Highlights: Mounties v Magpies (Rd 15)
Mounties scored 42-unanswered points in a second-half rampage to defeat the Wentworthville Magpies after trailing 22-10 at halftime.
Scoring four tries in 15 minutes, Mounties clinched their first win since round 9 in dramatic fashion and remain three points behind the top-of-the-table Penrith Panthers.
It's a devastating loss for the Magpies who were the far-better side in the first half but could not overcome a lopsided penalty count and several contentious tries to Mounties after halftime.
The Magpies took control of the match with an early 12-0 lead after 13 minutes with tries through Sam Gorman and Vai Toutai. Toutai scored a magical try that saw the Magpies spread the ball on their own 10-metre line to find Beau Henry who offloaded to his right centre. After going through nine pairs of hands, Toutai passed back on the inside before backing up to finish a brilliant 90-metre team try.
However, costly errors allowed Mounties to remain in the contest and score the next two tries to cut the deficit to 12-10 with 16 minutes before halftime.
The Magpies extended their lead 18-10 with a fifth-tackle bomb that bounced in their favour for Cody Nelson to score next to the posts.
If the Magpies’ first length-of-the-field try wasn’t spectacular enough, then powerhouse Bureta Faraimo had everyone shaking their heads in amazement. The Magpies scored an extraordinary try off the back of resolutely defending three consecutive sets on their own line before Fabian Goodall toed a loose ball ahead to regather and find Faraimo to his left who ignited to get on the outside of several would-be-defenders with two big palms that would make Greg Inglis shudder.
Leading 22-10 at halftime, the Magpies were in full control and were full of confidence, playing some sensational rugby league despite the loss of NRL new-sensation, John Folau, who suffered a hairline ankle fracture.
Had it not been for poor execution, the Magpies could have seized a commanding lead in one of the better performances of the season.
Gorman and Tui Kamikamica were reported for a dangerous lifting tackle in the 53rd minute that gifted Mounties the first try of the half as Glen Buttriss capitalised on the opportunity to drift across field and put Mark Nicholls over and cut the deficit 22-16.
Mounties received seven penalties in a row and enjoyed a 10-3 penalty count to open the floodgates in the second half, scoring four consecutive tries in a controversial fifteen-minute period.
Mounties contentiously levelled the scores 22-all with 20 minutes remaining after Hawkins beat three defenders to score before replays clearly showed he blatantly stepped into touch as he planted the ball.
Another questionable try to Mounties gave them their first lead of the day when Buttriss found Ahearn to burst through and fortuitously pass forward to Josh McCrone to finish off the 60-metre effort.
In a man-of-the-match performance, Buttriss was at it again, brilliantly offloading for Mounties to race down the left side with Mitch Barnett scoring followed by Mitch Cornish adding the extras with a handy sideline conversion for the 34-22 lead.
Mounties claimed an unassailable 40-22 lead with 12 minutes left as Cornish grubber kicked for Pat Mataele with replays suggesting a knock-on. Cornish then crossed for a try of his own in an 18-point individual haul before Matalele scored his second.
Mounties 52 (P Mataele 2, M Cornish, L Page, B Tupou, M Nicholls, J Hawkins, J McCrone, M Barnett tries; Cornish 8 goals) bt Wentworthville Magpies 22 (S Gorman, V Toutai, C Nelson, B Faraimo tries; B Henry 3 goals)