The Illawarra South Coast Dragons have claimed the U23’s Country Championships after outclassing the Monaro Colts 42-12 at Mudgee.
A poor first half from the Colts saw Illawarra race to a 24-6 halftime lead as Monaro succumbed to their second consecutive Grand Final loss.
The Illawarra South Cost Dragons started the match brightly and were rewarded in the sixth minute as captain Cooper Purcell ran from dummy half to score.
Michael Applebee made it two in three minutes for the Dragons as the centre latched onto a grubber as they had numbers out to the right.
The Colts continued putting themselves and paid the price as Wayde Aitken crashed over the line to score Illawarra’s third for the afternoon.
Monaro hit back in the 28th minute after Nicolas Halalilo ran a perfect line and a perfect short ball from Tre Williams sent the second-rower over.
Illawarra halfback Cameron Vazzoler spurned a golden opportunity as he dropped the ball over the line but made amends minutes later to give his side a 24-6 lead at halftime.
The second half started in an arm wrestle but Illawarra were the first to score through fullback Tony Pellow.
A deflected kick sat up nicely for Kade Sampson from Illawarra as they extended their lead before Joseph Dickson added another.
Nick Cornish danced his way through the line to score a late consolation but Illawarra claimed a deserved win.
Illawarra South Coast Dragons 42 (Tries: C Purcell, M Applebee, W Aitken, C Vazzoler, T Pellow, K Sampson, J Dickson; Goals: C Vazzoler 7) d Monaro Colts 12 (Tries: N Halailo, N Cornish; Goals: M Geiger 2)