Late last month, the Eels Cup school's competition commenced in Darwin and Katherine.
The Eels Cup is an Under 16s Secondary Schools Rugby League competition in the Northern Territory, which commenced in 2014 as part of the ongoing partnership between the Parramatta Eels and the Northern Territory Government.
After Palmerston College and Taminmin College claimed victories over MacKillop Catholic College and Katherine High School in the first round, the second round action saw Katherine taking on Palmerston and Taminmin taking on MacKillop in Darwin.
Katherine High made the 300km trek to Darwin with a full complement of players to take on the round one victorious Palmerston in a hot and breezy afternoon at Palmerston Raiders Good Line Oval.
Palmerston came out the same way they did last week in very strong fashion out muscling Katherine to score 2 tries after only 5 minutes of play. Katherine however were able to capitalise on an error at the kick off by Palmerston to go under the sticks to bring the score to 8-4. Palmerston were able to shake off the error and regroup to score three more tries before half time to lead 20-4.
After the break through a miss communication Katherine missed catching the ball at the kick off to let the ball go dead and had to defend straight away after a goal line drop out. Palmerston full of momentum were able to force their way over the try line to lead 24-4. After some strong words from Katherine Captain Zac Motlop, Katherine looked determined to not let this game get away from them and finally found some flow and rhythm in their game, applying pressure and a few well-earned penalties Katherine were right back in it with 2 well worked team tries to trail 24-14. Katherine were unable to maintain the pressure and the fatigue from having to defend for most of the game was evident in the dying minutes of the game with Katherine conceding 3 more tries before the Final Siren. Final Score Palmerston 36 Katherine 14. Best on Ground for Palmerston was once again Captain Mark Williams and Half back Jason Baird and for Katherine their Captain Zac Motlop was inspirational and their Hooker Harley Byers was constantly asking questions of Palmerston’s defence.
In the other game we saw MacKillop Catholic College taking on arch rivals Taminmin College and what a blockbuster game it was. MacKillops opening 5 minutes were less to be desired for the coaches giving away back to back penalties and a few handling errors led to Taminmin having most the ball for the opening exchanges MacKillops defense held strong but after having majority of possession for 10 minutes Taminmin were able to find the try line out wide through Mason Jones. Immediately from the kick off Taminmin found themselves losing the ball with a loose carry early in the tackle count and MacKillop made the most of the error, scoring off a nice grubber kick late in their set for Chase Dawes. Alistair Lasker added the extras to put MacKillop ahead 6-4. The game fell into a grind with both teams finishing their sets deep in enemy territory but it was MacKillops Mitch Hausler who got behind Taminmins defence to put them up 10-4. Taminmin answered right back getting the ball off the Kick Off and scoring under the sticks through Dylan Payne with Kaleb Tatapata adding the extras to level the score before half time to 10 all.
After the break MacKillop had all the possession and managed to score early with Jackson Chisolm and Alistair Lasker added the extras to make the score 16-10 MacKillops way.
The game fell into a real grind for the next 15 minutes with both teams asking questions of the Defence and the Defence coming up with the answers until Taminmin found MacKillop skinny on the edge with Mason Jones scoring the try. Kaleb Tatapata couldn't add the extras and which led to MacKillop to record the win 16-14 at full time.
Next week is the final round of regular fixtures with Taminmin College taking on top of the table Palmerston College and Katherine High are fighting to keep their season alive as they host MacKillop Catholic College at home in Katherine.