Belrose Eagles moved to surprise sole leadership of the Sydney Shield with a stunning 40-18 come-from-behind win over Windsor Wolves at Windsor last Saturday.
In a round of football where an astonishing 89 tries – including no less than five individual hat-tricks – were scored across the weekend, it was the performance of James Mortimer’s men that was the most remarkable.
After conceding two converted tries to be down 12-nil after just four minutes, Belrose struck back with three tries of their own before a third converted try to the Wolves gave the hosts an 18-12 lead at half time.
Belrose fullback Christian Bate’s second try with 20 minutes left to lock scores up at 18-all was the first of five unanswered tries in the last 20 minutes to blow the Wolves away.
Another blistering comeback saw Mounties come from behind at halftime to overwhelm Western Suburbs Magpies 46-38 at Carrawood Park, Carramar last Saturday.
In a match where 15 tries were scored and three players posted hat-tricks, Wests came back from 10-nil down early on the back of a first-half treble to Magpies winger Jai Doolan to lead by an incredible 30-16 at half-time.
Mounties then exploded to start the second half on the back of five tries in 15 minutes – highlighted by fullback Jake Horton’s three tries – to lead 46-30 midway through the second half.
Magpies backrower Trent Pye got the third hat-trick for the match in the closing stages to narrow the gap – but it was too little, too late.
Auburn Warriors managed to climb off the bottom of the ladder when they upset Hills District Bulls 40-32 at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday.
Fullback Jack Gibbons and centre Tom Harvey got doubles as the young Warriors scored eight tries to give former Bulldogs NRL player Brad Morrin his first win as a senior coach.
Two tries each to winger and second rower Penita Tuavao were not enough to save the Bulls from their first loss for the season.
St Marys moved back into the top eight with a 44-22 win over previously-unbeaten Guildford Owls in another high-scoring affair at St Marys last Saturday.
Five-eighth Blake Milgate starred for the Saints with a hat-trick out of Saints’ nine majors. Two tries to second rower Tui Oloapu was not enough to save Guildford from maiden defeat of 2016.
Defending premiers Wentworthville scored a comfortable 42-22 win over Blacktown Workers at Laybutt Field, Blacktown last Saturday.
‘Wenty’ winger Timoci Vatubuli completed the fifth hat-trick for the round, while fullback David Sisifa scored two tries for the Magpies. Winger Lomano Lufe scored twice for the Workers.
In Sunday’s main game at Waminda Oval, East Campbelltown moved to second spot on the ladder behind Belrose with a commanding 34-16 win over the previously-unbeaten Peninsula Seagulls.
Just like Saturday’s matches, the Seagulls – with new recruit Arthur Little pulling the strings – dominated early to lead 16-nil after 20 minutes.
Once Little went off with an ankle injury, the tide turned. The Eagles got back to only 16-10 down at half time, and then put the Seagulls in their place in the second half with four unanswered tries.
In the last game of the round on Sunday, Cabramatta broke the longest drought in their proud history with a 54-nil annihilation of the hapless Asquith Magpies at New Era Stadium.
Having not won a game in Sydney Shield since Round 11 in May 2015, the Two Blues scored eleven tries and never looked in danger after leading 30-nil at half-time against the outclassed Magpies.
Terrence Dodd, Jake Webb, Blake Castle and prop Zac Wedesweiler all scored doubles in the romp.
Belrose lead the table on six points after three rounds, with East Campbelltown and Guildford leading the next seven teams on four points. Windsor, Blacktown Workers and Asquith remain the only winless teams at the bottom of the ladder.
The Easter Round starts with two games on Thursday Night. Windsor host East Campbelltown at Windsor at 7pm, while Peninsula Seagulls play Asquith at Forestville Oval at 7:30pm. The other five games of the Easter round will be played on Easter Saturday.
Triple H FM will be calling this Saturday's double-header from St Marys Leagues Stadium, where St Marys host Cabramatta in the Sydney Shield from 4:15pm and in Ron Massey Cup from 6pm. For more info visit www.triplehfm.com.au