By Adam Kidd at Leichhardt Oval
The Wentworthville Magpies have secured a place in the Preliminary Finals of the VB NSW Cup after a hard fought 29-16 victory over the Wyong Roos.
After a disappointing loss to Newcastle the week before, the Magpies held off a determined Roos outfit that had won their previous six games leading up to the match and were full of confidence after an impressive 26-8 victory over the Wests Tigers.
In perfect conditions both teams exploded out of the blocks with the Magpies kicking a 40/20 after the first set of the game and Wyong replying with the first try of the match to Dale Clacherty at the other end of the field after their first use of the football.
The Magpies didn’t take long to respond however with Api Pewhairangi finding Pat Mataele on the end of a short ball to level the scores with Luke Kelly missing the conversion for a 4-all score line after 13 minutes.
Wentworthville increased their lead just minutes later with Ben Jones taking advantage of some lazy marker defence to break the line and link up with Sam Gorman who in turn found a flying Justin Hunt to score beside the posts for a 10-4 lead.
Mitch Williams began to probe for Wyong and almost orchestrated a number of scoring opportunities before VB NSW Cup Player of the Year, Bureta Faraimo, broke free down the sideline and linked up with Pewhairangi to finish a 60-metre movement and set up a 14-4 lead after 30 minutes.
Williams got his side back in to the contest almost instantly, with a clever run and kick down the short side taking the Magpies defence by surprise and allowing Clacherty to score his second and reduce the deficit to 14-10 at half-time.
Wyong regained the lead early in the second half with a Magpies mistake granting the Roos perfect field position and a brilliant cut out pass from Jono Ford making them pay with Damon Goolagong diving over in the corner for a 16-14 lead.
Wyong looked set to extend their lead minutes later only for Jake Butler Fleming to take an intercept and run the length of the field for a momentum changing try.
With both teams fighting hard to gain the advantage in the final quarter of the match, it was Faraimo once again who provided the spark with a try in the 65th minute to set up a 22-16 lead.
In a tense final ten minutes, it was Wentworthville who were able to hold their nerve with Lionel O’Mally scoring a determined try and Luke Kelly slotting a field goal to put the game out of Wyong’s reach for a 29-16 victory.
The season is now over for Wyong while the Magpies have booked a showdown with the Panthers at 1pm this Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
Wentworthville Magpies 29 (J Hunt, J Butler-Fleming, B Faraimo, L O'Mally, P Mataele, A Pewhairangi tries; L Kelly 2 goals; L Kelly field goal) def. Wyong Roos 16 (D Clacherty 2, D Goolagong tries; M Kheirallah 2 goals) at Leichhardt Oval.