The Northern Territory Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams proved they were capable of mixing it with Australia’s best following competitive performances on day one of the National 7s in Sydney yesterday.
In the opening match of the competition the Mosquitoes went down to tournament favourites NSW Blue 29-0 before recording a powerful 33-12 victory over Western Australia.
The Mozzies were aggressive at the ruck and in defence with Bobby Nurse and Drew Tobin crossing for tries early and both were converted by Nate Lamb for a 14-0 lead.
The Sandgropers struck back with two tries of their own to trail 14-12 at the break.
The Mosquitoes lifted their intensity and completely dominated the second half with tries to Shepherd, Satala and Salaa and in the process earned the respect of all at the ground.
In their final pool match Queensland White came out with all guns blazing and scored two early tries for a 14-0 lead.
When the Mozzies finally got some possession they made it count with three converted tries for a 21-14 half time lead.
The Queenslanders starved the Mosquitoes of ball in the second half and scored four unanswered tries to win 36-21.
The Mosquitoes played their three matches as a well-structured unit having trained since before Christmas and having the benefit of six games together at the Hottest 7s in January.
Bobby Nurse and Drew Tobin were outstanding in each of the matches.
The Mosquitoes missed out on a berth in the quarter finals by a mere two percentage points and will now face Tasmania in the Bowl Quarter Finals
The Goannas also had to contend with the tournament favourites in their first game of the day.
NSW Blue’s intensity was a steep learning curve for the Northern Territory with the home side recording a 36-0 victory.
Similarly to the Men, it was the second match in which the Women stood up and were counted when they defeated the National Indigenous side 14-10 after leading 14-0 at half time.
Tries were scored by Ellie Hardwick and Sophie Armistead while former Wallaroo Emily Robinson who was one of three players drafted into the side to cover late withdrawals landed both conversions.
The Goannas then took on Queensland White and were unlucky to concede a try on the last play of the first half to trail by seven.
Bojana Mali scored on the end of some positive attacking play by the Goannas to trail by two and had a chance to win with strong multiple phase play in the dying seconds of the match.
Claire Rowat was the general in each of the matches and played the day without substitution.
The Goannas will take on South Australia in a Bowl Semi Final this morning.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of NT Rugby.