The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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A big day out was had by all on a glorious day at North Sydney Oval, with no fewer than 5 matches of Rugby League of various grades, with many close and exciting finishes.
The Premier League local derby of Norths verses Manly was no exception. Trailing 28-6 at half time and with a possible semi finals appearance on the line, the Bears stepped up. Within minutes of the second half commencing, a ball passing frenzy led Billy Ngawini to score and Richard Retimana to convert. The next try was a Chris Tuatara classic, intercepting the ball, running in the try and pushing off defenders as he went. A speedy run from Andrew Moodie gave the Bears another 6 pointer before Billy Ngawini scored again, the points now 28 all!
Manly's first try of the second half put them in front again, but then came an astonishing length of the field try from centre Lester Salanoa, who intercepted and the scores were even again, 32 all. However Manly ran in a final 4 pointer in the end winning 36-32.
A reflective Gary Freeman made his final address to the Players as the players gave a round of applause for the tremendous work of the support staff, "Thanks for the effort you've put in this year boys. I hope you enjoyed the year and learnt a lot. I hope it gave you a good grounding for the future. Thanks to Alex Chan, Ian Donnelly, Jamie Feeney and Tevita Metuisela for coming back from Melbourne to do what is required. I'm disappointed with the way it finished but I hope the experience gives you something to take away and that you've made some good mates. I can't help but remember how you've gone from those trials at a park in Eastwood to the talented team you are".
And from Norths General Manager Greg Florimo - "From the club and fans thank you for the huge effort you've put in this year. Thanks to the coach - he's brought a lot of credibility back to the club. Last year we had won 6 from 26 games so you've restored some pride for the Club."
PHOTO: 'Can't Stop Me' - Norths' Lester Salanoa scoring his length of the field try against Manly-Warringah. Taken by Steve Little.
MANLY-WARRINGAH 36 (8 tries, 2 goals) defeated NORTH SYDNEY 32 (Richard Retimana, Billy Ngawini 2, Chris Tuatara, Andrew Moodie, Lester Salanoa tries Richard Retimana 4 goals)