The Canada Ravens have created their first piece of history on the road to next month’s Rugby League World Cup, playing their inaugural match and defeating the Corrimal Cougars 26-20 at King George Park, Richmond.
The Corrimal Cougars are an undefeated side in 2017 who have been supportive of the Ravens campaign and travelled from Australia to play two matches.
The game was played in wet conditions, but this did not stop the Cougars from moving the ball around, which saw Karla Cowan and Emma Walters scoring the first two tries out wide, with Keeley Davis converting the first goal to make it 10-0.
Despite only one practice session together the Ravens managed to regroup quickly after the slow start, with prop Valerie Wideski charging through the Cougars defensive line to score under the posts, then Kelcey Leavitt scored from close range and Michelle Helmeczi converted one goal to bring the scores level at 10-10.
On the halftime siren the Ravens took the lead for the first time on the back of Barbara Waddell dummying and running to score near the posts and converting her own try, leaving the score at 16-10 at the end 40 minutes of play.
The Cougars composed themselves and brought the difference to two points straight after halftime with a try out wide to Christie Robinson, followed by Jade Etherden scoring and Davis converting her second goal to take the score to 20-16.
The lead then changed for the third time with Ravens’ winger, Tiera Reynolds, displaying her pace to score a long range try which Helmeczi converted from near the touchline.
Reynolds then scored her second try for the match after clever offloading from the forwards giving the Ravens a six point lead.
With less than five minutes of play remaining the Cougars threatened the Ravens line constantly after some errors and penalties from the Ravens, but were unable to cross the line with the Ravens showing plenty of tenacity in defence.
The Ravens held onto their slim lead with no further points being scored, winning 26-20.
Head Coach, Mike Castle, was pleased with the performance which shows positive signs heading into the World Cup.
“It was a courageous effort and I couldn’t be happier!”
“We gave our team a simple game plan, and they stuck to it well.”
“There is still plenty to work on, but considering the team had their first training session together as a squad three hours prior to kick-off, there are some promising signs for the future,” Castle said.
The Ravens Squad will be again slimmed at the conclusion of the series with Mike Castle looking to announce his final World Cup squad on the back of the two performances.