Dramatic Finish Ends In Bears-Mounties Draw
This article first appeared on NSWRL.com.au.
The North Sydney Bears and Mounties have fought out an entertaining 20-all draw at North Sydney Oval in Round 19 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
Mounties led for 79 minutes but a last-second penalty goal to Bears fullback Eli Levido secured a point for the home side.
A mistake from the kick-off gave the Bears a great opportunity to open the scoring, but Mounties held on as both sides fought for the ascendency of the match.
Levido put his foot over the touchline bringing the ball back and Mounties made them pay, Brent Naden going over under the posts in the fifth minute.
Mounties halfback Isaac John made no mistake and his side led 6-0.
A penalty from the opening tackle in the ensuing set marched Mounties downfield and a neat grubber forced a dropout as the visitors dominated the opening stages.
A mistake from Bears winger Tautalatasi Tasi just 30 metres out from his own line put the home side under more pressure.
Back to back penalties kept Mounties camped on the Bears' line and winger Alofi Mataele scored his side's second try in the 13th minute.
John's attempt hit the left upright and Mounties led 10-0.
Tasi made up for his earlier error, receiving a long ball with plenty of space, and he was good enough to find the line from 20 metres out to get the home side on the board after 19 minutes.
Levido made no mistake from out wide to make it 10-6.
The Bears were slowly working their way into the match after their earlier woes and forced a repeat set in the 23rd minute, but Mounties managed to hold on and they worked their way upfield and extended their lead.
After a long break by winger Mataele, Oldfield fooled everyone with a sneaky try in the corner to extend his side's lead.
John's conversion curled in from the sideline and Mounties led 16-6.
Mounties prop Liam Knight was put on report for an incident in the play-the-ball area when his side was on the attack and the Bears received the penalty and went on the attack from the halfway line.
A towering bomb was spilled by Mataele and the home side had a full set with around 10 minutes left in the half, trailing by 10 points and they managed a lucky try; the dreaded second kick struck again, allowing the Bears to edge closer to their opponents late in the half.
On the last tackle, the Bears shifted it right and put in a grubber but it ricocheted back into the arms of halfback Luke Kelly, and he put in a second kick and won the race to the loose ball for their second try.
Levido added the extras to make it 16-12 with eight minutes left in the first half.
A 40/20 gave the Bears a great attacking opportunity as the half wound down but the early kick went over the dead ball line, and Mounties survived, leading 16-12 at the break.
The sun was still high above the O'Reilly and Duncan Thompson stands when both teams resumed proceedings, Mounties enjoying a four-point advantage.
Mounties extended their lead when interchange Jack Nelson crossed out wide in the 53rd minute, John missed with his attempt but with just under half an hour remaining, they led 20-12.
After 62 minutes of play, Bears interchange Toby Rudolf ran into a hole down the left edge and raced over for a vital try to keep his side in the match. Levido converted to get the Bears closer, trailing 20-18.
Through Levido, however, the Bears kicked a penalty goal on the siren to make it 20-all.
North Sydney Bears 20 (T Tasi, L Kelly, T Rudolph tries; E Levido 4 goals)
Mounties 20 (B Naden, A Matale, M Oldfield, J Nelson tries; I John 2 goals)