36 unanswered points in the first half gets Tonga home.

Samoa 22 defeated by Tonga 38

It was a packed house at Campbelltown Stadium, and the atmosphere was insane! Both sets of supporters were out in full voice, and the war cries just hyped it up even more as both teams got right up in eachother faces.

It was the ideal start for Samoa, as a penalty in the first set gave them great field position and it was taken full advantage of when James Gavet crashed over for an early 6-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last for long but, when only a couple minutes later a penalty to Tonga gave them the chance to level the scores, and they did so through Siliva Havili who dived over from dummy half. The Tongan’s extended their lead in the very next set when superstar forward Jason Taumalolo stepped through the defensive line before sending fullback Will Hopoate flying down field and with halfback Mason Lino in support, Hopoate was able to draw in the Samoan fullback, find Lino and the halfback strolled over under the posts for a 12-6 lead.

The Tongan lead was extended even further through a penalty given to hand them great field position again. The combination between half Tui Lolohea and fullback Will Hopoate created an overlap to send centre Konrad Hurrell over for an 16-6 lead with 15 minutes gone.

Tonga were showing an increased tempo and strength, and it proved to much for Samoa who couldn’t keep up with the flying Tongans. The bounce of the ball was even going the way of Tonga when Konrad Hurrell took a one on one run down the short side on the Samoan line, and a cheeky little offload had a miraculous bounce off winger Robert Jennings’ foot into the in goal which saw the winger pick up a try on debut to extend their lead to 14 points.

More penalties once again by Samoa invited Tonga back into the Samoan half time and time again and back to back tries in the space of 5 minutes gave Tonga a massive 30-6 lead into halftime. Will Hopoate showed his footwork with a quick left foot step to slice through the line to go over. He then followed it up the next set with a beautiful pass to send winger Daniel Tupou over to show his class in the fullback role.

The Samoan side had a chance to hit back on the stroke of halftime after a crossfield bomb was gathered by Milford, but a handful of Tongan defenders were able to hold him up over the line and take a 30-6 lead into the break.

The points continued just 2 minutes after the break with an error and penalty gifting the Tongans field position and Tatola took the most of it, barging through 3 would be Samoan defenders and scoring on debut under the sticks.

A line break from BJ Leilua off a 20m restart gave the Samoans some much needed field position and through Lafai they didn't waste. Lafai was able to slip and slide his way to the defense and though the ball carrying arm hit the ground, he had no defenders on him allowing him to play on and get the second try for Somoa. Lino converted the try moving the score to 36-12 after 52.

With nothing to lose the Samoan side starting offloading the ball at will as they started marching down the field set after set. This resulted in more points for the Samoans with Tyronne May able to fight his way over the line and then wrestle the ball to the turf. With the conversion again from Lino the difference was back to 18.

Samoa were back with a 3rd try of the half again off the back of a BJ break. Lino took the line on going hard towards the short side finding Lafai, like we've seen on multiple times this season Lafai was able to draw in multiple defenders before a flick pass for Taufua going over in the corner. Lino was unavailable to get the conversion keeping the gap at 14 with 14 on the clock.

With 10 minutes to go Tonga had forced an error within 20m on Samoan line and with a quick play the ball they were able to earn a penalty for multiple Samoans being offside. The Tongans decided to take the 2, winding the clock down and extending the lead 38-22.

Both sides continued to push passes into the dying seconds of the game with neither team able to cross the line again. Tonga able to hold on after a second half onslaught from the Samoans.

Blake and Danaan

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