Rugby League stars triumph in tour opener

Storyline: Rugby League

A dominant performance by the RNRL Brothers saw their 2024 tour to Australia start in the best possible way with a 36-18 victory over Renown United under floodlights on Tuesday evening.

On arrival in Sydney the tour party made the most of the excellent facilities at ADF Base Randwick to acclimatise and prepare for the opening fixture of the three-match series. 

Renown United are a ‘feeder’ club for the St George Illawarra Dragons and have played and hosted Royal Navy Rugby League (RNRL) teams since the first tour in 2002, taking the spoils on every occasion until now.

Head coach CPO Darren Bamford watched his side dominate the first half with skipper CPO Ben Taylor leading the Brothers to a 24:6 half time lead. The opening score after only 7 minutes went to MNE Elliott Richardson making his debut for the RN Senior squad, fellow MNE Rhys Joel converting. 6:0 The game went from bad to worse for the home side, losing a player to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

RNRL took full advantage of the numerical advantage posting 2 more converted tries, one each for ET(ME) Gav Duffy and, 2023 Young Player Of The Year AB Tyler Leighton, both converted by Joel. The home side did pull one back but that score was cancelled out by another for RNRL, LPT James Teixeira touching down with another conversion for Rhys Joel, 24:6, and that was the half. A fantastic 40 minutes by the Brothers going into the sheds with a comfortable and well-deserved lead.

It was business as usual in the second half, ten minutes in and winger AB Kini Dakuliga rounded of a sweeping RN move for his sides 5th 0f the match, 2nd Row AB Eden Quantock crossed for the final RN try with both tries being converted by Rhys Joel the lead was extended to 36:6 going into the final quarter.

The Brothers did not score again but were put under huge pressure by Renown who scored a couple of converted tries themselves to make the final score 36-18.

The last few minutes were full of incident with the Ref holding up the game when it was spotted that Renown had 14 players on the pitch and to round things off the game was stopped a couple of minutes early due to floodlight failure!

Man Of The Match was presented to Tyler Leighton for a brilliant game at hooker for the Brothers.

So, an impressive start to the tour for Bamford’s players before they took on the Coogee Dolphins on Saturday 20th April, just missing out as the Dolphins took the win 12-10.

The final match of the tour is on the 26th of April when the RNRL Brothers will take on the Royal Australian Navy ‘Tridents’. This is a one-off test match and is a curtain raiser to the Manly Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels NRL fixture and is part of the Australian annual ANZAC day commemorations. 

Photography: LSC M Satola