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Coleman praises Hunter Wildfires troops following gutsy win

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Hunter Wildfires coach Scott Coleman praised his troops for their resilience following the side’s plucky 23-21 victory over Souths at Woy Woy at the weekend.

Following an opening round 64-17 defeat to Randwick in the Shute Shield, the local boys struck back to claim their maiden win of the season.

With hooker Hamish Moore leading the way, fullback Ethan Morgan bagged a double and outside centre Thomas Watson also crossed the tryline, while fly half Nate de Thierry landed a conversion and two all-important penalties.

“It was scrappy but gutsy… that’s probably the best way to put it,” Coleman said.

“We still have plenty to work on, which we knew going into 2024.

“We’ve obviously started slower than what we did last year, however that victory gives the guys a bit of confidence knowing that we can compete with our rivals.

“Probably, the biggest thing for me was resilience.

“We were trailing, with five minutes remaining.

“Then we got a penalty to hit the front and shut the game down with three to go, which was really good.

“The boys showed they wanted to play for each other.

“That was awesome.

“To play like that, and still win, is a promising sign.

“It was a very stop-start game, at night and under lighting that wasn’t world-class, although there’s no excuses.

“But, overall, we put in a good resilient performance.”

Coleman said he was thrilled with the efforts of Moore, Morgan, de Thierry and inside centre Ueta Tufuga.

“Hamish was outstanding again,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“He’s picked up the players’ player two weeks in a row.

“Ethan was excellent at the back, scoring two tries… he’s electric.

“Nate guided us around the park very well while Ueta gave us really good go-forward.”

The Wildfires next tackle Gordon, who dropped its previous showdown 40-36 to Easts, at Chatswood Oval on Saturday 20 April.

“There’s no easy games in this competition, that’s for sure,” Coleman said.

“Gordon’s coming off two consecutive losses, so they’ll be chomping at the bit to have a cracker, especially at home.

“They were selected as a top four side at the beginning of the season.

“So, we know they’ll be tough.

“However, we head down with our tail up, which is great.

“Our only injury concern’s Nate, who copped a bit of a whack after the bell.

“Although he’s got a sore shoulder, I’m sure he’ll be right.”

The Wildfires also claimed the honours 29-23 in second grade but dropped first and second colts 47-12 and 27-15 respectively.

Hunter’s women’s squad suffered a nail-biting 7-3 defeat.

“I was impressed with our girls in their first outing,” Coleman said.

“Even though they were beaten, it was very close… and they’re only going to get better.

“And, with the reserves prevailing, it wasn’t a bad weekend.

“It’s definitely building here.”

Shute Shield

Round two results:

  • Easts d Gordon 40-36
  • Warringah d Randwick 26-13
  • Manly d Sydney Uni 31-29
  • Norths d Eastwood 38-27
  • Two Blues d West Harbour 52-36
  • Hunter Wildfires d Souths 23-21

Round three draw:

Saturday 20 April

  • 3.05pm: Gordon v Hunter Wildfires (Chatswood Oval)
  • 3.05pm: Randwick v Sydney Uni (Coogee Oval)
  • 3.05pm: Manly v West Harbour (Manly Oval)
  • 3.05pm: Norths v Souths (North Sydney Oval)
  • 3.05pm: Eastwood v Warringah (T G Millner Field)
  • 3.30pm: Easts v Two Blues (Woollahra Oval)

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