The Peninsula Seagulls overcame a tough – and at times brutal – contest to edge out Belrose Eagles 16-10 in a fiery Sydney Shield Match Of The Round at Forestville Oval last Saturday Night.
In a match marked by plenty of big hits, the Seagulls opened the scoring in the 10th minute when centre Barry McGrady dashed down a short blind side from close range to score in the corner.
After a penalty for a late hit on half Luke Martin, the Seagulls worked play downfield for Martin to put a grubber kick in behind the Belrose defence for winger Richie Goodwin to score. Martin converted from touch for a 10-nil Seagulls lead at the break.
Belrose were rewarded for persistence with 16 minutes left when a superbly worked dummy-half 'mouse trap' move saw fullback Christian Bate stroll over untouched for his eighth try of the season and a Seagulls lead of only 10-4.
Bate then turned villain in the key play of the night four minutes later.
Frustrated by being held down by Seagulls' stand-in hooker Chris Williams at a ruck, Bate let go a crisp right hand that found the mark and which led to an all-in flare-up.
Despite Belrose getting the penalty for holding down, Bate got 10 minutes in the sin bin from referee Martin Jones for throwing the punch - a call that was decisive.
Belrose worked their way up field from the penalty for prop Adam Saunders to crash over under the posts to level the scores at 10-all with James Mortimer's conversion and set up a grandstand finish.
With five minutes left, Martin put up a bomb instead of going for a field goal from close range.
McGrady took the bomb in the absence of Bate and linked up with Seagulls custodian Jake Pickering who beat the cover to score his 9th try of the season in the corner. Martin converted from touch and the Seagulls led 16-10.
Belrose had one last chance after Bate returned from the sin bin, but the Seagulls held on to score their fourth win in six Peninsula Derbies played since 2014.
Competition leaders Mounties had little more than an exercise workout in disposing of Blacktown Workers 42-10 at Laybutt Sports Comples, Blacktown last Saturday.
With Asi Malea having a field day with four tries, the Mulga were rarely troubled to post an eight-tries-to-two victory. Mounties half Jake Horton scored a try and landed five goals from eight attempts.
A rousing second half by the Toomalatai brothers – Gordon and Urima – saw St Marys come back from 16-nil down to overwhelm Wests 34-20 at St Marys Leagues Stadium last Saturday.
The Magpies were seemingly in control when Tony Tali, Daniel Roberts and Kelsey Coakes all scored to give Wests a commanding 16-nil lead after 25 minutes.
Urima Toomalatai gave a hint of what was to come when his try kept the Saints in the hunt at 16-4 at the break.
A series of errors from a butter-fingered Mapgies outfit in the second half saw the Saints charge back, with Urima Toomalatai scoring his second try before brother Gordon got in on the action.
Gordon’s two tries in 10 minutes – punctuated by Daniel Penese’s major – saw the Saints storm to the front at 32-16.
Jai Doolan’s 13th try for the season got Wests back to 32-20, before a late penalty goal by Gordon Toomalatai – he finished with five goals from seven attempts for a personal tally of 18 points – sealed the win with five minutes left.
Cabramatta stayed in touch with the top eight with a comfortable 30-12 win over the Windsor Wolves at New Era Stadium last Saturday evening.
With BJ Nathan making a welcome return to Sydney Shield with two tries, the Two Blues were too strong in posting a six-tries-to-two win to keep Windsor winless for the season to date.
Defending Premiers Wentworthville stayed in the top eight with a hard-fought 30-20 win over East Campbelltown at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
Henry Taufoao bagged two tries for the Magpies to counter the double posted by East Campbelltown winger Craig Moustakas that took his season tally to 10.
The Magpies needed a late try from KJ Mackenzie to secure their win, which was East Campbelltown’s third consecutive loss.
In a tryfest where defence went out the window, Guildford scraped home 40-38 over a committed Auburn Warriors at McCredie Park last Sunday.
No less than 13 tries were scored in the contest as the lead changed hands several times in the match, and where Auburn had their chances in the last 10 minutes to pull off the upset – but could not execute their last play.
Tafi Oloatu bagged a double for the Owls in their seven tries, while Chris Cunningham and Tuuta Langi posting braces in the Warriors’ six majors.
Finally, the Hills District Bulls completed their expected rout of the Asquith Magpies 70-10 at Storey Park last Sunday to move back into the top eight on percentages.
Fullback Devon Makoare-Boyce scored a remarkable five tries, while centre team mate Jordan Tongahai posted four tries in the Bulls’ total of 12 majors against the outclassed Magpies.
Asquith did well to behind only 28-10 at half-time, before the Bulls ran away with the game in the second half.
Mounties and the Seagulls lead the Shield on 14 points, ahead of St Marys, Belrose and Guildford on 12 Points. Asquith remain anchored to the bottom of the Shield ladder with just one point from eight starts.
This weekend sees only two games played in another split round. Belrose take on Asquith on Friday Night at Lionel Watts Reserve, before Hills District Bulls meet St Marys at Crestwood Reserve on Sunday.
Triple H FM has another big weekend of coverage – starting on Friday Night when Belrose clash with Asquith from Lionel Watts Reserve at 7:00pm.
Then it’s another Super Sunday at Crestwood Reserve between the Hills District Bulls and the St Marys Saints - 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.