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24 Mar 2017 19:13
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Montoya passes NRL debut with distinction

    Bulldogs young gun Marcelo Montoya scored a try on debut as his NRL side outclassed the Warriors 24-12 in Dunedin on Friday.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    Call it a case of the luck of the Irish for Marcelo Montoya.

    The Bulldogs winger made his NRL debut against the Warriors in Dunedin on Friday alongside good friend Brad Abbey, scoring a try in the 24-12 win.

    The 21-year-old also ran for 101 metres from 10 runs, while putting in seven tackles on defence.

    "I'm just very grateful," the Fiji-born Montoya said.

    "It was just a phenomenal feeling, I really can't explain it.

    "We were having anxiety attacks back at the hotel but I think that, once we came out and had our first touch, we thought it was just another game of footy."

    It was a pretty testy opening 20 minutes for the pair, with the Warriors holding almost three-quarters of the ball and all the territory.

    But they dug in their heels in and, along with their teammates, held off a Warriors attack containing Shaun Johnson, Issac Luke and Manu Vatuvei - even if Montoya's defensive strategy sounded a little questionable.

    "Sometimes I couldn't even tackle him, so I'd just throw myself at his legs - that's the easiest way to tackle Manu," Montoya said.

    "The boys showed a lot of character and I think that's what got us home, sticking in there and the defence got us the win."

    Montoya scored the first of two second-half Bulldogs tries after collecting the ball on the right edge in the 66th minute, setting his side towards victory.

    Senior Bulldogs members had welcomed Montoya into the fold with ease, according to the winger, led by lengthy chats with playmaker Josh Reynolds.

    Bulldogs coach Des Hasler said both Montoya and Abbey performed commendably.

    "It's always great to get one game under your belt - I thought they were pretty good," Hasler told reporters.

    Skipper James Graham echoed his coach's thoughts, saying the pair had worked exceptionally hard throughout 2016 to earn their big break.

    The Bulldogs, with a maiden 2017 win under their belt, will now look ahead to a trip across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to tackle the Sea Eagles next week.

    But that won't faze Montoya after ticking off his first-grade debut.

    "I thought I would've had to wait a while and play a bit of reserve grade, but unfortunately for some of the boys that's how footy works, you get injuries," Montoya added.

    "Debuts don't come easy, and I'm just very grateful and honoured for the opportunity."

    © 2017 NZN, NZCity


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