Campbelltown City have opened their 2020 Group 6 Rugby League season with a dour and scrappy 26-12 win over Narellan on Sunday afternoon at Crane Oval.
The Jets hosted the opening round fixture as the competition finally got under way at the weekend, with six teams contesting the First Grade competition over a six-week period in August and September.
To be fair to both sides, the game never really reached any great heights, with errors being the main feature of the game, along with several minor skirmishes. Both sides had a player sent to the sin bin in the second half, but the loss of a man didn't have an impact on the outcome, as neither side could capitalise on their personnel advantage.
Narellan opened far stronger in warm conditions, with winger Jarrod Forrest bagging a double inside the opening 10 minutes. Both tries came from slick hands down the Narellan left side, with Forrest providing NRL-style acrobatic finishes in the left corner on both occasions.
Campbelltown City didn't seem too concerned by this, and managed a try before the opening drinks break on 20 minutes, when Josh Lomani scored, making the score 8-6 after the opening 20 minutes.
Rua Ngati was dangerous for the Kangaroos all day, and crossed for his first try of the afternoon eight minutes before halftime, giving the Roos the lead, which they never relinquished for the remainder of the afternoon.
Narellan will be ruing poor goalkicking, with Jacob McKinnon unable to convert any of his three attempts in the first half. All were difficult attempts, but that showed on the scoreboard, when the Jets and Roos were level at the break, following a nice try to McKinnon three minutes before halftime, which saw scores level at 12-12.
The second half saw Campbelltown City open the scoring when Ngati scored his second try of the day seven minutes after the resumption, putting the Roos in front, where they remained. Halfback Sean Connor added a penalty to his third conversion of the day with 17 minutes left, giving the visitors a 20-12 lead.
Ngati bagged his hat-trick with eight minutes to go, sealing a 26-12 win in the process. The Kangaroos were clearly the better team in the second half, dominating play, while Narellan struggled to find any cohesion in attack, and rarely threatened the City line.
Ngati was among the better players for City, along with veteran backrower Chris Williamson, Connor and Bailey Steadman in the halves, and fullback Joseph Romeo, who was dangerous for the Roos.
Narellan's better players included centre and debutant Bryce Crane, who was excellent in attack and defence, returning winger Allan McGrath, halves Jacob McKinnon and Ben Roberts, and hooker Jermaine Haule. Nathan Wilkins also worked hard in the back row all afternoon, with several strong runs.
The other Round 1 results saw Thirlmere defeat Mittagong 66-20 at Mittagong Sportsground, while Oakdale won the "Battle of Burragorang", defeating The Oaks Tigers 30-16 at Sid Sharpe Oval to complete the first weekend of the shortened season.