Another exciting Buildcorp NRC match at Leichhardt Oval today, culminating in a hat trick of tries for insurgent Stars wing Harry Jones, as the Stars got back to winning ways defeating their Sydney-based rivals the Greater Sydney Rams 44-32.
Ultimately the Stars forwards dominated at the breakdown and the rolling maul was a weapon that turned over a hatful of tries and ensured the win for the home team.
It started tough, The Rams putting the Stars under pressure near their posts until a couple of early infringements allowed the Stars to drive up the field and gain territory. The ensuing rolling maul deep into Rams territory was impossible to stop and some fine distribution from Stars halfback Jake Gordon provided Harry Jones his first opportunity to score in the left corner.
The Rams decided this wasn't good sport, so they marched back into Stars territory after the restart, with fly half Jai Ayaub selling a slick dummy and slicing through a fine gap before passing inside to prop Jed Gillespie, who cantered unopposed to the try line putting the Rams up 5-8.
The Rams then made their way back almost immediately into Stars territory, hitting the tryline with a dozen phases; the Stars defence good enough to hold them out until Rams number 6 Kelly Meafua barged under the posts to extend the lead 5-16.
From here the game really opened up.
Harry Jones took his second try off another big push through the Stars forwards and quick distribution left.
Sydney Stars prop Tom Robertson was next to score off another rolling maul; their total dominance in the ugly stuff providing the ascendancy and as the Stars regained the lead 18-16.
Some pretty strong positional kicking from the visitors provided the Stars some headaches and kept them camped in their 22 for much of the first half, although the Rams couldn’t capitalise, being punished by poor discipline and conceding penalties. The Stars did capitalise on their chances, marching back up field time and time again.
The Stars continued to back their scrum off attacking-zone penalties, and it paid off with a strong platform in front of the posts, a quick spin to the left and a try to inside centre Andrew Robinson.
Half time and into the sheds 26-16; a good comeback from the Stars off the back of their massive forwards effort.
Out from half time and the Stars were immediately back in Rams territory, with lock and Vice Captain Matt Philip providing huge leadership, driving his team’s rolling maul towards the try line for another jersey, this time Stars openside Jordan Tuapou going over to extend the lead 31-16.
Not content, Harry Jones then decided a hat trick might be on offer, scoring with a deft little streak down the left wing and a sneaky dot in the corner. A tough sideline conversion missed and the scores 36-16.
The Rams battled their way back into contention with a hard fought try to 12 Michael McDougall making the scores 36-21.
The home team then survived some serious inroads from an insurgent Rams; although courageous defence and a cheeky pilfer stopped an almost certain try on their line. A couple of infringements from the visitors and the Stars were camped back down in their favourite place. This proved to be the order of the day.
Christian Yassmin, a young gun that head coach Peter Playford has backed from the Sydney University colts program, then scored a bolter of a try, running through what seemed like 16 Rams defenders to put the stars up by 44-24.
A gnarly 80m try and sideline conversion from the Rams got the crowd excited and lifted their prospects back to 44-32, although it was proven that Yassmin had done enough to provide an unassailable lead for his team, as Jordan Tuapou pilfered a cracker and snuffed out the Rams’ late renaissance.
It was a hard fought and well-earned victory for the Stars, built on a massive forward display and some slick finishing off from the wingers and midfield.
The Stars were back in the sheds and chanting their victory song, Twinkle-twinkle little star, in what might prove to be an appropriate victory song as the team continue their charge in 2015.
Source: Sydney Stars