11 May Birthday celebrations
First grade lock Zeph Tuinona celebrated his 18th birthday with the Whites first win of the season defeating Wests 34-26 at Campese Oval.
The lean youngster stole his fair share of lineouts, made several incisive runs and tackled tough.
Tuinona was one of the best but not the best. That honour went to stand-in five eighth BJ Jiminez. He will bring the crowds to Campese as he works his magic on a game. So far, the school leaver has played fullback and wing. To expect him to slot into the pivotal role was a big ask and he answered.
Not only is he a balanced runner he can kick and knows where to kick.
The front row as unit also deserves high praise. Prop Vincent de Masson, hooker James Douglas and prop Ben Michael Gordon were in the tight fight from start to finish. Some of their individual contributions were game changing. De Masson touch up of veteran Lions prop Ben Coutts bottom was classy as was his try, Gordon’s try at the end and JD’s defence.
One moment in the game showed the spirit of the side that has struggled. Half Mitch Douch crossed for a try under the posts after a break by centre Christino Manuolevao. Douch waited and passed to backrower Wyll Holland to allow him his first try in first grade in his first run on game.
Holland had the pleasure of accepting his jumper from elder brother Sevens superstar Lewis Holland.
Reserve grade drew with Wests 24-all, thirds lost 10-50, colts finished strongly for a 43-17 score line and fourths accounted for Goulburn 70-5. Wingers Toby Alleyn and Will Truscott has a day out along with centre Tom G. Darmody who sometimes finds the gaps irresistible and sometimes he gets through them.
With two Priests playing well there was no need for prayers in the colts. Prop Kyle was the worker bee and back Adam added the touches. Aaron Robinson showed his promotion was deserved.
Reserve grade are starting to look like a side with the inclusion of Daniel Naef and the ongoing performances of Steven Prail and John Steele. Two of the most consistent Ben Pattenden and Angus Balmaks deserve recognition.