A third try to winger Thomas Capper with two minutes remaining saw the Western Suburbs Magpies get out of jail with a miracle 42-40 Sydney Shield win over Cabramatta Two Blues at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.
In a match that saw defence go out the window with 16 tries scored, Wests remarkably came back from being down 34-10 at half-time to score their third win of the season.
The Two Blues started the match on fire; Brett Castles opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before George Vujanovic and Jake Webb scored tries from kicks to give Cabramatta an early 16-nil lead.
Capper scored his first try from a questionable pass to bring the Magpies deficit back to 12 points, before Jarrod Robson and Solimona’s second try gave Cabramatta what appeared to be a match winning 34-10 half-time lead.
Then came the Magpies’ resurrection in the second half. When George Nasiali scored for the Magpies from a Pio Sofa cross kick, it was game on at 34-24 with 20 minutes left.
Cabramatta half Michael Dent scored a brilliant solo try to give the Two Blues some more breathing space at 40-24, before the Magpies’ final grandstand finish.
Capper got his second try from an Ioelu cut out pass, before Miseli Vaikelli scored against the wobbly Two Blues defence to reduce the deficit to just six points at 40-34.
When Doolan got his double to take his season tally to 11 tries, the Magpies incredibly had the momentum – despite Ioelu missing the conversion to level the scores.
With two minutes left on the clock, another long cut out pass from Doolan sent Capper over in the corner to complete his hat-trick and give Wests the lead for the first time.
The Magpies then hung on in the closing stages to complete their miracle win and stun Cabramatta.
The Two Blues have now lost their last two Sydney Shield games in the last three minutes – by one and two points respectively – and have lost three games this year by six points or less.
The weekend’s other games were far more clear cut.
Mounties moved to second spot on the Sydney Shield ladder with a 64-6 thrashing of the Windsor Wolves at Windsor last Saturday.
After leading only 24-6 at half-time against a grimly determined Wolves defence, the floodgates opened in the second half. The Mulga scored 40 unanswered points and seven unanswered tries to put Windsor to the sword. Maika Sivo and Sisa Balekoli both bagged hat-tricks, while Rusty Bristow got a double for Mounties.
St Marys were just as ruthless as they continued Asquith’s early season misery with a 66-nil rout of the Magpies at St Marys Stadium last Sunday.
Luke Swain’s Saints outfit posted 13 tries in the romp – Alan Eisenhuth and John Tuliatu helped themselves to hat-tricks, with hooker Ben Bragg joining in the act with two tries.
Asquith have now not scored a point in their last three Sydney Shield games.
Finally, Belrose Eagles had to work hard before overcoming a willing, but error-riddled Blacktown Workers side 26-12 at Lionel Watts Reserve last Sunday.
In a scrappy match that was physically tough in the warm conditions, Belrose led 14-6 at half-time and posted a five-tries-to-two win after withstanding a second half Workers comeback that reduced the Belrose lead to 14-12 for long periods in the second stanza.
Belrose’s win sees them stay undefeated on top of the Sydney Shield table, with five wins from five starts. Mounties, East Campbelltown, Peninsula Seagulls and St Marys are all two points behind Belrose in the chasing pack.
Blacktown Workers and Asquith sit at the bottom of the table - having not yet opened their season accounts.
This weekend sees a return to a full round of action with the Peninsula Seagulls starting things off against Wests at Forestville Oval on Friday Night.
Four matches will be played on Saturday, before Guildford play Belrose at McCredie Park and East Campbelltown take on St Marys at Waminda Oval on Sunday to complete the round.
Triple H FM cover two double headers this weekend – Asquith v Wentworthville in both Sydney Shield and Ron Massey Cup at Storey Park from 1pm on Saturday, followed by the McCredie Park double header on Sunday. In those fixtures, Guildford clash with Belrose in Sydney Shield at 1pm before Guildford take on Concord-Burwood in Ron Massey Cup at 3pm.
Action can be heard on 100.1FM, via live streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au or on the TuneIn app.