The final National Youth Competition Grand Final was played in a feisty and entertaining style between two old rivals in Manly and Parramatta. The result went down to the wire, but it was the eighth placed Manly Sea Eagles who would go on to take the game and the premiership.
Never Give Up, Never Surrender
After the first twenty minutes of this game, it wasn’t just looking like an Eels victory, you were wondering by how many. This young Manly side, however, were definitely not thinking that.
They were getting out muscled, out enthused and well and truly outscored by Parramatta in the early part of this game. To their credit, the young Sea Eagles stuck to it. They started to complete their sets, they started to play more football in the Eels half of the field and the starch in their defence returned. And so did the points.
In the end, the Sea Eagles determination and trust in their ability gave them a chance to win the game at the end. And they took it with both hands.
Tough Lessons for Young Eels
The Sea Eagles may not have been thinking about how many points they were going to lose by, but you get the feeling the Eels were thinking about it. Despite hammering the Sea Eagles in the first twenty minutes, the intensity well and truly waned for the remainder of the game.
Dropped balls, silly penalties and uncontrolled enthusiasm brought the Sea Eagles back into the game, and eventually handed them the premiership.
This is a tough lesson for the Eels players to take. But if they take it the right way, this will hold them in good stead for the rest of their career.
A Name for The Future
Parramatta halfback Dylan Brown is a name we should all be hearing a lot more of in the years to come.
If anything, he should have taken more control of the Parramatta side in this game as he showed that he definitely has the temperament you look for in a leader of a team. But then again, he is only 17 and he would no doubt be feeling his way whilst being surrounded by older, more experienced players.
In saying that, when he was playing on instinct, he looked a gem. He scored the first try for the Eels and also chased down one of the Manly speedsters to save a certain try. The more he plays, learns and develops his confidence, the better he will become.
The NYC Comes to an End
After ten years, the National Youth Competition (NYC) has come to an end. From next year, two state-wide under 20’s competitions will be rolled out in New South Wales and Queensland which will flow into the already established state cup competitions.
The ARL Commission sees this as a better system to help these young players mature and get used to becoming a professional rugby league player in their own time. Time will tell if this is a success, but you can see why this decision has been made. Especially from a mental health perspective with suicide becoming a terrible issue during the course of the competition.
Sea Eagles 20
Tries: Tevita Funa, Bilal Maarbani, Blake Andrews, Keith Titmuss
Goals: Tevita Funa 2/4
Tries: Dylan Brown, Denzal Tonise, Greg Leleisiuao
Goals: Dylan Brown 3/4