Shepherd boots Spirit home
Article Published: Sunday 2 September 2007
Edited by: Sports Digital Media
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Perth Spirit eased to a 31-19 victory over Central Coast Rays in the Australian Rugby Championship in Gosford on Sunday.
The Rays did manage to outscore Spirit by three tries to two but ultimately it was a lack of discipline and a fine kicking display from Cameron Shepherd that led to their downfall.
It was Shepherd who got the games first points with an early brace of penalties to give his side the lead. It was bot long however before the Rays had their opening score, through Sam Norton-Knight, albeit from a piece of good fortune.
It appeared as if referee Matt Goddard had blocked the path of Spirit flanker Richard Brown, yet play was allowed to continue and Norton-Knight scored an unconverted try.
However it was Shepherd who had the final say of the half adding a further two penalties to stretch the Spirit lead going into the break.
Again poor discipline cost the Rays as Shepherd was allowed to kick his fifth penalty of the afternoon to give his side a ten point lead.
Having added his sixth penalty Shepherd then came up with the error that gifted the Rays their second try. Covering a deep kick Shepherd looked to step into touch with the ball, but as he went to do so he dropped the ball allowing Brett Sheehan the easiest of scores.
Peter Hewat added the extras from wide out but the Rays comeback was dealt a blow when Spirit flyer Ryan Cross crossed in the corner after quick hands had set him free. Shepherd then added a seventh penalty to all but seal the game.
The Rays refused to give up the chase though and were again rewarded for their attitude when replacement Nifo Nifo went over for a converted try.
With the game in the balance Ryan Cross went over for his second to give the Spirit the win and see them leapfrog their opponents in the standings.
For Central Coast Rays:
Tries: Norton-Knight, Sheehan, Nifo
Cons: Hewat 2
For Perth Spirit:
Tries: Cross 2
Pens: Shepherd 7
Perth Spirit: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Dan Bailey, 13 Junior Pelesasa, 12 Lachlan Mackay, 11 Nic Cummins, 10 James Hilgendorf, 9 Matt Henjak (captain), 8 Scott Fava, 7 Richard Brown, 6 Luke Doherty, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Tom Hockings, 3 Troy Takiari, 2 Tai McIsaac, 1 AJ Whalley.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 William Brock, 20 James Stannard, 21 Scott Daruda, 22 Ryan Cross.
Central Coast Rays: 15 Peter Hewat, 14 Andrew Smith, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Sam Harris, 11 Jordan Macey, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Jason Peseta, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Ross Duncan, 5 Chris Thomson, 4 Cameron Treloar (captain), 3 Aaron Tawera, 2 Al Manning, 1 Nick Lah.
Replacements: 16 Alex Gluth, 17 Ofa Fainga'anuku, 18 John Adams, 19 Nifo Nifo, 20 David Harvey, 21 Villiame Ratu, 22 Jye Mullane.
Referee: Matt Goddard
Touch judges: Daniel Cheever, Grant MacNeill
Television match official: Bradley Wahl
Assessor: Brian Kinsey
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