The Belrose Eagles shrugged off not having played for a month to play the role of party pooper with their 28-20 win over Western Suburbs in front a large crowd of Wests' supporters at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday.
After a scoreless first quarter of the game in fine but cold and windy conditions, Belrose eventually were rewarded for their early dominant field position when back rower Adam Saunders fed off a James Mortimer short ball to crash over under the posts. Mortimer converted for 6-nil Belrose lead.
Wests replied when winger Jack Pearce finished off a neat movement in left corner for 6-4, before Belrose centre Marvin Slavin bagged two tries in six minutes - both from breaks down the Eagles' right hand side in attack.
Mortimer nailed both conversions in the windy conditions for Belrose to skip away to an 18-4 lead.
Wests got a try in the shadows of half-time when prop Billy Tsikrikas capitalized from a cheap Belrose turnover to crash over under the posts for Hosea Leuea to convert for the Magpies to be only 18-10 down at the break and with the big south-westerly behind them in the second half.
A superbly worked try to winger Blake Nichols down the left extended the Belrose lead to 22-10 five minutes into the second half.
Eagles fullback Christian Bate capped off a strong game with a superb 50-metre solo try under the posts through almost the teeth of the Wests defence in the 56th minute to give Belrose a match winning 28-10 lead with Mortimer's conversion.
The Magpies then came storming back with 2 tries in 3 minutes – first to Kelsey Coakes after concerted pressure with nine minutes left, then to centre partner Tony Tali three minutes later on the next set from the restart – to bring the scores back to 28-20 after Leuea’s conversion with 6 minutes left.
The late comeback brought to life the large 1000 - 1100 crowd of Wests supporters that had now rolled up to celebrate the Wests Back to Lidcombe day - and mingle with the likes of Roy Masters, Noel Kelly, Bob Cooper, John Dorahy, Paul Merlo, Bruce the Bruiser Clark, and Jim Leis amongst others.
However, Wests turned the ball over one last time in the closing stages when on attack - allowing Belrose to run down the clock and seal their win.
The Peninsula Seagulls maintained their place in 2nd spot on the Sydney Shield ladder with a convincing 38-6 win over the Blacktown Workers in their return to Lake Park last Saturday evening.
With the best defensive display they have put together this season, the Seagulls held their own up front against the bigger Workers pack before their brilliant backs - as has been the cas so often in their 3 seasons of existence - were far too quick for their opposite numbers out wide.
The Seagulls also had to overcome the last minute unavailability of workaholic back rower Todd Wilson due to work commitments.
After a tight first 10 minutes, 18-year-old five-eighth Jack Johns opened the scoring in the 13th minute for 6-nil with Luke Martin's conversion.
The Seagulls then slowly but surely ground down the Workers. Nick Grant completed a movement in the 17th minute for 12-nil with Martin's conversion, before Jake Gearin made a welcome return to the scorer's sheet from dummy half in the 23rd minute for 18-nil with another Martin conversion.
Blacktown got their reward for hard work n attack with a converted try John Leapai to get the scores back to 18-6, before the Seagulls effectively won the match with two tries in the last five minutes of the first half.
Late replacement Jarrod See scored for 22-6, before centre Matt Kelly finished off a movement out wide with 90 seconds left in the half for the Seagulls to take a commanding 26-6 lead at the break.
As the sun set and the weather got appreciably colder under the Lake Park lights in the second half, the game got rather scrappy with both sides making more than their fair share of mistakes.
Eventually popular winger Richie Goodwin celebrated his 50th game in Seagulls colours with a good try in the 63rd minute to seal the win at 32-6 with Martin's conversion.
Then in the last minute, Jake Pickering capped off a strong game with his 13th try of the season for Goodwin to bring the house down with his conversion (his first goal for the Seagulls) to mark his Game No. 50 to wrap up a pleasing 38-6 win.
St Marys maintained their position in the Top Four with a 46-32 win over Auburn Warriors at St Marys Leagues Stadium last Saturday.
Like a majority of Shield matches this year, the match was a try fest where defence at times when out the window.
Both sides went try for try for duration of the first half after Warriors half Josh Farrant opened the scoring in the fifth minute to give the visitors the lead for the only time in the match.
St Marys edged ahead 20-16 at half-time with a converted try to Reupena Tuigamala in the shadows of the break from close range which Saints half Jake Butfield converted.
After the Warriors regained a 22-20 lead through a converted Jade Anderson try five minutes into the second half, St Marys busted the match wide open in their favour with a four tries burst in 11 minutes midway through the second stanza.
Jamon Wormleaton scored the first of his double, Tuliatu completed his brace, while Robbie Graham and Lakehm Aiono got the other tries in the match winning blitz – which saw St Marys open up a 40-22 lead with 20 minutes left.
The Warriors came back with two more tries when Anotnio Soni scored and Anderson completed his double, before Wormleaton completed his brace with six minutes left to finally seal the issue.
The Guildford Owls got back to the winners list with a 41-28 win over Cabramatta at New Era Stadium last Saturday evening.
In yet another high scoring affair, both sides also went try for try in the first half with Brody Hawkins bagging a first half hat trick for the Two Blues to counter early strikes by Anthony Layoun-Nohr, Jarrad Petero and Josh Maree for the Owls.
With scores locked at 16-all just before the half-time, the Owls came up with a vital try to Blake Ashmore from close range in the last 60 seconds of the half to lead 22-16 at the break.
Guidlford then scored in the first 90 seconds of the second half when Shane Hunt finished off a sweeping movement to score for a 28-16 lead, and again with Layoun-Nohr completed his double five minutes into the second half to give the Owls breathing space at 34-16 with Maree’s conversion.
