Group 20 rugby league
THE Yenda Blueheelers have staged a dramatic second-half comeback to down competition giants Leeton 32-22 at Wade Park yesterday.
A rousing half-time address by Yenda coach Roy Romeo spurred the home side into a near-flawless display of football in the second term, despite running into a strong breeze.
The victory came at a cost to Yenda, with five-eighth George Broome dislocating his knee in the final tackle of the match – all-but certain to rule him out for the season.
The ’Heelers will play TLU in this weekend’s final round in a match to decide third position on the Group 20 ladder.
Romeo described yesterday’s victory as one of the sweetest he had been involved in.
“When were down at half-time I thought we were in for a hammering,” Romeo said.
“I just told the boys that Leeton weren’t unbeatable and we could win the match if we just believed in ourselves.
“They rolled their sleeves up and this win gives them the confidence they can go all the way.”
Yenda hooker Shannon Rupapere spearheaded the second-half resurgence, making ground at will on the fringes of the ruck.
Centre Geff Cook was also at his damaging best while teenage sensation Shorne Ngu continued his blistering run of form with two tries.
Romeo also praised the side’s shatterproof goal-line defence and high completion rate.
Trailling 22-12 at half-time, the home side managed to do something no other side has achieved this season – keep Leeton scoreless in an entire half.
“I don’t know what happened – it was our worst 40 minutes of the season,” Leeton captain-coach Willie McDonald said.
“We had the breeze at our backs but we just couldn’t stop their momentum.
“Normally it will swing back to you for 10 or 15 minutes but it just didn’t this time.”
The loss puts Leeton just one point ahead of West Wyalong – and means if they fall to Bidgee in this weekend’s local derby they could very well lose the minor premiership.
“We’ve been up top all year but we haven’t really spoken about the minor premiership,” McDonald said.
“Today was only a minor hiccup up though – I’m not too worried.”
Half-back Adam Frazer, back-rower Shayne Roden and fullback Sam Eisenhut were the best for Leeton, while flying winger Kolo Lomu crossed for a double.