While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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A 74th minute try to Ian Hardman gave England Academy Under-17's a 28-22 win over the Australian Institute of Sport in their international clash at Hunslet on Friday night. The English side had allowed a 20-0 lead to slip away as the AIS levelled the game at 22-all with ten minutes remaining.
But a 60 metre break from Halifax's Simon Grix and the support from St Helens full back Hardman to score, enabled Stuart Wilkinson's side to win the first of their two clashes with the young Australians.
They had made a superb start, with James Graham - who was superb at prop - sending Leeds stand off Scott Murrell over after just 72 seconds.
Castleford's Craig Huby added the conversion, and James Coyle and Murrell combined to send Karl Pryce over six minutes later to extend the lead.
Coyle's inside pass sent his Wigan clubmate Harrison Hansen over on 11 minutes, with a second Huby goal opening up a 16-0 lead.
They failed to extend the lead further when the AIS were down to 12 men, following the sin-binning of Brett Anderson for interference, but Pryce's breakaway sent Danny Speakman in for a fourth score on the half hour.
The tourists got themselves onto the scoreboard on the stroke of half time, when scrum half James Aubusson scooted over and Nathan Berry goaled.
And their comeback was incisive after Bradford's Matthew Cook was yellow-carded on 42 minutes.
Within seconds, Anthony Perkins touched down in the right corner before Aubusson's clever kick gave the winger a second try on 47 minutes.
Two touchline goals from Aubusson cut the gap to 20-18, although Huby returned from the bench to add a penalty on the hour.
That looked crucial when Berry forced his way over from dummy half to level matters.
But Aubusson's conversion attempt hit the post before Grix broke free to send Hardman in for the crucial score.
Teams England Academy U17: Ian Hardman (St Helens); Lee Smith (Leeds Rhinos), Matthew Cook (Bradford Bulls), Karl Pryce (Bradford Bulls), Danny Speakman (Wigan Warriors); Scott Murrell (Leeds Rhinos), James Coyle (captain, Wigan Warriors); Craig Huby (Castleford Tigers), John Gallagher (Leeds Rhinos), James Graham (St Helens), Jason Golden (Leeds Rhinos), Harrison Hansen (Wigan Warriors), Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos). Subs: Simon Grix (Halifax), Brett Ferres (Bradford Bulls), Adam Bibey (Leigh Centurions), Andy Bracek (St Helens).
Australian Institute of Sport: Greg Eastwood; Thomas Potae, Ryan Shortland, Anthony Perkins, Brett Anderson, Anthony Perkins; Colin Wilkie, James Aubusson; Ben Lowe, Nathan Berry, Chris Houston, Joel Reddy, Rodney Griffin, Shane Eastwood. Subs: Daniel Backo, Danny Williams, Scott Anderson, Brendan Ovens.
Referee: Craig Halloran.
The second game will take place at Featherstone's Lionheart Stadium on Wednesday 10 December (7.30pm).