The West Coast Pirates academy boys are back in training after their tour over east which saw them take in footballing wisdom from Rugby League legends and allowed them to compete against some of the best Under 16 talent in NSW.
The first match of the tour saw them take on Manly Sea Eagles at the NSW Institute of Sport in Narrabeen.
In a game which saw the academy boys outplay the Sea Eagles for three of the four twenty minute quarters, the team showed resolve to hold off their more experienced Harold Matthews’ opponents.
Damien Darlington nabbed two tries for the Pirates with Charm Rameka, Brandon Wright, Wirihana Huriwai and Tane Waikari-Graham all getting on the scoreboard.
Jesse Day was named man of the match.
The next match up saw the boys take on Mascot RLC under 16’s, a side within a club that boasts a team in every junior competition in NSWRL and is widely regarded as one of the best junior clubs in New South Wales.
The Academy boys made short work of them however, running home 50-6 victors with Jason Nicholls, Brody Whitehead and Damien Darlington all snaring two tries a piece whilst George Bates, Nika Morehu and Jake Penny all crossed for the win.
Damien Darlington would pick up the man of the match award for this game played in stifling conditions.
The final game of the tour would see the West Coast Pirates Academy boys take on a fellow academy in the form of the South West Sydney Academy of Sport, with the game played out at the picturesque Kirkham Oval in Camden.
In warm conditions, the boys raced away to a 12-0 half time lead, with Tane Waikiri-Graham and Sam Hutcheson putting the visitors into a commanding position.
Tamba Lebbie, Damien Darlington and Brody Whitehead all crossed to hold off a fast finishing NSWAS team to win 26-20 and secure an undefeated tour status for the West Coast Pirates Academy.
Throughout the tour, the boys managed to take in the sights of Darling Harbour, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour bridge, whilst also watching both the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and South Sydney Rabbitohs train.
In particular, during the Bulldogs session, the boys had an interesting chat with head coach Des Hasler before being whisked through the expansive Bulldogs facility at Belmore.
Afterwards they were treated to going down and meeting the players one-on-one down on the pitch.
The boys also were able to visit Rugby League Central and see some of the great historical memorabilia at the Rugby League Museum, with some even taking their photo with the replica trophy!
And if that wasn’t enough the boys had a surprise run-in with Roosters’ gun Sonny Bill Williams.
The Academy side will continue to train and play matches throughout the rest of the year, for more information keep your eyes peeled on nrlwa.com.au