Defending premiers Mounties again established themselves as the yardstick team in the Ron Massey Cup with a 44-16 humbling of the St Marys Saints in the Match Of The Round at Aubrey Keech Reserve, Hinchinbrook last Saturday.
For the second successive week, the Mulga put class opposition to the sword after a relatively tight first half.
The Saints went with the defending premiers for 50 minutes as the home side only led 20-12 at half-time.
Wingers Finlay Dibley and Jordan Martin along with class five-eighth Chad Porter got tries for Mounties in the first half, while Saints wingers Chris Aunese-Scanlan and Luke Nadurutalo got converted tries to keep St Marys in the game in the first 40 minutes.
However, just like last week against Wentworthville, the Mulga stepped up a gear after half-time and the Saints could not go with the defending premiers in the second stanza.
Dibley and Porter completed doubles, while Mitch Beggs and Steve Tavita also scored tries as Mounties completed an eight tries to three win.
Maurice Kennedy kicked six goals from eight attempts in a welcome return to Massey Cup play after making way for Sam Williams in Mounties’ Intrust Super Premiership team across town against Manly.
A try to Alex Nicholls-O’Neill and conversion by Mark Daoud in the final minute saw the Asquith Magpies’ steal a heartstopping 24-22 win over Blacktown Workers at Laybutt Sports Fields, Blacktown last Saturday.
After a tight first 15 minutes, Andrew Cartisano opened the scoring for the Workers in the 17th minute before Asquith fullback Nicholls-O’Neill got the Magpies’ – and his – first try for the game in the 20th minute for Asquith’s only first half points.
The Workers then extended their lead when quality ex-Wenty fullback Henry Raiwalui scored five minutes from half-time to hold a handsome 12-4 lead at the break. Kurt Horton converted both Workers’ first half tries.
Asquith then came out on fire to start the second half. Five minutes into the second stanza tyro winger Hugh Tomkins burst through the left side defence to score and reduce the Workers lead to 12-8.
Then Asquith hit the front for the first time in the 49th minute when Jeco Makatoa posted his first try with another left side bust to send Asquith to a 14-12 lead after Cameron Yeats’ conversion.
The lead then swapped four more times in a pulsating last 30 minutes as one side then the other looked to be gaining the upper hand.
After Blacktown regained the lead in the 55th minute when Matt Place scored for Horton to convert, Makatoa got his second try to level the scores at 18-all with 20 minutes to go after the attempted conversion hit an upright.
After the Magpies threw everything at the Workers with a mountain of possession for the next 15 minutes, the home side responded with Cartisano bagging his second try at the end of a superb long range movement to hit the front at 22-18 with just over five minutes to play.
However – as has been the case too often this season – just as Blacktown looked home, they were on the wrong end of yet another last minute ‘miracle’.
One last desperate Asquith attack saw Nicholls-O’Neill score his second try with just over a minute to play to level the scores. It was Nicholls-O’Neill’s 14th try of the season – which puts him at the top of the Ron Massey Cup try scorer’s list.
Lebanese international Daoud converted to put the Magpies in front, and Asquith held on in the last minute to once again break Blacktown hearts.
It was the fifth time the Workers have lost by four points or less – with four of those losses in the last minute of play in what is now already looming as a season of missed opportunities.
Hills District Bulls jumped back into the Massey Cup Top Eight with a dominant 26-10 win over a disappointing Concord-Burwood Wolves in wet conditions at Goddard Park last Sunday.
With class half James Boustani running the show in his best performance of an injury riddled year to date and Ben Falcone scoring two tries, the Bulls posted back to back wins for the first time this season.
The Bulls forwards were tireless led by veteran Mick Hawkings and skipper Tim Robinson up front in standing up to the bigger Wolves pack in the torrential rain that lashed Sydney during the day, giving Boustani time and space to get the better of Marc Russell in the battle of the halves.
The Bulls scored five tries to two in their convincing win, with Boustani landing a perfect five goals from five attempts with the boot in the heavy conditions.
Stimon Mow and Dave Baumann got the Bulls other majors, while Rodney Mason and Sami Latu got tries for the beaten Wolves.
