By Nicholas Janzen at Ringrose Park
Wentworthville have cemented a spot in the VB NSW Cup top four and jumped above the Wests Tigers following a dominant performance at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
The match promised so much as the second-placed Tigers faced third-ranked Wentworthville but delivered little in the way of a contest, with the clash all one-way traffic as the Magpies led from start to finish.
The home side recorded their third consecutive victory at Ringrose, a 44-6 cakewalk, on the back of their ferocious forwards and some fantastic finishing by the men out wide.
Wentworthville sliced through for their opening four-pointer on the back of an incisive run from fullback Justin Hunt, who turned the ball inside for Kaysa Pritchard to score. The ease of access for Wenty into the Wests Tigers’ back field was a sign of things to come.
When Wests Tigers no.1 Kurtis Rowe miscalculated a high ball minutes later – and the pill eventually found its way into the arms of Magpies winger Cecil MacKenzie to score the easiest of tries – the writing was already all but on the wall.
A couple of sets later Wenty crossed for their third try, a left-to-right shift that saw a pin-point grubber land in the arms of Ben Fritz. Then it was Jake Butler-Fleming’s turn on the right – and, at 22-0, for the Wests Tigers the second half was all about saving face.
Back-to-back converted tries to the Magpies in the second half threatened to turn the match into a cricket score, with the Wests Tigers struggling to keep up with Wenty’s expansive attack and solid centre. Lorenzo Ma’afu and Pritchard crashed over from close range, and two tries from Hunt, including one on the same blade of grass as his match-winning four-pointer the week before, stretched the margin to 44.
All the Wests Tigers had to cheer about was a try at the death, with lock-forward Inno Inosesio crashing over adjacent to the posts to add some level of pride to an otherwise lacklustre performance by the visitors.
Hunt, Mackenzie, Ma’afu and halfback Luke Kelly starred for the Magpies in their dominant performance. Kelly, in particular, remains key to his side’s chances in the VB NSW Cup finals series, with the triple threat – his running, passing and kicking games – bound to give other teams problems in the matches ahead.
This week, in the final round of the regular season, Wentworthville travel to Sportingbet Stadium to face top-of-the-table Penrith while the Wests Tigers host Wyong at Campbelltown Stadium. Both matches will have a huge influence on the final make-up of the top eight finals series.
Wentworthville Magpies 44 (K Pritchard 2, J Hunt 2, B Fritz, J Butler-Fleming, C MacKenzie, L Ma'afu tries; L Kelly 6 goals) def. Wests Tigers 6 (I Inosesio try; C Brown goal) at Ringrose Park.