For all of the Wentworthville Magpies’ efforts, season 2015 was a struggle at best. There were some spirited performances but it counted for nothing as the Magpies ran dead last. It’s obvious a lot needed to change for the Parramatta Eels' feeder club and seasoned coach Joe Grima steps in as the new sheriff in town. Ready to turn a new leaf, Grima has his hands full but word through the grapevine is Wenty is a new rejuvenated team ready to step up in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
Off-season focus: It’s been a significant offseason for Wenty. Grima has introduced a new regime and will hold his side accountable for their performance each week. His vast coaching experience is priceless. Obviously, their defensive issues from last season need desperate attention and are imperative to turning the tables around in 2016.
Biggest gain: There’s a huge buzz coming out of Wenty about Yileen Gordon. Word is he has trained the house down and is ready to make 2016 his breakthrough season. Gordon starred in the Wyong Roos’ run to the grand final. It could be a matter of time before Gordon storms back into the NRL. Mitch Cornish will also be a valuable addition for Wenty and will provide depth in the halves for the Eels first-grade side. Cornish was inspirational at halfback for Mounties throughout last season, leading the side to an impressive minor premiership success.
Toughest loss: The fact that Grima doesn’t feel he has any tough losses indicates the beginning of a new chapter for the Magpies. Grima is confident he has the team to deliver the goods this season.
Coach Grima says: “Success isn’t always measured by the amount of china in the cabinet. My role is to provide an environment and competitive team that can put pressure (on the first-grade squad) by playing and training well to put their name forward to be selected by Eels coach Brad Arthur to play NRL. That’s my focus to ensure the players have a great attitude playing in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and are playing of a standard where Arthur has no hesitation in giving them an opportunity to play NRL.”
Our prediction: There’s a lot to look forward to at Wentworthville. Ringrose Park will be electric and fans will flock to get behind their beloved Wenty side. With so many new elements, it’s tricky to make any predictions. If it all cylinders fire, Wenty could be the dark horse of the competition. But if it doesn’t come together, it could take time until they hit their stride. With a talented backline consisting of Gordon, Bureta Faraimo, Brad Takairangi, John Folau and Vai Toutai, and a steady halves combination with Cornish and Luke Kelly, it’s hard to see them missing the finals again.
Comings and goings
Gains: Kieran Moss (Penrith Panthers), Mitch Cornish (Canberra Raiders), Clinton Gutherson (Manly Sea Eagles)
Losses: Moses Manu (Hills District), Beau Henry (Illawarra Cutters)