COOGEE WINS CUP
The Coogee Dolphins from Australia have won the first ever International Rugby League Tournament held in Las Vegas. It was standing room only as the Dolphins held on to beat the Utah Avalanche from the USA 14-4.
A large black storm cloud looming above threatened the start of the game, but as soon as the referee blew game on nothing was going to stop an International Rugby League final from being played out in Sin City.
The Utah boys opened up with some bone crushing hits to let the Coogee side know they meant business. The Dolphins were patient though and weathered the storm before scoring first to go up 4-0. They continued to control the first half owning 80 per cent of the ball to set up a second converted try which saw them take a 10-0 lead into the break.
The second half started where the first had left off as the Dolphins scored early to push their lead out to 14-0. The Avalanche were relentless all game with big hits and were rewarded with a couple of repeat sets. That allowed Utah to put on a spectacular last five minutes to score the try of the tournament from a miraculous flick pass. Coogee’s class prevailed in the end, however, as they held on to clinch the 10-point win.
MVP of the tournament was Coogee center Brad Marks. The best for the Utah Avalanche was prop Teki Nau.
The British Columbia Bulldogs finished in third place with their match against the Utah Avalanche one of the best of the tournament. Neither team took a backward step. They had played twice prior in the last few months with the Bulldogs victorious on both occasions, but not this time. The Avalanche were hungry to meet the Aussies in the final as the Bulldogs went down 14-4. The best for the British Columbia Bulldogs was center Steve Bouchard.
The California Condors finished the tournament in fourth place. They had a couple of tough assignments early on, but closed out the tournament in winning style against the local boys, the Las Vegas Warriors. The Condors went into the halftime break in front 12-4.
The Warriors opened up the second half with a try only to see the Condors hit back with their own touchdown for a 16-8 scoreline in favor of the Californians. The Warriors weren’t done though and they scored a converted try to close the gap to 16-14. The Condors goal line defense was phenomenal as they hung on for the slender victory. The best for the California Condors was young prop Travis Whittlock.
The Las Vegas Warriors finished in fifth place. They were only knocked off by the Condors by two points and were determined to win their last game against the British Columbia Bulldogs. It was a tight first half with the Warriors playing mistake free football to lead 4-0 at halftime, but BC scored quickly at the start of the second frame to lock things up at 4-4.
The Warriors showed vast improvement throughout the tournament and were determined to score next, and that they did under the posts to lead 10-4 in the dying stages. The Bulldogs had the final say on the scoreboard though with one more try that tied the game at 10-10. The best for Las Vegas was Vaha “Superman” Esikia.
“The tournament was a great success with the Coogee Dolphins taking out their second Remembrance Cup and commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Bali Bombings,” said tournament organizer Col Manners.
“All teams helped the Dolphins celebrate at McMullans Irish Pub and are looking forward to next year’s tournament in Las Vegas.”
The date for next year’s tournament is yet to be determined due to the Rugby League World Cup.