Camden crowned inaugural Macarthur Conference premiers

Photo of author

Almost by osmosis, the moment the Macarthur Conference first grade grand final was over the victors, Camden Rams, came together as one in a tribal huddle.

Their teammates on the bench soon joined them as they celebrated their 30-4 win over East Campbelltown Eagles yesterday.

In contrast, the Eagles players sought instead a little private space on their own.

It was as if each of them needed a few moments on their own to collect their thoughts and compose themselves.

This twin ritual happens at every grand final in every sport, so seeing it once again at Campbelltown Sports Stadium was no exception.

As for the victors, their triumph in the ultimate game of the season would have been that little bit sweeter knowing that the Eagles had beaten them 38-14 just two weeks earlier in the qualifying final at Waminda Oval.

Ironically the two games panned out exactly the same way, except of course for the different winner.

Yesterday’s decider went 15 minutes without any points being scored, and the arm wrestle between these two great Macarthur rugby league sides continued even after Camden took a 4-0 lead.

The Rams had a mountain of possession in the first half but could not improve their position on the scoreboard.

But after some sustained pressure the Eagles wilted and Camden had their second touchdown.

With a successful conversion the Camden side went to the dressing rooms at half time with a 10-0 lead.

The first 40 minutes was dominated by defence, but things were about to change as the teams returned for the final stanza.

Wests Group Macarthur director Martin Bullock presents the premiership cup to Camden. Below: a section of the grand final crowd estimated at around 5,000. Pictures by BRETT ATKINS

It took the Eagles just four minutes to reduce the deficit to 10-4, and when the Rams knocked on while bringing the ball back in the next set it looked like a repeat of the qualifying final was on the cards.

A rampaging run by Eagles prop forward Alapati Potifara scattered Camden defenders left, right and centre to lift the spirits of the East Campbelltown side even more.

Backrower Danny Fualalo, one of the Camden players who tried to get in the way of Potifara, had to be replaced, but other than that the Rams were in one piece.

It was end to end action from then on  as the grand final went to another level –  but neither side could break through for a try.

The next scoring opportunity for Camden came almost 20 minutes into the second half when they received a penalty for a lifting tackle from the Eagles near their line.

Steele Brown’s penalty kick hit the upright, bounced back into Camden hands and winger John Ryan was over in the corner to make it 14-4.

Before the Eagles could blink the Rams got back to back tries and all of a sudden, at 20-4 down, the grand final was slipping away from the East Campbelltown boys.

With 10 minutes to go it was all or nothing for the Eagles, who threw everything but the kitchen sink at Camden.

But that meant defence was no longer a priority and Camden were classy enough to take advantage of big gaps in the Eagles line.

When Camden scored again with five minutes to go for 26-4, you could see the Eagles players knew the game was over.

Camden fullback Mason Cerruto ran 50 metres to score the final try almost on fulltime to put the icing on the cake for the Rams.

Leave a Comment