‘They went straight through them’: Burton sparks Rams under-16s comeback

THE SPICE RACK: Orange CYMS back-rower Hudson Spicer was strong for the Rams in Saturday’s win over Bidgee. Photo: PETER CLARKEA MATT Burton-inspired Western Rams has recovered from an early 12-point deficit to record a crucial 22-18 victory over Bidgee Bulls in the opening round of the 2016 under-16 AAMI Country Championships.
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Playing at West Wyalong’s Ron Crowe Oval, Western struggled early as Bulls guns James Howse and Griffin Pinney crossed for tries to shoot Bidgee out to a 12-0 lead, Billy McGovern landing both conversions.

But the second-half was completely different.

Four tries in the space of 15 minutes rocketed Jamie Szczerbanik’s side to a 22-12 lead and, despite a late try by Bidgee behemoth Tomasi Baravilala, the Rams held on to win 22-18 over a team manager Andrew Pull believes is Western’s biggest challenge for the southern pool’s number one ranking.

“I’m really proud to be associated with this group of kids,” Pull said following the win.

“They couldn’t hold on to the ball in that first half, but whatever the coach said at half-time worked because they ran 100 miles an hour in the second half.

“They went straight through them.”

Burton was instrumental in that turnaround.

Two minutes into the second half the St John’s Dubbo product laid on the first try for Condobolin’s David White before Coonabarabran winger Jack Isedale crossed for the Rams’ second four-pointer to reduce the deficit to just two points.

Orange CYMS halfback Josh Board then scored in the 14th minute of the second half after latching on to a wonderful offload by clubmate Hudson Spicer to put the Rams in the lead for the first time.

Sealing the victory, Burton then stepped two would-be Bidgee tacklers to score a cracking individual try.

He then landed his third conversion of the game to shoot Western’s lead out to 22-12, which was enough for the Rams to hold on and win by four points.

Szczerbanik’s men now play Southern Redbacks in Cowra next Saturday before taking on the Southern Stingrays at Batemans Bay in round three, games Pull says Western are more than capable of winning.

The best two teams out of the southern pool go on to play the best two sides in the championship’s northern section.

WESTERN RAMS 22 (David White, Jack Isedale, Josh Board, Matt Burton tries; Matt Burton 3 goals) def BIDGEE BULLS 18 (Tomasi Baravilala, James Howse, Griffin Pinney tries, Billy McGovern 3 goals).

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