Credit: Tom Campbell
It was the Josh Toole show at Dorrien Gardens as Perth City stormed home for an emphatic 36-20 win over the Perth Kiwis in the Senior Men’s NRL WA ANZAC Challenge.
Toole scored two tries and created a further two to walk away with the Man of the Match honour.
“It’s a good feeling, but I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my teammates,” he said.
“It was a team effort.”
After losing last year’s fixture in a golden point heart-breaker, the Kiwis came out with a point to prove in a tense opening ten minutes.
It was a fiery affair, as tempers threatened to boil over in the early-going.
Some poor discipline cost City the first points – Harry Debique slotting a penalty right in front of the sticks to give the Kiwis an early 2-0 lead.
It would be City who would grab the first four-pointer of the contest, however.
Following a handling error from Kiwis winger Stevie Aull, City spread the ball wide into the hands of Rockingham-flyer Connor Hudson who crashed over in the corner.
Jack Wray added the extras to give his side a 6-2 lead.
Keen for revenge, it didn’t take long for the Kiwis to respond – Joondalup winger Mark Huiswaard finishing off a smooth set play in the corner.
Debique added the extras.
With just ten minutes left in the first half, Toole started to make his presence known with a few darting runs out of the halves.
The North Beach Sea Eagle was then involved in a slick interchange of passes with Andrew Jeffery, allowing the hooker to streak away to score before again turning provider to set up Jason Nicholls in the corner as City ended the half with some momentum and an 18-8 lead.
It was all guns blazing after the break as both teams scored tries in a frantic opening five minutes.
Some individual brilliance from Toole was cancelled out by Karin Tatu’s effort moments later as the score moved to 24-14 with over half an hour still left on the clock.
As time ticked on, the Kiwis saw more of the ball but struggled to break down a resolute City defence desperate for the bragging rights.
It would be City who would extend their advantage in fact – Bjorn Crotty crashing over under the sticks before Toole capped off a great individual display with an intercept try.
Toole picked off Leighmon Hohai Katene’s no-look pass to sprint clear untouched.
Delane Edwards scored a consolation try for the Kiwis, but it was in vain as City stormed to a convincing 36-20 win.
City have now won three ANZAC Challenges in a row under Coach Jason Tutt.
English halfback Wray had an impressive day on the kicking tee for City – converting 3/3 attempts from the sideline, while Hudson also went 3/3.
In the Senior Women’s, the Kiwis ran out comfortable 40-6 winners.