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WEEK THAT WAS | Ron Massey Cup Round 15

Tony Dosen

The Western Suburbs Magpies pulled off the upset of the Ron Massey Cup season to date with a stunning 38-6 trouncing of double defending premiers Mounties in their match at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday.

After the match was transferred from Campbelltown Stadium 24 hours before kickoff to ‘save’ the surface for the NRL match played between Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters last Sunday, the Magpies showed a return to their 2016 form to stun the Mulga.

After Mounties had early chances, the Magpies opened the scoring in the sixth minute when on the next tackle after a long Josh Davis break, a Blake Goodman cross field kick found Tana Mapesone for the opening try and a 6-nil lead after Mason Farrell’s conversion.

The Magpies doubled the lead in the next set from the restart when another Davis break found fullback Tom Capper for his first try and a 12-nil lead after Farrell added the extras.

Good buildup by the Mapgies saw Goodman beat the nonplussed Mulga defence to score Wests’ third try in the 21st minute for an 18-nil lead when Farrell added his third conversion.

Wests completed a remarkable first half in the 27th minute when Mapesone burst through the Mounties defence behind the ruck before sending Christian Yassmin away for his try.  Farrell’s fourth conversion gave the Magpies a remarkable 24-nil lead at half time.

With the words of coach Mark Speechley ringing in their ears from a half time blast, the Mulga came out and dominated opening stages of the second half, before a left side spread against the run of play by the Magpies nine minutes into the second stanza saw Capper score his second try to give Wests a 28-nil lead.

Mounties finally got on the board six minutes later when Jake Steadman scored and converted his own try to make the score 28-6.

Mounties then launched themselves at the Wests defence over the next 15 minutes – coming close three times in one attacking set with nine minutes to play before a loose pass was picked up by Goodman who bolted 90 metres to score his second try and win the match for the Magpies.

Wests put the icing on the cake with two minutes left when 2016 Shield Player Of the Year Brendan Waters cut through to send Capper away for his hat trick and complete the Magpies win with Yassmin’s conversion.

Cabramatta scored their second win of the Massey Cup season when they edged out Guildford 18-16 at New Era Stadium last Saturday Night.

The Owls got the opening try when half Lazarus Brown opened the scoring in the seventh minute for a 6-nil lead after Daniel Vasek converted, before the Two Blues took the advantage for the rest of the first half.

Fullback Don Thompson continued his good recent form when he got Cabramatta’s reply in the 17th minute to level the scores with his own conversion, before winger Brent Anderson gave the Two Blues the lead with his try eight minutes from half time.  Thompson’s second conversion gave Cabramatta a 12-6 lead at the break.

Cabramatta extended their lead in their first set of six of the second half centre Tyla Tamou scored for an 18-6 lead with Thompson’s third conversion from three attempts.

Guildford then came back strongly.

First evergreen centre Harmony Hunt scored 10 minutes into the second half to get the Owls back to within six points after Vasek converted.

Then skipper Matt Ryan finished of a Guildford attack midway through the second half to score wide out.  Vasek missed the conversion and Cabramatta held an 18-16 lead.

The Two Blues then held on in defence through a frantic last 15 minutes as both sides had chances in the closing stages without success – making it two wins from their last three games to revive their season.

Concord-Burwood-Glebe kept their place in the Cup’s Top Eight when they scrambled home 16-13 over the Auburn Warriors in poor conditions at North Sydney Oval last Sunday.

The Warriors started by far the better of the two sides as showers threatened – dominating the early exchanges.

Lebanese international prop Mitch Mamary crashed over from close range near the posts on the back of that early dominance in the fourth minute to give the Warriors a 6-nil lead with Addison Demetriou’s conversion.

Both sides then were guilty of dropping the ball amdist defence that bordered on brutal at times as the heavens opened mid way through the first half.

The Warriors then again worked their way on top with Demetriou going close to scoring, before Darren Maroon’s men scored a critical try five minutes from half time.

Just as former Blacktown Workers and Manly half Manaia Rudolph was being bundled into touch in a four man Wolves tackle, the Warriors playmaker was able to flop the ball out the back to winger Josh Bergman – who picked up the loose pass to dash 30 metres through the gap left in the defence to score. 

