Defending Ron Massey Cup premiers Mounties re-established themselves as the competition’s yardstick team with a convincing 22-14 win over the Wentworthville Magpies at Mount Pritchard Sports Complex last Saturday.
With Aubrey Keech Reserve unavailable while still recovering from flooding during the previous weekend’s ‘big wet,’ the Mulga returned to their old home ground with their best performance of the season to date.
After a tight opening, Mounties slowly ground their way on top in the back end of the first stanza - with tries to John Kennedy, Jordan Martin and Allen Mulia Malau giving the home side a 16-4 lead at the break. Winger Roydan Gillett got his first try for the day for the Magpies in the first half.
Mounties then kicked away further when five-eighth Chad Porter scored in the second half to give his side a match-winning 22-4 lead after he converted his own try. Porter finished with three goals from four attempts.
Wentworthville were given some hope when referee Josh McGowan sin-binned former Penrith NYC player Jarrod Brackenhofer midway through the second half.
The Magpies – who were missing experienced centre Yileen ‘buddy’ Gordon after his call-up to play Intrust Super Premiership NSW across town at Henson Park against Newtown – rallied with tries to Dylan Izzard and Gillett’s second major to bring the scores back to 22-14.
Gillett took his season tally to 11 tries in Ron Massey Cup with his double.
Mounties steadied when Brackenhofer returned from the bin and ran down the clock in the closing stages to seal their win.
The Guildford Owls overcame having to play with 12 men for 47 minutes to score a gutsy 30-22 win over the Asquith Magpies in the match played at Storey Park last Friday night.
In an incident-packed match to christen the new Storey Park floodlights, the Magpies led twice during the night -only for the courageous Owls outfit to run them down on each occasion.
Asquith jumped out to a 10-nil lead with early tries to Alex Nicholls-O’Neill – his 12th for the year - and Andy Oughtred from a Jeremy King fumble in-goal.
Then the match exploded after Lopeti Wolfgramm scored a brilliant individual try to get the visitors on the board at 10-6 with his own conversion.
Referee Darian Furner struggled for control as Guildford winger Lesley Ngaulafe and Magpies skipper Joel Latham were sin-binned, while Wolfgramm was sensationally sent off in the 33rd minute for a dangerous spear tackle on Magpies centre Jeco Makatoa.
Makatoa landed on the cricket pitch area in the tackle and took no further part in the match after leaving the field.
Former Cronulla and Wests Tigers NRL player Penani Manumalealii incredibly scored in the last minute of the first stanza while Guildford were down to 11 men to give the visitors a shock 12-10 at the break with Mason Farrell’s conversion.
Guildford extended their lead to 18-10 after both sin bin players returned when hooker Alex Bush picked up a bizarre try.
An attempted in-goal clearance of a Lazarus Brown grubber kick by Nicholls-O’Neill and Asquith winger Jack Hawkins skewed 20 metres across the in goal area straight to Bush to score.
It appeared that Asquith were finally gaining the upper hand when halves Brad Wall and Ben Fisher scored superb individual tries from close range against a tired defence for a 22-18 Magpies lead with 10 minutes left.
Guildford’s 12 men then lifted against the odds one last time in the closing stages. Centre Harmony Hunt levelled the scores with a superb try with seven minutes left.
Then back-rower Michael Rickard picked up a rebound off an upright from a Bush grubber kick to score under the posts and give the Owls a 28-22 lead with four minutes to play after Farrell’s conversion.
The Owls completed the job with a Farrell penalty goal in the last minute to seal a remarkable win and move back into the Massey Cup Top eight.
Finally, the Hills District Bulls got themselves back into finals contention with a 38-16 win over a disappointing Windsor Wolves at Crestwood Reserve in the match played last Sunday.
The match was tight in the first half as both sides struggled for control knowing that the loser was virtually gone for the season.
Hills led only 12-10 at half-time as tries to Liam Walker and Sydney Shield call up Nick Holliday were cancelled out by majors to Abraham Murdock and skipper Sam Hollis for the Wolves.
The Bulls – despite a reshuffle that saw Holliday and backrower Jason Gerecs called up from Sydney Shield – then asserted their authority in the second stanza in one of their best halves for the season.
Hills District scored five second-half tries to put the Wolves to the sword. Walker and Holliday completed doubles, while Ben Falcone, Stimon Mow and livewire fullback Gerard McCallum got tries to complete the second half rout.
Murdock got his second try in the closing minutes to give Windsor something to take out of the match.
The other two matches from this round – Blacktown Workers v St Marys and Cabramatta v Kingsgrove Colts will now be played on the spare weekend of 23/24 July.
Wentworthville’s loss sees Western Suburbs keep sole leadership of the Massey Cup on 20 points ahead of Wentworthville and Mounties on 18 points.
Guildford’s win sees them move to eighth spot for now on 11 points, and Kingsgrove stay at the bottom with just the four competition points.
Play returns to a full round this weekend with three matches on Saturday and three games on Sunday. St Marys resume after a three-week break to take on Mounties on Saturday at the recovered Aubrey Keech Reserve in the clear Match Of The Round.
Triple H FM continue to have footy covered this weekend.
Firstly, talk show “View From The Hill” tackles all League issues on Saturday at midday.
Then on Sunday, it’s back to Sydney Shield with the coverage of the Belrose Eagles v Hills District Bulls clash from Lionel Watts Reserve, Belrose on Sunday at 3pm.
All of the weekend action can be heard on 100.1 FM, via web streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, and via the TuneIn app.