Central West battles through tough group while Penrith shines at Rugby NSW Under 14 State Championship

EFFORT: Dubbo talent Nosa Obaseki in action for the Central West during the weekend's action. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN
EFFORT: Dubbo talent Nosa Obaseki in action for the Central West during the weekend's action. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN

The Central West may have homeground advantage but it still had a tough start to things during the group stage of the NSW Rugby Under 14 State Championship at Orange on the weekend.

Going down 19-5 to Randwick in their opening game at Endeavour Oval, the Baby Balls then faced off against their rivals ACT Brumbies in the second game. 

However, despite Central West having the wood over them in Canberra last year, the Brumbies were far too strong at Endeavour Oval, racking up an east 38-5 win on Saturday afternoon. 

Their third game put the hosts up against group leaders Manly, who had defeated Brumbies 22-0 and then Randwick 40-5.

Baby Balls didn’t get as blown out of the water as they could have been, going down 41-5 to Manly, who topped their group

Central West played off against Central Coast on Saturday afternoon, winning 15-0 in their play-off game, meaning they will play off against Parramatta for 13th place at 9.55am on Monday at Endeavour Oval.

While it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Central West, Penrith went on an unbeaten run through the weekend's preliminary stages.

Penrith's backline is unbelievable, in particular five-eighth Isiah Katoa, centres Latraelle Leota and Siotame Hansen and fullback Malakai Tereke

They were unstoppable in pool A, kicking off with a huge 41-0 win over Hunter, a 20-5 win over Eastwood and a huge 76-0 thrashing of Parramatta to cruise into the top of their group to qualify for the first quarter final. 

They absolutely crunched Illawarra in that game, too, winning 67-0 to set up a date with Manly in the semi final at 9am on Monday morning. 

Manly also cruised through their pool matches as well, crunching ACT Brumbies (22-0), Randwick (40-5) and Central West (41-5) on their unbeaten run early before beating West Harbour 29-5 in the qualifying final.

On the other side of the draw, Gordon will face off against Northern Suburbs for a berth in the grand final.

While Gordon finished top of its group and racked up huge scores, Northern Suburbs took a more difficult route to the semi-finals, having much smaller wins in their group games than the three other semi-finalists. 

They defeated West Harbour 29-12 in their first game before overcoming the Mark Gerrard-coached Warringah outfit 14-7 and Sydney University 27-7. 

However, they had a comfortable 22-7 win over Randwick to travel into the semi-final to book a date with Gordon at 9am on Monday. 

The winners of the semi-finals gear up for the grand final at 2.15pm on Monday, while the two losers play off for third at 1.45pm on the main field. 

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