Day 1 recap from Tri-Nations in Sydney
The Australian Steelers have secured their first victory of the 2013 Be the Influence Wheelchair Rugby Tri-Nations, defeating New Zealand 62-48 to finish day one of competition.
After suffering an opening game defeat at the hands of world number one team, the USA earlier today, Australia was hungry for a win and came out firing against the New Zealand WheelBlacks under a clear night’s sky at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral Square.
Australia opened up an early lead with goal scoring machines Ryley Batt and Chris Bond dominating play in the first half with 14 and 10 goals apiece. The Australians were able to maintain the pressure right through the second half to secure the win, in what was a highly physical game between the trans-Tasman rivals.
“New Zealand is always a hard opponent for us, we’ve had so many great battles over the years,” said Australian co-captain Jason Lees.
“I think we went away after our first game against the USA today, and we had a look at a few aspects of our game that we needed to improve on and I think we did that.
“It’s always a physical game with the Kiwis – they like to hit us and we like to hit them and it’s been like that for years. It’s good to have a good win against them. We always enjoy beating them.”
Tonight’s game was particularly significant for mid-pointer Curtis Palmer, who recently earned a spot in the Australian team after spending most of his playing career in the New Zealand national side.
It was the first time Palmer, who grew up in Australia but moved to New Zealand as a teenager, has played against his old team since making the move.
“I mentally prepared for it so the emotions didn’t get a hold of me,” said the 37-year-old,” said Palmer.
“I’m an emotional person and an emotional player for sure but for me it was just about getting out there and showing that the decision I made was a good one.”
Tonight’s game was the first international wheelchair rugby game held under lights on a purpose built floor at St Mary’s Cathedral Square.
Earlier today... The USA flexed their muscles against New Zealand with a 58-40 win in game two to take the lead in the three-day tournament.
In their first game of the series, New Zealand started strong and matched the USA point for point for much of the first quarter. But the USA’s incredible skill and scoring power opened up a 10 point lead at half time, from which the WheelBlacks never recovered.
The action continues tomorrow when New Zealand will look for their first win of the tournament in a rematch against the Steelers at 12:30pm.
Tickets are still available for purchase through Ticketmaster.
Game 1 – AUS v USA
1/4: USA 18 -14
H/T: USA 29-26
3/4: USA 42-36
F/T: USA 56-43
United States – 56
Goal scorers: Chuck Aoki 16, Joe Delagrave 14, Derrick Helton 10, Josh Wheeler 7, Chuck Melton 3, Eric Newby 3, Ernie Churn 1, Andy Cohn 1, Eric Chase 1.
Australia – 43
Goal scorers: Ryley Batt 22, Chris Bond 13, Curtis Palmer 3, Cameron Carr 1, Josh Hose 1, Andrew Harrison 1, Jason Lees 1, Andrew Harrison 1.
Game 2 – USA v NZL
1/4: USA 14-10
H/T: USA 29-19
3/4: USA 44-27
F/T: USA 58-40
United States – 58
Goal scorers – Chuck Aoki 10, Eric Newby 10, Joe Delagrave 9, Derrick Helton 8, Ernie Chun 6, Chuck Melton 5, Andy Cohn 5, Josh Wheeler 4, Eric Chase 1.
New Zealand – 40
Goal scorers – Koneferenisi 15, Dan Buckingham 12, Cameron Leslie 7, Clayton Utia 2, Rob Hewitt 2, Sholto Taylor 2
Game 3 – AUS v NZL
1/4: AUS 16-8
H/T: AUS 31-20
3/4: AUS 48-32
F/T: AUS 62-48
Australia – 62
Goal scorers – Ryley Batt 28, Chris Bond 16, Andrew Harrison 4, Cameron Carr 3, Jason Lees 2, Josh Hose 2, Curtis Palmer 1.
New Zealand – 48
Goal scorers - Barney Koneferenisi 24, Dan Buckingham 10, Cameron Leslie 8, Sholto Taylor 3, Rob Hewitt 3.
Day 2 Game Schedule (AEST)
12:30pm – NZL v AUS
5:30pm – USA v NZL
7:30pm – AUS v USA
Article courtesy APC