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Match report: Philippines withhold Turkey to reach trophy final

Matthew Wright
Rugby League Around the Grounds

Philippines defeated Turkey 29-16 to reach the ENWC trophy final in an entertaining clash at Cabramatta’s New Era Stadium on Wednesday. 

Turkey opened the scoring after 13 minutes when centre Arda Dalcik intercepted a Philippines pass on Turkey’s 40-metre line and pinned his ears back to race clear and open the scoring under the posts. Ali Surer added the extras to put Turkey 6-0 up.

Philippines started to warm their way into the fixture, moving the ball through the hands looking to punch holes in the Turkish line, and their reward came in the 21st minute, a set play coming off for the Tamaraws when Dennis Gordon burst onto a drop off and angled himself back against the grain to score. Kieron Wiggins converted to level the scores.

Philippines soon took the lead when a Wiggins spiralling bomb wound away from the Turkish fullback and bounced up kindly for the chasing Richard Goodwin to collect and dive over to the left of the posts, converted once more by Wiggins.

The Tamaraws picked up their third of the game after a penalty put them with striking distance of the Turkish line, allowing Paul Sheedy to scoot over out of dummy half. Wiggins converted, keeping his 100 per cent record intact.

Turkey got one final crack at the Philippines line before half time, Baskinyali busting up the middle and going within two metres of the Philippines line, but poor decision marking on the last cost Turkey once more as they looked to scoot from dummy half rather than kicking to the in-goal. The teams went into the break with Philippines leading 18-6.

The second half started badly for Turkey who spilled the ball in their first set, and soon conceded another try to Tamaraw Ramon Stubbs, which was converted by the ever-reliable Wiggins to extend the lead to 24-6.

Turkey hit back in the 57th minute, Dalcik grabbing his second of the game when he twisted out of contact close to the line, but the missed kick from the left touchline left the score at 24-10.

The Tamaraws bagged their fifth try of the game, Russell screaming for the ball on the left edge where a 3-on-2 materialised and he threw a long cut-out ball for Ned Stephenson to race into the corner to extend the lead to 14 points.

Turkey’s day would go from bad to worse when Jaydin Salman-Cochrane was sin-binned for dissent, with frustration clearly taking its toll on the Turkish contingent. Arda Dalcik looked to have completed his hat-trick with 10 minutes to play, Turgut chipping over the defence on the last tackle and Dalcik grounding, but he was deemed to have been offside and the try was chalked off.

Turkey got their third try when Aydin Salman-Cochrane exploded from the back of the scrum on the Turkish 10-metre line, breezing past his opposite man and racing clear to score out to the right of the posts, Ali Surer converted, and the teams were only separated by 12 points with just over 10 minutes to go.

But Paul Sheedy put the game beyond doubt when he dropped a one-pointer for the Philippines to make it 29-16 with four minutes left to play, and the score remained as such, allowing the Tamaraws to secure their spot in the trophy final.

Philippines: 29
Tries – Dennis Gordon, Richard Goodwin, Paul Sheedy, Ramon Stubbs, Ned Stephenson
Goals – Kieron Wiggins (4)
Field goal – Paul Sheedy

Turkey: 16
Tries – Arda Dalcik (2), Aydin Salman-Cochrane
Goals – Ali Surer (2)