Rudolph converted and the Warriors had a handy 12-nil half time lead.

That lead started to look more than handy as the rain got heavier in the second stanza – seeing the error rate (and penalty count from referee Ryan Jackson) climb as both sides continued to struggle with the conditions.

The match then turned when giant Wolves interchange forward Kem Seru burst away down the left from a Kurt Aldridge pass to score in the 57th minute to get the Wolves back to 12-6 with Aldridge’s coversion.

The former Blacktown Workers half then scored a super solo try next to the posts four minutes later – converting to level the scores at 12-all to set up a tense finish.

The Warriors then regained the lead with nine minutes left when Rudolph to snapped a 20 metre field goal for a 13-12 advantage – which again appeared to be enough for Auburn given the conditions.

However, the Warriors’ frustration with slow play the balls and a skinny ten metres boiled over in the closing stages as they finished on the wrong end of a 15-8 penalty count against them – culminating in giving away two penalties in the last five minutes that cost them dearly.

First, with five minutes left, an offside penalty saw Aldridge convert from 25 metres out to give the Wolves a 14-13 lead. 

Then in a bitter postscript, another penalty off the ball on the Wolves’ next attacking set with under three minutes left saw former Newtown Jets and Cabramatta forward Ahmed Ellaz rush out from his defensive position towards the Wolves players on his side of the field – just as Aldridge was stepping in to attempt another kick at goal from this second penalty.

A push and shove melee followed before referee Jackson sent Ellaz from the field on his Touch Judge’s report of the incident.  Aldridge then converted the penalty attempt to complete a controversial 16-13 win – as the Warriors could not get the ball back from a short restart with their 12 men for the last 60 seconds of the match.

Finally, the Wentworthville Magpies moved back into third place on the Cup table with a 24-14 win over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Ringrose Park last Sunday.

After the match started over 35 minutes late due to delays in the earlier Sydney Shield fixture, the Magpies opened the scoring in the seventh minute when backrower Blake Cook scored his first try for a 6-nil lead with Jake Walsh’s conversion.

In a tight first half in the wet, greasy conditions Blacktown worked their way to a reply when winger Shaun Fitzgerald crossed over wide out to score. 

Both side’s defences then cancelled each other out for the rest of the first half to leave the Magpies with a 6-4 lead at the break.

The Magpies then won the match with a seven minute burst of attack at the start of the second half to open up a match winning lead.

Cook got his second try six minutes into the second half, before Lebanese international forward Nick Kassis crashed over to score against the club he started the season with five minutes later.

Fellow Lebanese international Danny Barakat then scored Wenty’s third try in seven minutes on the Magpies’ next set from the restart to blow the lead out to 24-4 with Walsh’s fourth successful conversion 15 minutes into the second half.

Blacktown then steadied in the last 20 minutes to save a second straight blow out against them in successive weeks.

Blacktown five eighth Shane Kiel scored wide out with 12 minutes left, before prop Sarafu Fatiaki crashed over from close range with five minutes left for the last try of the day to make the final score 24-14 after Ben Fritz converted.

The Cup’s top two sides – St Marys (26 points) and Hills District Bulls (24 points) – both had byes to consolidate their places at the top of the table, with Wentworthville (24) up to third and Mounties (22) back to fourth with their shock loss.

Cabramatta joined the Warriors on 12 points at the bottom of the table with their win.

This weekend’s last round before the Representative game against the Queensland Rangers outfit on the Gold Coast on Sunday week sees four matches scheduled.

Saturday’s two matches are both at Leichhardt Oval at the end of a huge day of league where matches in all three NSWRL senior competitions will be played.

Wests take on the Auburn Warriors at 5pm, before Concord-Burwood-Glebe play the third of their heritage matches in the Glebe ‘dirty reds’ jumpers against Guildford at 6:45pm.

Sunday’s two games see Hills District Bulls take on Cabramatta at Crestwood Reserve, while glamour sides St Marys and Mounties do battle in the clear ‘match of the round’ at St Marys Leagues Stadium.