The Two Blues had chances in the next 15 minutes – but could only convert one of them when Jordan Bichan crossed to bring the scores back to 34-22 with Jake Webb’s third goal from four attempts.
Owls half Todd Spienza finally secured the two points in the 65th minute to extend the lead to 40-22 after Maree’s sixth goal from seven attempts.
Hawkins completed a stand out performance in a losing side with his fourth try seven minutes from the end, before Layoun-Nohr snapped a neat field goal from 15 metres out to complete the scoring with just over two minutes to play.
The Windsor Wolves scored the upset of the weekend by putting defending premiers Wentworthville to the sword 28-12 at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
After Jesse Maxwell-Offen opened the scoring for the Magpies in the fourth minute, the Wolves then struck back in a sign of things to come in the second stanza.
Michael Compton and Lachlan Jackson scored tries for the Wolves to take a shock 12-six lead inside the half hour mark. Regan Rona finished of a sweeping backline movement to level the scores at 12-all at half-time following Kamren Cryer’s conversion.
In easily the Wolves’ best defensive display of the season – and close to their best overall performance of the year – the visitors kept the Magpies scoreless in a second half shut out.
Helped by some poor ball handling and completions by Wentworthville, the Wolves took the lead when Jackson completed his double in the 55th minute.
Then Luke Atchison and Joe Pelasio scored the two Wolves tries in five minutes that allowed the visitors to open up their match winning 28-12 lead with 10 minutes left.
Windsor then safely ran down the clock to haold off the disappointing Magpies in the closing stage to record their second win against Top Eight opposition in successive weeks.
A remarkable second half by East Campbelltown saw the Eagles overpower Hills District Bulls 34-14 at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday.
In the ultimate game of two halves, the first half was all the Bulls as the home side controlled play nicely in the stand alone fixture to dominate lead 14-nil after 32 minutes.
With tries to Nick Betar, Bevan De Vries and hooker Jaz Flavell on his return to Sydney Shield, the Crestwood Bull Pit were on good terms with themselves.
However, the first of two tries to Tyrone Taylor-Sweeney in the shadows of half-time to bring the scores back to 14-six at the break with Ed Connor’s conversion was the warning shot across the bow of what was to come.
In a superb second half, the Eagles scored six unanswered tries against the stunned Bulls to win going away in emphatic fashion.
Tyrone-Sweeney bagged his second try seven minutes into the second spell to start the rot.
Then a double from Michael Stevens, and further tries to Connor, Chris Vaituua and Mason Talolua in the last two minutes saw the Eagles complete their winning 34 points without response to signal that they were getting back to their best form – especially with class fullback Ben Baker returning to the Eagles side playing in the centres.
Finally, competition leaders Mounties extended their winning streak to 12 wins on end as they easily accounted for bottom placed Asquith 66-nil at Storey Park last Sunday.
However, the battling Magpies Sydney Shield side – that saw coach Ina Papera put the boots on himself to play to ensure a competitive match after the sides’ recent well documented problems – made more than a good fist of the contest.
After early tries to Jake Horton and Shannon Chapman gave Mounties a 12-nil lead after 12 minutes, Asquith more than held their own in defence and had some attacking chances of their own.
However, a turnover by comeback five-eighth Ben Shaw with a minute to play in the first half opened the door for Brad Speechley to run the ball on the last play of the half.
He found Horton who exploded away on a 50 metre burst to score his second try for the day and 18th for the season to give Mounties a 16-nil half-time lead.
When Phoenix Vaiotu strolled through feeble defence two minutes into the second half to make it 22-nl with Horton;s conversion, Asquith’s spirit was broken.
The competition leaders then went into overdrive in the second period - scoring another eight majors in the last 38 minutes in what at times looked like a contact training session.
Maika Sivo scored a double to post his 20th and 21st tries for the season, centre Fou Tagiilima bagged a brace, Wayne Dargan nabbed a hat trick of tries of the interchange bench in the space of 12 minutes midway through the half, and stand in five-eighth Maile Li got the last try eight minutes from time to complete the rout.
Horton booted nine goals from 12 attempts to go with his two tries to finish with a personal tally of 26 points – taking his total for the year to date to an incredible 244 points in just 14 games played – just over a lazy 17 points a game on average.
Mounties maintained their six point lead on the field with their win at Storey Park, with the Seagulls still in second on percentages ahead of St Marys, with Belrose’s win and Wentworthville’s loss seeing the Eagles move back into the top four on percentages.
Asquith are still winless at the bottom of the table with 13 straight losses from 13 starts – 12 on the field and the one forfeit against Guildford.
There is another full round set down for this weekend – with two matches on Saturday and five games on Sunday.
The three most attractive matches of the round see Peninsula Seagulls take on East Campbelltown at Lake Park and Guildford clashing with St Marys at McCredie Park on Sunday – while Wests are the next team to take on the Mounties juggernaut at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday.
Triple H FM has another bumper coverage this weekend.
First, the league talk show “View From The Hill” comes live from Storey Park on Saturday at midday as the lead in to the live coverage of the Asquith v Cabramatta matches later in the day - the Sydney Shield game at 1pm, followed by the Ron Massey Cup game at 3pm.
Then on Sunday, HHH League goes back to Lionel Watts Reserve for the Sydney Shield clash between Belrose and Windsor from 3pm.
Tune in to all the weekend action at either 100.1FM, or via live web streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, or via the radio TuneIn app.