Looking to the future. With Nikolas Forrest, Bailey Page and Mack Selwood making their International debut. As well as Isaac Acheampong and Ben Jegede making their second appearance for the Tamaraws. Philippines International Tamaraws Head Coach Paul Sheedy, selected a young side to challenge the Malta Knights in the 2nd year of the “Friendship Cup” International Rugby League tournament. Held last weekend on 28th of October at New Era Stadium, Cabramatta, Sydney, Australia.
An error from the kick off with Tyrone O’Leary mishandling to catch the ball, were ominous signs for the Tamaraws. With the team down 24-0, conceding 4 unanswered tries in the first 15 minutes of play, through skillful Malta Knights play. Compounded by more errors from a young side.
Finding themselves in the Malta quarter. The Tamaraws awaken from their initial shell shock with Tyrone O’Leary making up for the early error. Starting the running attack, linking with a pass to Isaac Rossario who found Veteran Ned Stephenson running down the side line to score the Philippines first try in the corner!
But the revival was short lived with Malta scoring the next try. Tyrone O’Leary showing resilience and determination created a carbon copy play a couple of minutes earlier. Controlling the back line passes to again find Ned Stephenson running down the side line to score his second try for the Philippines in the same corner as his first.
With 10seconds left in the first half the never give up attitude of the Tamaraws showed. Starting with a Ben Jegede strong run in the Malta quarter, followed by another strong run by Issac Rossario breaking through Malta defence. To find a supporting Gerald Reyes to take his pass to score a penalty try to the Philippines; having been pushed down to the ground by a Malta player as he put the ball down to score. Debutant Nikolas Forrest then scores his first points as an International Tamaraw, converting the try and kicking a penalty in front of the post. The Tamaraws end the first half strongly with a 16-30 score line.
Malta Knights start the second half strongly through their much bigger forwards bearing down on Tamaraw defence to score two early second half, tries.
Looking to inspire his team and close to the Malta try line. Captain Dylan Jones takes a pass from Gerald Reyes and barges down the try line, carrying three Malta players with him to score the Philippines fourth try, which was converted by Nikolas Forrest.
Malta score the final couple of tries in the second half ending a courageous fight back from the young Tamaraws with the team going down 22-46! In the 2nd year of the “Friendship Cup” between the two nations results are even with one win each. With the Philippines winning the 2022 inaugural game by 32 – 22.
Malta 46 V 22 Philippines
• Philippines – Ned Stephenson*2, Gerald Reyes, Dylan Jones tries, Nikolas Forrest (3/4) goals
• Team Philippines: Isaac Rosario, Isaac Acheampong, Ned Stephenson, Dennis Gordon, Bailey Page, Tyrone O’Leary, Nikolas Forrest, Dylan Jones, Tyrone Tootell, Ian Nelson, Ricky Kaucia, Jordan Jones, Jeffery Vaughan.
Subs: Gerald Reyes, Jeromy Cairns, Mack Selwood, Benjamin Jegede
• Head Coach: Paul Sheedy
• Asst Coach: Jason Carter
• Manager: Michael Godfrey
• Trainers: Ryan Jones and Johansel Avery