some smart-offloading skills from the group avoided a final first-half defensive effort from the Bears, giving winger Dylan Gallagher the chance to crash over before the siren, giving his team a 28-point lead.
The sixth and final try for the boys in purple was just as exciting as the first. In a last ditch effort, five-eighth Lui tapped in a grubber that saw second-rower Philip Telea kick into gear to push down before the Bears defence got to it.
North Sydney struggled to regain the lead only clocking in two more tries and conversions, before a string of penalities before the end of the match up.
The 19-year-olds will take a home-ground advantage into Round 2 when the welcome the Western Suburbs Magpies to Seabrook Reserve in Broadmeadows on February 10.
North Sydney Bears 16 – Melbourne Storm 32
Storm: Jett Elich, Harrison Hill, Nisifolo Fauonuku, Ioane Lui, Dylan Gallagher, Philip Telea
Bears: Billy Arena, Tyreece Arama, Quinn Mersal
Storm: Tulloch Mclellan 4
Bears: Zachary Coom 2
UNE SG Ball Cup | Round One Highlights