The New South Wales Wolverines travelled to Canberra in April 2013 for the Gridiron Australia Junior National Championships.
Champions at the 2011 Junior National Championships, the Wolverines had a lot to live up to but a well structured training program put together by rookie Head Coach Antonio Pisconieri and his staff gave the team a good state of readiness.
The first match was against the South Australian Fire. An 18 point deficit at half time led to Wolverines fans to wonder whether such a head start could be overcome. However, their worries were unfounded as the Wolverines came out of the sheds at half time full of fire and unloaded their determination on the SA team racking up 28 unanswered points to take out the game 36 to 24.
The Wolverines were drawn to play the ACT Monarchs in the second round. Strong performances by the entire team scoring touchdowns by both the offensive and defensive units struck fear into the other States and give the Wolverines a dominating 69 points to nil victory.
The Championship game was held between the two undefeated States of the tournament being the New South Wales Wolverines and the Western Australian Raiders. In a repeat of the 2011 Championship game, the 2013 game promised to be a high scoring affair after the Wolverines beat the Raiders 54 points to the Raiders 52.
On the contrary, the game turned out to be a strong defensive game that was an exciting game befitting of a National Championship game. The opening kickoff to the Raiders led to a fumble by the returner in a crunching tackle that was recovered by the Wolverines. A few plays later a sharp darting run by running back Nathan Thompson resulted in a touchdown and the successful point after gave the Wolverines and early 7 point lead.
The game from that point on was an arm wrestle with great offensive drives down the field being thwarted by the opposing defences close to the endzone that tested both Head Coaches’ wits. Good tackling and intercepts at crucial times gave the Wolverines a steel backbone giving the offence the confidence to move the ball downfield only to be stopped again and again by the tenacious Raider defence.
The closing minutes of the final quarter saw the Raiders controlling the ball, edging closer and closer to the New South Wales goal-line but the sounding of the final whistle saw the Wolverines hold onto the early lead and be again crowned Junior National Champions.
Gridiron NSW congratulates Head Coach Antonio Pisconieri, his staff and the players on their fantastic performances both on and off the field to bring the crown once again to New South Wales.