Western Suburbs maintained sole leadership of the Massey Cup with a grinding 14-nil shut out of the Windsor Wolves in atrocious conditions at Windsor Sports Complex last Sunday.
Drenched by over five hours of incessant rain – and a Sydney Shield match – before kick-off, the ground resembled a wrestling mud pit between the 30 metre lines through the middle corridor in a throw back to quagmire conditions of yesteryear.
Both sides opted for strong kicking safety first games in the conditions – with the Magpies taking a 2-nil half-time lead courtesy of a Shannon Gallant penalty goal in the 26th minute. Windsor turning down a kickable penalty late in the half to run the ball – only to see a David Harris intercept snuff out the play.
The conditions ensured that poor handling restricted scoring opportunities in the second half – and the Magpies made the most of theirs with backrower Jackson Williams scoring a double to secure a Wests’ win.
Williams first pounced on a Brendan Waters grubber that stopped dead in goal and fooled the Wolves cover in the 55th minute, before loping giraffe like down the blind side to score in the corner for his second try two minutes later.
Gallant converted both tries to extend the lead to 14-nil – a lead that the Magpies comfortably held in the conditions in the final 20 scoreless minutes.
The Guildford Owls made light work of an undermanned Kingsgrove Colts to win 42-nil in the other game of the round at McCredie Park played during last Sunday’s ‘big wet’.
With the Colts again having problems juggling commitments between their Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Combined A Grade teams – with a core of players forced to play in both competitions – embarrassing scenes were on show for those who braved the rain at McCredie Park.
The Colts only started with 10 players against the Owls – with reportedly three players making a mad dash from Campbelltown’s Waminda Oval after appearing to have played in the Colts’ SCC A Grade match earlier in the day against East Campbelltown’s reserve grade squad (to the Eagles’ Sydney Shield team) that had a 1:00pm kick-off.
Guildford duly racked up a 30-nil half-time lead against their outnumbered and outclassed opposition.
The torrential rain and atrocious handling conditions slowed the Owls down in the second half – but Guidlford still coasted to a third successive win to keep their place in the Massey Cup Top Eight.
Winger Leslie Ngaulafe bagged a hat trick in Guildford’s eight tries to nil shut out of the embarrassing Colts.
The Auburn v Wentworthville match at Lidcombe Oval set down for last Saturday was postponed on Friday of last week after surface water from recent rains and a poor weather forecast for the weekend forced Warriors officials into the postponement.
The match is yet to be rescheduled as the logical spare weekend of July 23/24 presents problems for Wentworthville.
The Magpies are providing coach Chris Yates and are expected to provide a number of players to the still un-named Ron Massey Cup representative team that take on the Queensland Rangers at the Gold Coast’s Pizzey Park on Sunday July 24.
Cabramatta had the bye and avoided the weekend’s ‘big wet’ with their two competition points.
Wests maintain the Massey Cup lead on 22 points, with Mounties moving into second after their win on 20 with Wentworthville’s postponement pushing them back to third on 18.
The bottom half of the Top Eight has tightened up with five teams separated by just three points. The Colts are still a clear last on just their four competition points.
Weather permitting, a full round is set down for this weekend – with four games on Saturday and two games on Sunday.
The two stand out games both involve a set of Magpies. First, Wests take on Concord-Burwood in the match of the round on Saturday as part of the “Return To Lidcombe” old boys day for the proud Western Suburbs club.
Then on Sunday at Storey Park the 2015 Ron Massey Cup Grand Finalists – Mounties and Asquith – square off for the first and only time this year in the regular season since they played each other in the decider at Parramatta’s Pirtek Stadium last September.
Triple H FM has another big weekend of coverage lined up this weekend.
First, hard hitting talk program “View From The Hill” talks all things league from midday on Saturday.
Then on Sunday from Storey Park, Triple H covers both big games between Asquith and the high flying Mounties. The Sydney Shield starts the day at 1pm, with the Ron Massey Cup re-match of the 2015 Grand Final kicking off at 3pm.
All coverage on Saturday and Sunday can be heard on 100.1FM, via live streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, and via the radio TuneIn app.