Ron Massey Cup Preview - Round One
Mounties Vs Windsor Wolves
Aubrey Keech Reserve, Saturday, March 22
Referee: Kasey Badger
Summary: Redemption will start in Round One for Mounties as they look to atone for last year’s Grand Final defeat at the hands of Wentworthville. After making the semi-finals of the OAMPS Cup, where ironically they were beaten by Wentworthville once again, Mounties will be looking to build on their pre-season momentum when they take on the Wolves at Aubrey Keech Reserve. With new Coach Chris Hutchinson at the helm, look for regulars Theo Leato, Wayne Dargan and Adam Tangata to lead the way. The Windsor Wolves will be also looking to kick their season off in a positive fashion after an early Round One exit in the both the finals last year and in the OAMPS Cup this year. With a new look backline unveiled for the season opener, look to Eli Makaui to direct his team around the park.
Prediction: Taking into account the pre-season form of both sides; we’re leaning towards Mounties to utilize their experience and finish the game as the stronger side. Mounties by 8.
The Entrance Tigers Vs Burwood North Ryde United
Morry Breen Oval, Saturday, March 22
Referee: Drew Oultram
Summary: After withdrawing from the OAMPS Cup, The Entrance are somewhat of an unknown quantity heading into Round One of the Ron Massey Cup season. The Tigers have lost a host of players from last year’s squad and will be relying heavily on local talent to see them through the season. With plenty of new faces named for the game against United, the opportunity to impress may provide the motivation and enthusiasm needed for victory. Despite going down to Cabramatta in Round One of the OAMPS Cup, Burwood North Ryde have named a strong side for their clash with The Entrance; with experienced campaigners Michael Bani, Joe Uluibau and Joe Flint providing plenty of direction for the team. Halves Matt Evans and Tom Henderson will need to be watched closely by the Tigers defence.
Prediction: Burwood’s experience to provide the difference. United by 12.
Blacktown Workers Vs Asquith Magpies
HE Laybutt Reserve, Saturday, March 22
Referee: Todd Smith
Summary: With Blacktown and Asquith missing the Ron Massey Cup Finals in 2013, both sides will be looking to begin their season with plenty of enthusiasm this weekend. Blacktown will enter the match with solid pre-season form under their belts after having made the Semi-Finals of the OAMPS Cup, defeating Kingsgrove and Round One opponents Asquith. The Workers have plenty of strike power in their lineup with Akeripa Tia Kalifi and Matthew Callaghan more than capable of finding their way to the try line. Asquith defeated Guildford in Round One of the OAMPS Cup before going down to Blacktown 30-22. The Magpies will be buoyed by their performance in that game and will know that with an even share of possession that they are more than capable of victory.
Prediction: Blacktown to once again take down the Magpies in a close one. Workers by 6.
Guildford Owls Vs Wentworthville Magpies
McCredie Park, Saturday, March 22
Referee: Scot Murray
Summary: New Wentworthville Magpies Coach Chris Yates has named an imposing lineup for their round one clash against Guildford at McCredie Park. Yates will have the services of experienced halfback Brendan Waters, NSW junior representative fullback Evander Cummins and former Eels rake Nathan Smith, who, alarmingly for Guildford, will start from the bench. Guildford won’t be without their trump cards courtesy of their relationship with the Parramatta Eels. Steve Ghosn has named several up and comers including Corey Makelim and Leva Li in a team which also features the experiences Casey and Ben Ellis. There is a feeling out Guildford way that they have the team to trouble the competition’s traditional powerhouses and they will soon find out just how much truth there is to that feeling at the end of the 80 minutes this Saturday.
Prediction: The young Owls to match it with the Magpies early but eventually experience will shine through. Wenty by 14.
Auburn Warriors Vs Western Suburbs Magpies
Lidcombe Oval, Saturday, March 22
Referee: Ryan Jackson
Summary: An NRL experienced centre-pairing awaits Leo Epifania and his Western Suburbs Magpies as they meet Auburn at one of their traditional venues, Lidcombe Oval. Former Bulldogs Heka Nanai and Matt Utai will prove to be more than a handful for their opposition Rusty Bristow and Jeremy Mose. Auburn lost to Wentworthville in round one of the OAMPS Cup so coach Darren Maroon and his senior playing group will have had plenty of time to tweak their game plan in the lead up to this game. The Magpies have plenty of experience to call on with representative player Sam Aiga and hard-working back-rower Nu Akeripa both named by Epifania. Western Suburbs progressed deep into the final series last year and Auburn play that brand of football that could take them to the promised land. This match will certainly be interesting to watch.
Prediction: Hard to pick. The game will go down to the wire but we think the Warriors will get the chocolates in a close one. Auburn by 2.
Cabramatta Two Blues Vs Kingsgrove Colts
New Era Stadium, Sunday, March 23
Referee: Phil Sung
Summary: There have been signs of resurgence down south with the acquisition of former Rabbitoh Jeremy Smith as Kingsgrove Coach for the 2014 season. Some excellent pre-season form has seen many in the competition change their tune about the Colts’ chances in the 2014 competition. Like Guildford against Wenty, the Colts will find out quickly about just how close they are to the mark. Smith has been able to bring with him some players who will be more than capable at Ron Massey Cup level and they will need to front up early against an experienced Cabramatta side. New Coach Jason Williams has named representative player Hala Katoa, experienced back-rower Pierce Sapsford and crafty half David Farkas so he would be quietly confident of gaining some revenge for their recent OAMPS Cup loss to the Colts here.
Prediction: The Colts will stick with Cabra for the majority of the match but the Two Blues’ class will shine through in the latter stages of the second half. Cabra by 8.