The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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by IAN GOLDEN at Coychurch Road
A crowd of over 400 witnessed some classic Rugby League as East met West in the first Welsh Origin match in four years.
East Wales attacked from the start and were unlucky not to score in the fifth minute as Cardiff?s Pete Moore crossed the line but was prevented from grounding the ball.
However, the deadlock was broken five minutes later. A fine set of passes from Moore and Sean Gilbertson lead to Darren Smith running past two Wests? defenders to touchdown. Ross Palmer converted.
Wests hit back almost straight away. Some poor Easts defending led to Bridgend?s Lenny Woodard touching down underneath the posts. An easy kick from Dean Scully levelled the scores.
Wests then dominated for the majority of the first half. Aberavon?s Sean O?Kelly and Liam Gadd both scored underneath the sticks in the space of three minutes mid-way through the half while their Fighting Irish team-mates Neil Davies and Dan Hawkins also crossed late on.
Easts only other try in the half was a 28th minute effort from Owen Jones following a 60 metre run from his Newport team-mate Neil McKim leaving the half-time score 28-12.
Easts came out in the second half with far more passion and, despite plenty of pressure from Wests, were rewarded with two early Owen Jones tries. Torfaen?s Matt Entwhistle then grounded in the 69th minute bringing the deficit to only two points.
However, Wests dominated the final ten minutes as a field goal from Neil Davies, a Craig Fox breakaway try and a Dan Hawkins mazy run gave them a well deserved 35-26 win.
In the curtain raiser between the under 15 counterparts, a second half hat-trick from Torfaen's Jason Tovey sealed an excellent 30-6 win for East Wales. The first half was a very close affair with Aberavon's Aaron Bray and Valley Cougars' Matthew Saunders exchanging tries to make the half time score 6-6. Cougars' Nicky Cuff and Ryan James were the other East Wales try scorers in the high scoring second half while Lloyd White kicked three goals.
1. Simon Bevan (Swansea Valley Miners) 2. Grant Epton (Bridgend Blue Bulls) 3. Dan Scully (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 4. Neil Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish) ?Capt 5. Lenny Woodard (Bridgend Blue Bulls) 6. Liam Gadd (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 7. Carl Fox (Bridgend Blue Bulls) 8. James Massey (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 9. Sean O?Kelly (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 10. Andy Llewellyn (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 11. Nathan Strong (Bridgend Blue Bulls) 12. Darren Ryan (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 13. Phil Williams (Bridgend Blue Bulls) 14. Paul Morgan (Bridgend Blue Bulls) 15. Dai Hawkins (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 16. Mark Burke (Aberavon Fighting Irish) 17. Dan Hawkins (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Tries: Woodard (15), O'Kelly (22), Gadd (24), Davies (32), Hawkins (40, 78), Fox (75)
Goals: Scully 5/7
1. Owen Jones (Newport Titans) 2. Craig Jones (Torfaen Tigers) 3. Neil McKinn (Newport Titans) 4. Matt Williams (Torfaen Tigers) 5. Damien Smith (Torfaen Tigers) 6. Ross Palmer (Newport Titans) 7. Peter Moore (Cardiff Demons) 8. Mark Dando (Cardiff Demons) - Capt 9. Jason Hill (Newport Titans) 10. John Griffths (Newport Titans) 11. Kevin Jones (Newport Titans) 12. Sean Gilbertson (Cardiff Demons) 13. Paul Jones (Newport Titans)
14. Matt Entwhistle (Torfaen Tigers) 15. Cousie Jones (Valley Cougars) 16. Ben Morris (Cardiff Demons) 17. Steffan Jones (Torfaen Tigers)
Tries: Smith (10), O.Jones (28, 42, 60), Entwhistle (69)
Goals: Palmer 3/5
Men of the Match
Wests: Nathan Strong Easts: Owen Jones
Referee: Colin Neale