Wheel Blacks beat Aussie Steelers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wheel Blacks beat Aussie Steelers

By Lloyd Jones 21/07/2004 09:17:37 PM Comments (0)

In the wheelchair rugby equivalent of the Bledisloe Cup, New Zealand's Wheel Blacks beat the Australian Steelers 33-30 in the first of five matches in Cairns.

The 2004 Chris Handy Series is being played over four days, providing both teams with a final meet before they compete in the Athens Paralympic Games in September.

After a wheelchair version of the New Zealand haka, the Kiwis fought through to a two point lead in the first of four eight minute quarters.

But the Steelers kept within one to three points throughout, making the Wheel Blacks fight to keep their lead with tough wheelchair blocking from both sides.

A high scoring third quarter saw Australia surging with a series of goals including three in a row from George Hucks, who showed himself a master of the barge-through at the goal line.

Kiwi offensive player Dan Buckingham was the game's highest scorer with 12 points followed by team-mate Gerry Tinker with eight then Steelers' Brad Dubberley and Patrick Ryan with six goals each.

New Zealand coach Grant Sharman said his team was pleased with its effort and to have the first match of the series under their belts.

"We had a nice first half but in the second half we weren't quite as structured," Sharman said.

He said the series was also about looking forward to Athens where New Zealand face Australia first up.

"So we want to leave an impression on them so when we meet them in Athens they remember us distinctly," he said.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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