MOUNTIES, ST MARYS AND WENTY SCORE IMPORTANT WINS

Competition leaders Mounties established themselves as Sydney Shield favourites with a 34-26 win over the Peninsula Seagulls in the Sydney Shield match of the round at Aubrey Keech Reserve, Hinchinbrook last Saturday.

The first surprise was Seagulls co-coach and former NRL Premiership winning captain Craig Gower did not play after being named on an extended interchange bench during the leadup.

“The Mulga” took full advantage of a nervous, error riddled Seagulls outfit – and some questionable decisions from referee James Vella – to establish a match winning 22-nil lead after 31 minutes through tries to Maile Li, Sam Aiga, Luke Cauchi and Jake Horton.

Horton converted three of those tries to give Mounties their lead, before Barry McGrady replied for the Seagulls to bring the scores back to 22-6 at half time with Luke Martin’s conversion.

A remarkable 98 metre try from a kick return to Seagulls fullback Jake Pickering – his 11th for the season – gave the visitors hope of a comeback at 22-12 five minutes into the second half.

Maiko Sivo’s 14th try of the year replied for Mounties to extend the lead back to 28-12 mid way throught the second half.

The Seagulls then held on to some football to properly mount a comeback.  Tries to centre Knox Time and backrower Todd Wilson brought the scores back to 28-22 with 10 minutes left.

Again, Mounties steadied under pressure for Cauchi’s second try to seal the win and top spot on the table at 34-22 with under five minutes left.  Seagulls winger Richie Goodwin scored a late consolation try wide out to close the scoring.

St Marys moved into outright second spot with a 42-28 win over local arch rivals Windsor Wolves in their ‘battle of the Blue Mountains” at Windsor Sports Complex last Saturday evening.

The Wolves used their confidence from their previous two wins to serve it up to the Saints for the first 60 minutes of the contest – with Lachlan Jackson, Michael Wade, Shaun Fitzgerald scoring tries to give the Wolves a 16-12 lead.

This was extended to 22-12 early in the second half when Jackson scored his second try with Ben Hudd’s conversion, and the upset was right on the cards.

St Marys then stepped up a gear with 5 unanswered tries – all converted – to put the match beyond doubt.  Hooker Jamie Hill scored a double for the Saints and skipper Dean Zammit led the way up front with a try for the visitors. 

Dean Barron got the Wolves’ late consolation try to make the final score more respectable.

Defending Premiers Wentworthville moved into third place on the Shield table with a 52-18 demolition of Belrose at Lionel Watts Reserve last Sunday.

In a tight, physical contest for most of the first half, Regan Rona opened the scoring for the Magpies in the third minute from a Keehan Diamond grubber before Beau Abrahams replied from a superb James Mortimer pass to give Belrose to level the scores.

Magpies centre Cecil MacKenzie regained the lead in the 19th minutes with a neat try down the left, before a flare up saw Belrose prop Erza Howe sin binned by referee Phillip Sung.

‘Wenty’ hooker Matt Collins extended the lead to 16-6 with the conversion from half Kamren Cryer, before Belrose struck back with a controversial ‘eight point try’ in the 35th minute.

As stand in Belrose fullback Alex Zarounas fed off a Mortimer pass to score behind the posts, Magpies backrower Michael Lekkas came in ‘over the top’ as he grounded the ball. 

This started another flare up before referee Sung gave the mandatory ‘eight point try’ penalty in front of the posts after the successful conversion for the Lekkas hit. 

Mortimer kicked the penalty goal to complete the eight point try which narrowed the Wenty lead to 16-14.  Lekkas was placed on report by Sung for the incident.

This ‘eight point try’ was as close as Belrose got for the rest of the day as ‘Wenty’ were stung into action.

First, winger Ryan Burroughs scored the first of his two spectacular tries on the stroke of half time where he beat four defenders – and even hurdled his tackled team mate Mackenzie on the ground in transit – to give Wenty a 22-14 half time lead with Cryer’s conversion.

Then the Magpies – led by a Chris Rakete and Jesse Malcolm-Dinsdale inspired forward pack who were smashing the lighter Belrose pack into submission with brutal, bone jarring defence – hit their straps.

Interchange forward Andre Iro bagged a brace of tries from close range, Burroughs scored his second try with an 85 metre dash from a break inside his own 20 metre area, and full back Anthony Katrib latched on to a Cryer grubber to score.

