A barnstorming finish in the last 20 minutes saw the Guildford Owls score a stunning 22-18 win over the Belrose Eagles in the Sydney Shield match of the round at McCredie Park last Sunday.
In a match marked by defence that bordered on brutal at times, the Owls meant business early when winger Kelepi Manu opened the scoring in the third minute.
Belrose then steadied with tries to fullback Christian Bate and lock Michael Ferris to take a 12-4 lead to the half-time break.
James Mortimer’s men looked to be in control when centre Andrew Halstead completed a blindside movement to extend the lead to 18-4 13 minutes into the second half.
On the back of aggressive defence and a mounting Belrose injury toll, the young Owls came back strongly. After hooker Julian King and back-rower Taneikere Hokai scored to bring the margin to just two points, the ‘coup de grace’ came with seven minutes left.
A cross-field kick by Owls five-eighth Michael Markus was allowed to bounce by fullback Bate. The ensuing rebound was passed to interchange forward Mohammed Soultan who dashed 25 metres to score the winning try and inflict Belrose’s first defeat of the season.
Mounties took full advantage of Belrose’s slip-up to charge to the top of the Sydney Shield table on percentages with a 62-12 thumping of Auburn Warriors at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday.
Wingers Sisa Balekoki and Maika Sivo, centre Finlay Dibley and lock Sage Wilder all got doubles in the 11-try performance, with fullback Jake Horton landing a personal tally of 20 points with a try and eight goals from 11 attempts with the boot.
The Peninsula Seagulls also took full advantage of their near neighbours’ misfortune by moving to second spot on the Shield table with an emphatic 56-16 drubbing of Western Suburbs at Forestville Oval last Friday Night.
After conceding an early 10-6 lead after Wests winger Jesse Jackson dashed 95 metres to score from a poor Seagulls cross-field kick, the Seagulls attack then took charge – scoring 10 tries in their win.
Centre Knox Time and winger Jeremy Marshall got doubles for the Seagulls, while half Luke Martin also had a personal tally of 20 points with a try and eight from 10 with the boot.
Blacktown Workers finally had some luck with a hard-fought 40-30 win over Windsor Wolves at Laybutt Sports Complex last Saturday.
Jon Letele and John Lepai both scored two tries each in the seven tries to six win – the Workers’ first win of the season to move them off the bottom of the Shield ladder.
Cabramatta continued their improved form with a convincing 30-18 win against an undermanned Hills District Bulls at New Era Stadium last Saturday evening.
After Bulls skipper Brad Horder scored the first try to give the visitors an early 6-nil lead, the Two Blues took full advantage of Bulls errors to come away in the second half.
Cabra five-eighth Ernest Alo starred for the Two Blues with a hand in three of Cabra’s five tries and five goals from five attempts.
Defending Premiers had to work hard for a time before overwhelming Asquith 58-nil in the last game that was played in the round at Storey Park last Saturday.
The much-maligned home side were competitive for nearly the first hour – only being behind 14-nil at half-time.
Wenty then took advantage of a tiring Asquith scoring seven tries in the last 23 minutes. Centre Cecil Mackenzie had a day out with four majors, with fullback Timoci Vatubuli and winger Ryan Burroughs baggin doubles.
Sensationally, East Campbelltown had to forfeit their match against St Marys at Waminda Oval last Sunday as they could not provide an official Club Doctor to be on duty for the match as per NSW Rugby League competition rules.
The League has since ruled the forfeit to be a 30-nil St Marys win as the official result – which sees the Saints move into third place on the Shield table, with Belrose back to fourth and East Campbelltown dropping out of the Top four.
Asquith remain bottom of the ladder with no competition points to their credit.
The Anzac weekend sees three matches on Saturday and four matches on Sunday – with new leaders Mounties taking on a fired-up East Campbelltown at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday in the match of the round.
Triple H FM will be covering the “Battle of the Birds” at Storey Park this Sunday when the Asquith Magpies take on the Western Suburbs Magpies – with Sydney Shield 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.