Muswellbrook Heelers capture Matt Kane Memorial Shield for ninth time

THE Muswellbrook Heelers captured the Matt Kane Memorial Shield for the ninth consecutive time, courtesy of a 34-5 victory over Griffins at Highbrook Park on Saturday.

The triumph, which coincided with the Newcastle Hunter Rugby Union club’s annual Memorial Day, capped off a great weekend for the organisation and its fans.

“We'd like to thank everyone who came up to support our club and cheer on our team as we took on the Newcastle Griffins,” Muswellbrook president Greg Buckley said.

“We would also like to express our gratitude to our opposition for playing the game in the best spirit of rugby, donating a jersey for/and supporting our auction.

“It was a hugely successful day.

“We’d like to say another thanks to the tireless committee members and volunteers.

“Without their hard work, events like these would never be so successful.”

Both sides started the game with plenty of passion, a lot of heavy contact through the middle and strong defence.

It wasn't long however until the class of the Heelers’ backs shone through – and the hosts enjoyed the weight of possession.

The forwards laid a solid platform for the backs to receive clean ball and Muswellbrook gained a four-try bonus point before half-time.

The Heelers went to the break in front 24-0.

The second half brought more of the same – silky backline moves and a total dominance in both scrum and line outs. 

The Griffins never gave up though and, on the back of consecutive penalties, they managed to crash over for their first try. 

The Heelers rallied and finished out the game playing deep within the visitors’ territory.

Muswellbrook scored two more tries in the second half and ran out winners 34-5. 

“This victory ensured we remained undefeated while contesting the Matt Kane Shield, making it nine in a row,” Buckley said.

Tryscorers were Josia Besetimoala (3), Ethan Cridland (2) and Bruce Rauqe with Cameron Young slotting over two conversions from six attempts.

Players’ player went to, not surprisingly, hat-trick hero Besetimoala.

Club points: Besetimoala 3, Patrick Scott-Irving 2, Harry Hobden 1

Referees’ points: Mark Snow 3, Griffins #8 2, Besetimoala 1