By Chris Newman, Date: 3/8/12
To the crowd of 5000 that watched the Toa Samoa Residents against New South Wales Country the game was Toaâ€™s for the taking but handling errors and attitude saw NSW take the win yet again 22 to 18.
Toa Samoa coach Ponifasio Vasa said that despite losing he has seen great improvement in his side and is very proud of their efforts. â€œThe boys played very well, it was a big change from Mondayâ€™s game and I am very proud of the way they played.â€
â€œThe games was ours but unfortunately we made too many mistakes which eventually cost us the game, hats off to NSW for a very good game,â€ NSW captain Sam Wooden said that playing Toa was very hard and they had to dig deep to produce the win.
â€œIt was a very physical game and we always knew Toa Samoa was not going to be easy, my boys did played well and Iâ€™m extremely proud of them.â€
Nine minutes into the first half Chris Pyne of NSW with some fancy footwork stepped his way to the try line to draw first blood, conversion by Captain Sam Wooden was unsuccessful leaving points at four nil. Four minutes after that Lio Lolo answered with a corner try to level the scores at four all as Toa captain Teofilo Lepou failed to convert.
It was a brutal game and Toa certainly redeemed the selves from Mondayâ€™s performance with some spot on tackling, heavy hit saw four NSW players carried off the field. Both teams put up solid defences as well as superb attacking skill yet at the stroke of half time no other points were conceded and the scores remained four all.
The second half saw a lot more effort by the boys in blue allowing Tanielu Pasene to cross the NSW try line to put Samoa in front 8 to four. NSW answered back with another try to level the scores yet again as no conversions we successful for both sides and the score were eight all.
It was NSW again to take the lead with another try and this time Wooden landed the conversion taking the scores to 14 points against Toaâ€™s eight. Toa fought back and score another try by Vailoa Kereti, Lepou failed to convert again leaving the scores at 14 to 10.
Toa scored another try to even the points yet again at 14 all, another try by Toa Samoa and it was Toa Samoa in the lead. NSW answered with another try and a conversion to take the lead 16 points to 14, the final try by Toa was suppose to seal the game at 18 to 16.
Tackling errors and pure determination by NSW earned them another try at the stroke of fulltime and it was NSW 22 against Toa Samoaâ€™s 18. After the game both teams were presented with medals and the tournament trophy was handed to NSW as well as player of the match who scored the winning try Terence Seuseu.
Toa young gun Klaus Stunzer Grey played a full game at the pivotal role of five eighth and held his own. The youngest player in the tournament didnâ€™t put a foot wrong and guided his team around the park with confidence as if he were playing his hundredth game, not first.
â€œI see a big future for this kid,â€ said Chris Newman. â€œHe was nervous but his individual preparation for the game was brilliant and got the job done.
â€œWatching him play and match it against former NRL players twice his age â€“ he got the job done.
â€œItâ€™s hard to believe the kid only turned 16 last week.â€
â€œThat is the toughest game of footy I have ever played and they really made us work for the full 80 minutes,â€ NRL veteran Jamie Feeny said after the game.