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More lessons for England in Port Macquarie

More lessons for England in Port Macquarie

England had a day of improved performances in the second day of New South Wales State Cup action, even if this was not reflected in results against some of Australia's top Touch teams.

England started strongly with a big performance against the Murwillumbah Mavericks. The team hit the ground running, driving hard and flowing into attack well. This was backed up by some excellent defence and was a great progression from day one. However the Mavericks still came out on top, 8-3, with Adam Bimson, Jon Weston-Stanley and Vaughn Meredith scoring for England.

[caption id="attachment_32308" align="alignnone" width="1030"] England with the Central Coast Dolphins[/caption]

The second game of the day was against Central Coast Dolphins and England found themselves up against it early on against a technical and very physical side. Disappointingly the team were on the wrong side of the penalty and error count and ultimately this made it hard for them to find the flow from the first game of the day. The final score was a 5-7 loss, with Weston-Stanley and Meredith both getting their second scores of the say, and Alex Scott, Clark Hobson and Matt Davis also scoring.

[caption id="attachment_32309" align="alignnone" width="1030"] England with the Wests Magpies[/caption]

After a short turnaround England played West’s Magpies. Again the team struggled to find flow, but this time it was Wests defence that suffocated England’s driving and forcing errors into the tourists' game. Thanks to the pressure from Wests, England gifted some easy touchdowns to their opponents. On the positive side, England showed some great line defence against repeated sets of Wests attack but unfortunately lacked some organisation and composure in attack. Jake Melling scored the only touchdown in a 1-7 loss.

[caption id="attachment_32310" align="alignnone" width="1030"] England with Manly Sea Eagles[/caption]

England picked themselves up for the last game of the day against Manly and the team put on their best performance of then tournament so far. The boys' midfield defence was superb, with an outstanding amount of work rate on display. England were unlucky to go down by the time the final whistle blew. Meredith kept his scoring rate going, with Dom Tripp and Toby Phillips also crossing in the 3-4 loss.

Head coach Ben Smith was ultimately pleased with the team's progression, despite the dip in performance in the middle of the day.

"We made a big leap with our gameplay against Murwillumbah Mavericks this morning and demonstrated the potential we have,” he said, “It was disappointing to go down to Manly because the team played brilliantly under difficult circumstances. All the guys really dug in today, particularly with our mounting injury list, and I’m proud of the heart they showed this afternoon. The touchdown by Toby Phillips to run away from the opposition after the horrific knock he took to his knee yesterday shows just how committed these guys are.”

England finished seventh out of the eight teams in the Men's Open A competition, and face Japan at 11:20pm on Saturday evening, a game that will be live streamed on the TFA YouTube channel.

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