The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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BRIDGEND BLUE BULLS 42 TORFAEN TIGERS 10 Bridgend Blue Bulls, Newport Titans and Aberavon Fighting Irish all remain in the top three of the Total Rl.com Rugby League Conference Premier Wales after winning home matches on Saturday.
Bridgend easily overcame Torfaen Tigers 42-10 at Porthcawl. Jon Williams broke through in the first minute, laying the ball off to Marcus Sainsbury to give the Blue Bulls and early lead.
Kevin Ellis, John Docherty both added to the score before Docherty set up man-of-the-match, Neil Dixon to make it 16-0. Geraint Lewis added another just before half-time to give the home side a 22-0 half-time lead.
Torfaen made a mini-recovery in the first five minutes of the second half after tries from Dale Nash and Luke Bigham but further scores from Ellis, Docherty and Lloyd O'Connor put the game out of reach.
ABERAVON FIGHTING IRISH 52 VALLEY COUGARS 8
It was a similar story at Aberavon as the hosts trounced Valley Cougars 52-8.
This win shows how much Aberavon have strength in depth as they were missing eight first choice players, all in the Welsh Students team for the England match on Sunday while another 14 of their squad were also unavailable having being picked for Wales under-19 duty. Debuts were given to Lee Jones, Kyle Jenkins and Matthew Rowlands.
Like at Porthcawl, the hosts were 22-0 up at half-time after tries from Liam Gadd, Ben Davies, Sean O'Brien and a brace from Andy Llewellyn.
Gadd ran the length of the pitch in the first minute of the second half to add to the score. Gareth Lewis added another five minutes later, converting his own try.
Mark Jones finally got the Cougars on the scoresheet five minutes later before veteran Mike Healy made it 40-4 with a try under the sticks.
Simon Bailey and Gareth Lewis also crossed for Aberavon, Richard Andrews scored a consolation try for the Cougars before Gadd repeated his first minute second half feat in the final minute by once again running the length of the pitch to complete the scoring.
NEWPORT TITANS 24 CARDIFF DEMONS 16
IAN GOLDEN at Pill Harriers RFC
Newport consolidated second place in the Total RL.com Welsh Conference Premier after beating an understrength Cardiff Demons 24-16 in the closest match of the day.
Newport lived up to their reputation of being a tough physical side with a defence that most teams find hard to crack. Cardiff were not excepted from this and it was a penalty that gave the Demons a 2-0 lead, kicked by Gareth Jones following one of the many infringements rightfully given against Newport in this game.
Tyrone Mahoney set up Scott Hirene eight minutes later to put Newport 4-2 up but Cardiff, who had five first-choice players out of the side on international duty, went into the break leading 10-4. Jones kicked a second penalty, missed out on a hat-trick but missing a 40-metre attempt before setting up a try for skipper John Byers.
But the Titans dominated the second half and turned the score around after just six minutes of the second half. From Ben Morris' grubber kick, Pete Ovey put the Titans to within two before Paul Jones gave them the lead three minutes later.
A ten-minute spell of Demons pressure came to no avail - Andy Jones coming the closest but being held up over the line - and it was Newport who extended their lead after a breakaway try from man-of-the-match Richard Davies.
Demons weren't beaten yet and finally broke through in the 76th minute after a well-placed kick from Gareth Jones was excellently caught and grounded by Gareth Holtham.
But Mark Wheeler put the game out of the reach of the plucky Demons with a try in the final minute to complete a deserved win for the Titans.
Despite losing Demons coach Anthony Loxton was proud of his young side commenting, "We did a lot out there but Newport's defence was first class and did well to keep us out. Every player gave their all today and I'm proud of them all. I hope we can learn from this defeat and do well against Swansea at Taff's Well on Saturday."
NEWPORT TITANS: Lee Fletcher, Steven Murphy, Earl Palmer, Ross Palmer, Pete Ovey, Owen Jones, Ben Morris, Jon Griffiths, Tyrone Mahoney, Scott Hirene, Craig Drew, Mark Wheeler, Paul Jones. Subs (all used): Richard Davies, John Davies, Richard Jones, Rob Dodgson.
Tries: Hirene (18), Ovey (43), P.Jones (46), R.Davies (57), Wheeler (78). Goals: Palmer 2/5.
CARDIFF DEMONS: Jamie Iles, Adam King, Gareth Holtham, Lewis Francis, Andrew Bradshaw, Gareth Jones, Oliver Hughes, Pete Gooding, Andy Howard, Pat Howell, John Byers, Anthony Loxton, Miles Davies. Subs (all used): Kyle Blake, Richard Jones, Andy Jones, Tom Burnell.
Tries: Byers (37), Holtham (76). Goals: Jones 4/5.
Gamestar: Richard Davies who scored a try to round off an excellent all-round performance.
Gamebreaker: Mark Wheeler's try with just two minutes to go gave the Titans an eight-point lead.
Referee: Niel Wood (Hull). Half-time: 4-10. Men of the Match: Titans: Richard Davies. Demons: Pat Howell _____________ Leagueunlimited credits and thanks Ian Lovell for his great action photography.