The Concord-Burwood Wolves have given notice that they can be a force in this year’s Ron Massey Cup with a remarkable second-half comeback to stun the Guildford Owls 42-22 at McCredie Park last Sunday.
In the ultimate match of two halves, Guildford jumped out to a 22-nil lead after just 30 minutes – with Matt Ryan leading the way up front with his try and hooker Tyrone Shelley and five eighth Lazarus Brown also getting on the score sheet in dominant displays.
When former Newcastle Knight Rodney Mason – younger brother of big Willie – scored just before half-time to get the Wolves on the board at 22-4, no one at in attendance could have predicted what was about to follow.
In a second half that had to be seen to be believed, the Wolves scored seven unanswered tries and 38 unanswered points in 40 minutes that left the Owls shell shocked.
Wolves five-eighth Marc Russell had the ball seemingly on a string in setting up three tries from deft grubber kicks in behind a non plussed defence – Mason completed a career maiden hat-trick of tries from two of those kicks.
Former boom Sydney Roosters centre Latrell Schaumkel and former North Sydney Bears fullback Bernard Gregorius also helped themselves to tries as the Wolves buried Guildford in an avalanche of tries and points to send a warning to the rest of the competition.
The Asquith Magpies showed why they reached last year’s Grand Final with a gutsy 20-14 win over the Wentworthville Magpies at Storey Park last Saturday in the round’s other main game.
The ’Battle of the Birds’ lived up to the billing with bone-jarring defence the order of the day – the personal two man ‘war’ between Asquith skipper Joel Latham and ‘Wenty’ prop Nick Kassis a particular highlight as both men made a beeline for the other in attack and defence all day.
After conceding an early try, Wenty got the upper hand with Roydon Gillett’s try just before half-time to give the visitors and 8-4 lead at the break.
Asquith came out fired up in the second half with fullback Alex Nicholls-O’Neill capping a fine game with two tries – the key play being a one-on-one strip of opposite number Will Roper to score in the 55th minute to extend Asquith’s lead to 20-8.
Wenty winger Nick Walker bagged his second try eight minutes later to set up the grandstand finish, but superb Asquith defence saw the home side hold on to give Wenty their first Ron Massey Cup loss for the season.
Defending Premiers Mounties joined Wenty on 10 points in the Ron Massey Cup with a thrilling 26-24 win over a gallant Auburn Warriors at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday.
In a match that saw the lead change a number of times in the second half, “The Mulga” did just enough to secure their five tries to four win as they held on against one last Warriors charge in the final minutes.
Alofi Mataele’s eighth try of the season was the match winner – sending the Mounties winger to the top of the Ron Massey Cup scoring charts.
The Windsor Wolves broke their run of outs with a stunning 38-16 win over Blacktown Workers at Laybutt Sports Complex last Saturday.
In a convincing display, the Wolves were propelled by doubles to winger James Goring and fullback Tori Willie to post a seven tries to three win over a disappointing Workers outfit – clearly spent by their run of narrow last minute defeats heading into the match.
The Hills District Bulls - fresh from a week’s rest - returned to form with a resounding 38-16 win over a disappointing Cabramatta at New Era Stadium last Saturday Night.
With new half James Wehbe starring, the Bulls won the match on the back of an explosive first half which saw the visitors lead 26-nil at the break.
When powerful centre Ben Vengoa scored his second try two minutes into the second half, the Bulls extended that lead to 32-nil to kill the match off as a contest.
‘Cabra’ mounted a comeback of sorts with three late second half tries, but Vengoa’s hat trick in the closing stages confirmed the Bulls’ dominant performance.
Finally, Western Suburbs had little more than an exercise workout in annihilating the hapless Kingsgrove Colts 84-6 at Hurstville Oval last Saturday.
Fullback Shannon Gallant, centre Tom Morrison and interchange forward Jackson Williams each got doubles in the 14 try romp for the Magpies.
Gallant indeed revived memories of 1930s point-scoring champion Dave Brown with his performance – landing a perfect 14 goals from 14 attempts in converting all of the Magpies’ tries while helping himself to a personal tally of 36 points to go with his two tries.
Gallant’s 14 goals was only one shy of Brown’s record of 15 goals in a match set for Easts against Canterbury in the 1935 NSWRL competition.
Wentworthville are now joined by Mounties and Wests on 10 points at the head of the Massey Cup table. Blacktown Workers and Kingsgrove Colts still sit jointly at the bottom of the ladder on two points each.
This Anzac weekend sees a full round of action with two matches on Saturday and four matches on Sunday - headlined by Wentworthville playing fellow powerhouses St Marys at Ringrose Park on Sunday as the curtain raiser to the Intrust Super Premiership match between Wenty and the Wests Tigers.
Triple H FM cover another “Battle of the Birds” this Sunday at Storey Park between the Asquith Magpies and the Western Suburbs Magpies - with the Sydney Shield clash kicking off at 1pm and Ron Massey Cup at 3pm. All the weekend action can be heard on 100.1FM, or via live streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, or on the tunein app.