Sports Shorts: Nelson Bay Gropers thump Newcastle Uni 48-0 to retain Ben Clarke Shield

Mallabula Rugby League Club produced an outstanding effort to defeat the competition leaders Woodberry 26-12 away from home on Saturday.

The Panthers’ win was a great team performance, despite going into the game down on troops.

The two bookends, Laurence Burdekin and Leigh Kelly, gained the hard yards up front. Fullback Mitch Simington was solid at the back. Second rower Connor O’Neill gave non-stop effort, which earned him best player points. Lock Josh Wilson also had a fine game.

Mallabula now sit equal second on the ladder.

A tough road trip lies ahead. The Panthers face the Kearsley Crushers on Saturday.

Nelson Bay Junior Rugby League continues to produce potential grade-level players with tough forward Jarred Williams being picked in the under-13 Newcastle representative development squad to play in the Hunter Cup this weekend at Denman.

The team will be coached by former Lakes first grader Nathan May.

The squad will play games against Maitland group four and group 21. 

Several Bay junior teams are playing outstanding rugby league with Ritchie Kincade’s under-12 team leading the way with an impressive undefeated record so far.

Rod Dixon’s under-16 team is a well drilled unit and they continue improve every week.

Nelson Bay Rugby Union Club had plenty to celebrate last Saturday at Strong Oval with a wins across all grades.

The Medowie Maruaders started the day in style with a 38-19 win over University.

The seconds wrapped up forth place with a comprehensive 31-11 victory.

In the main event, the Gropers retained the Ben Clarke memorial shield with some brilliant attacking rugby, downing the students 48-0 and moving to top spot on the competition ladder.

The Bay’s hard working forward pack, with breakaway Nathan Oliver the stand out, laid the platform for the slick back line to kick in to gear.

The return of clever full back Jack Arthur produced immediate results when he created a break in his own quarter and linked with Chad Northcott to score under the post.

Former representative player Dan Collins and smart half back Charlie Fielder both scored doubles for the second week in a row.

This Saturday will be a very physical encounter when the Bay host Hamilton.