The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The North Sydney "Flair Bears" put on a stunning last quarter performance in front of a packed Newcastle crowd on Saturday afternoon at Energy Australia Stadium.
Fighting back from 16-nil down at the half time, positional changes unlocked the speed of Andrew Moodie on the wing and the barging strength of centre Namila Davui, each scoring a hat trick of tries. While the unheralded contribution of forwards Alex Chan, Kyle Arnold and an inspiring Matt Thurston (pictured) spurred the Bears to a last minute 28 all draw.
The first 20 minutes was a scoreless arm wrestle. However with the help of quality hooker Luke Quigley the Knights took control scoring four successive tries to the half time break.
It was Andrew Moodie's low to the ground speedy running that broke the points drought for the Bears, running down the left flank taking the score to 22-4. The Knights hit back soon after taking the score to 28-4. Then at the 60 minute mark The Bears try fest began.
Blazing back from injury Namila 'Cooter' Davui scored next in the right corner. Minutes later Andrew Moodie combined with Chris Tuatara to score. Then an amazing and stunning piece of team work as the ball passed through no fewer than 4 hands beginning with an Andrew Moodie chip kick and finishing with a cool running Namila Davui. Richard Retimana converted and with 10 left on the clock Norths had closed the gap to 28-18. Soon after Cooter and Andrew combined for a four pointer.
Five minutes left and the score 28-22 Namila used tremendous strength to barge over in the far left corner as the game came down to Richard Retimana and a difficult conversion.
The crowd held their collective breath as Richard succeeded bringing the score to 28 all. In the remaining few minutes both sides attempted to gain field goal position but failed.
"We'll take the point" exclaimed General Manager and Bears legend Greg Florimo. The circumstances of the draw lead to a euphoria akin to a win as the Bears victory song rang loud and clear from the sheds after the realization that a draw keeps the Bears in the hunt for a finals birth.
Newcastle 28 (M White, R Brown, B Tremain-Cannon, N Hinton, M Bartlett tries D Campbell 4 goals) drew with North Sydney 28 (A Moodie 3, N Davui 3 tries R Retimana 2 goals)
This Saturday Gary Freeman?s boys play out the last leg of the annual Frank Hyde Sheild at 3:00 p.m. at Henson Park.
For more information go to http://www.northsydneybears.com.au