When Rona got his second try as a makeshift hooker from dummy half with 6 minutes left, the demolition was complete at 52-14 with Cryer’s eighth goal from nine attempts.

Belrose centre Damien Reti finished off a neat movement wide out to give the Eagles a consolation try in the final minute.

An Edwin Connor conversion from the touch line after the full time siren gave East Campbelltown a 34-32 win over the Guildford Owls in a ‘heart stopper’ at Waminda Oval last Sunday.

In easily the best match played at Waminda Oval this season so far, the Eagles started the match on fire and on the back of tries to Mason Talalua, Wayde Dunley, Fred Tavaga and George Vatuvie led 22-12 at half time.

The young Guildford outfit stormed back into the in a see sawing second half and with tries to Kelepi Manu, Anthony Layoun and Aaron Pene got to a 32-28 lead with under five minutes left.

Just as they were staring at a sixth straight loss, the Eagles launched one last desperate attack as the final siren sounded.  The last pass got to winger Craig Moustakas who just beat the Guildford cover to score his 13th try for the season in the corner.

Connor nailed the conversion from touch to ‘bring the house down’ for the Waminda faithful and break Guildford hearts.

Western Suburbs shrugged off having just a 14 man rotation with a remarkable 52-12 thrashing of the Hills District Bulls at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday.

The Magpies could only muster one fresh reserve for the match due to various late withdrawals.  This meant that the visitors only used five of their allotted eight interchanges for the match.

Wests opened the scoring with a Ryan Cane try in the fifth minute, before Mitch Zampetides replied when he barged over under the posts to give the Bulls a 6-4 lead with Nick Holliday’s conversion.  It was the only time the Bulls led all day.

The undermanned Magpies gave a sign of things to come when Noa Tuitavuki scored off a Jai Doolan pass to regain the lead, before Royce Tout scored off some great lead up from Paul Roberts to give Wests a 14-6 lead at the break.

Despite their lack of numbers, the Magpies destroyed the Bulls with 30 minutes of dazzling attack in the second half against token defence to win the match.

Kelsey Coakes bagged two tries to extend the lead before Jack Pearce scored in the first tackle from the restart after Coakes’s second try to blow the Magpies lead out to 32-6.  Senio Toa and Phil Brombal then joined in the party with tries to put the game to bed with 15 minutes to play. 

The Bulls got a consolation try when James Atua burst through the overworked Magpies pack with 10 minutes left, before Toa and Pearce completed their doubles in the last 5 minutes to put the icing on the Magpies’ cake.

A five try performance by Tupou Kavaefiafi propelled Cabramatta to a 38-32 win over the Blacktown Workers at Laybutt Sports Fields, Blacktown last Saturday.

With winger Luke Lavender also bagging a double, the Two Blues held out a Workers outfit that stayed in touch in a 13 try attacking feast – Cabramatta scoring a seven tries to six victory in a match where defence at times was slack. 

The Workers threatened in the second half on the back of two tries to winger Cameron Davis, but were no answer to the brilliance of Kavaefiafi at the back for ‘Cabra’.

Finally, the Asquith Magpies’ Sydney Shield season reached a new low as they were humiliated 90-10 by a rampant Auburn Warriors at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday.

The Warriors ran in 18 tries in their romp over the outclassed Magpies and ‘bombed’ at least five other scoring opportunites – with hooker Connor Jones helping himself to a personal best five tries, with Antonio Hala and Jerry Leasi picking up four tries each. 

If the Warriors’ goalkicking was better on the day to go with their missed chances – seven conversions were missed – then Auburn would have racked up an incredible century of points.

The 80 point margin of defeat and 90 points conceded were sadly both records as the largest in the  Magpies’ 63 year history.

This led to the Magpies forfeiting their match against Guildford this Sunday at Storey Park – their first forfeit since entering any NSWRL open age competition in 2006.

After Asquith’s forfeit, this weekend’s round will now see four matches set down for Saturday and two matches on Sunday.

The clash of arch rivals Mounties and Wentworthville at Aubrey Keech Reserve, Hinchinbrook on Saturday is the clear match of the round.

Triple H FM continue coverage of the Ron Massey Cup continues this weekend with their call of the Asquith Magpies’ clash with the Guildford Owls at Storey Park on Sunday.  Coverage of the Ron Massey Cup game kicks off at 3pm. The well known League Program “View From The Hill” is also back on Triple H FM on Saturday at Midday. “View From The Hill” and the live Sunday coverage can be heard on 100.1FM, via live streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au and on the ‘radiotunein’app.