Amsterdam Cobras won the first game in the NRLB Nationale Kampioenschap, defeating Rotterdam City Bulldogs 28-20 in the baking heat at their Rugby Bond Stadium home.
Around 200 fans witnessed the contest, Rotterdam taking an early 10-0 lead through explosive props Dominic Stuivenberg and Emmerson de Werk.
Because of the conditions, the match was played over four quarters and after the first break the Cobras worked themselves back into the match to establish control.
Some evasive breaks from Cobras’ ever-dangerous full back Barry Vliek and strong carries from centre Floris Steenland changed the momentum, Paolo Mirani showing individual brilliance in scoring a hat-trick of tries, all of them being spectacular efforts.
Going into the last quarter, Amsterdam led 28-12, Netherlands International Evert van Bochove then putting a massive tackle on Cobras’ winger Justin Stook leading to a knock on which gave the Pitbulls some much needed field position.
Prop Bonne Wilce scored a close range try and van Bochove went in for a well worked score straight from the kick off.
In the last five minutes tensions ran high but the cool head of Cobras’ pivot Martijn Hermans, who controlled their attack throughout, saw his side home.
Amsterdam Cobras Head Coach, Daan van Rossum, commented: “All the players really enjoyed the game today; the changing room is ecstatic right now. For many of the boys, this was their first experience of rugby league and to pull off a victory against our rivals is amazing.”
Opposite number, Pitbulls player/coach, Jason Bruygoms, said: “We know we can perform much better than this. There were times where I thought we could have kicked on and gone on to win the match but individual errors cost us.”
“All credit to Amsterdam though, they showed more enthusiasm. We had a good talk in the changing rooms after the match and now we need two intense weeks of training to do everything in our power to make sure we don’t have another performance like this.”
Game two of the NRLB Nationale Kampioenschap is on the 2nd August between the sides at Delft Rugby Club.