The Asquith Magpies finally broke through for their first victory for the 2016 season with a dramatic 28-24 win over the Cabramatta Two Blues at Storey Park last Saturday.
In a match that ebbed and flowed, the much maligned and criticised Magpies outlasted the Two Blues with a storming second half finish.
After a tight if not error-riddled opening period, Cabramatta prop George Vujanovic opened the scoring in the 15th minute before Magpies skipper Shae Jarvis levelled the scores following a Two Blues turnover from the restart set two minutes later.
Then Cabramatta made the most of their chances with quick tries to centre Jamie Harrison and lock Brent Castle in the last three minutes of the half to take an 18-6 lead into the break after Brody Hawkins converted both tries.
After creating chances in the early part of the second half, Asquith struck back when prop Jamin Stankovic barged over from close range.
Then Jarvis – playing the game of his life at hooker – scored a superb 55-metre solo try from dummy half through the teeth of the Cabramatta defence to bring the Magpies back to 18-16 with plenty of time to play after Aaron Papera’s conversion.
The Two Blues looked again to have established a winning lead when fullback Kyle Glen took advantage of an Asquith error from the restart to score on the ensuing set for 24-16 with Hawkins’ conversion.
However, Asquith were not to be denied.
Coach Ina Papera – having put the boots on to come off the bench – charged over through three Cabramatta defenders to put Asquith within striking distance.
Then on the back of great go forward by the pack, fullback Andy Oughtred finished off a sweeping support movement with three minutes left to give the Magpies the lead in a match for the first time this season. Jarvis converted and Asquith led 28-24.
The home side held on for the win in the closing stages – and jubilant scenes akin to winning Grand Finals broke out at the final siren.
The Peninsula Seagulls maintained their place in 2nd spot on the Sydney Shield ladder with an entertaining 42-34 win over East Campbelltown at Lake Park last Sunday.
In what was a 15-try feast, the Seagulls jumped out to an early 10-nil lead after 13 minutes with two early tries to workaholic backrower Todd Wilson.
Just as the Seagulls looked to be on their way, East Campbelltown struck back hard
2015 Sydney Shield player of the year Ben Baker signalled his return from injury with the first two of his three tries, before centre Amamono Tovio scored a superb hat-trick in the space of nine minutes with a combination of superb attack and poor Seagulls goal line defence.
In the space of 20 minutes, East Campbelltown went from 10-nil down to 24-10 up.
Seagulls fullback Jake Pickering scored his first try in the shadows of half-time to get the Seagulls back within striking distance at 24-16 at the break with Luke Martin's conversion.
Fired up by a blast from co-coaches Craig Gower and Scott Pethybridge at half-time, the Seagulls won the match with a period of blistering attack - scoring three tries in the first 12 minutes of the second half to go to a 32-24 lead.
Man of the match Pickering's blinding speed from fullback sealed a brilliant hat-trick - his second and third tries were scored in this period to take his tally to 16 tries for the year.
Jarrod See also got in on the act with a try in this period. Centre Knox Time made sure of the win in the 58th minute with a well worked move, and See got his second try with 12 minutes left to extend the match winning lead to 42-24 with Todd Wilson landing his first conversion of the season.
Baker completed his hat-trick – the third of the match – with five minutes left before Eagles winger Fusi Toutai had the last word with the final try with three minutes left to make the final score look closer with Ed Connor’s conversion.
In a grandstand finish, the gutsy Windsor Wolves came from the clouds to score three tries in the last 10 minutes to force a 32-all draw with the Belrose Eagles at Lionel Watts Reserve last Sunday.
Belrose started off well in scoring the first two tries - class fullback Christian Bate's first from a James Mortimer inside pass and Shem Grieve from another Mortimer face ball - to lead 10-nil after as many minutes.
Windsor – on the back of the improved recent form of two wins at their previous two starts – were quick to strike back.
Backrower Mitch Kenny got the Wolves on the board in the 18th minute, before hooker Luke Atchison finished a blind side move wide out in the 29th minute to level up at 10-all with Ben Hudd’s conversion.
Belrose winger Blake Nicholls got his first try seven minutes from the break from a well worked move down the left for a Belrose 14-10 lead, before a superb counter attack saw Wolves winger Shaun Fitzgerald dash 70 metres to score and give Windsor a 16-14 half-time lead with another Hudd conversion.
Belrose then controlled possession beautifully for the first 25 minutes of the second half.
This culminated in three sparkling long range tries in 10 minutes midway through the 2nd half.
Nicholls' completed his second try after Wolves winger Zac Ryan dropped a high spiral bomb from Mortimer, then Bate completed his double from a 55 metre sprint before Matt Nugent backed up a 60 metre bust by centre Josese Rika bust inside his own half to give Belrose what seemed to be a match winning 32-16 lead with under 20 minutes left.
However, Mortimer badly tore his right calf muscle when in support for Bate's second try which forced him to leave the field.
Without Mortimer's steadying hand, the Wolves made their decisive come back.
Fitzgerald scored his second try with 10 minutes left, then centre Lachlan Jackson burst 45 metres to score a well worked try with three minutes to play.
Atchison then pulled off the big play of the match from the next set from the restart - a superb 40-20 kick with under two minutes on the clock to give the Wolves one last set in attack.
Half back Kye Hopwood burrowed over from close range at the end of that set to sensationally level the scores.
Hudd had the chance to win the game for Windsor with the touchline conversion after the full-time siren.
However, his kick faded just wide to the left to leave the final scores drawn – the Wolves’ second draw for the Shield season.
Two converted tries in the last 15 minutes ensured that Blacktown Workers pulled off the upset of the round by toppling defending premiers Wentworthville 38-24 at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
The Workers laid the platform for the upset when prop Alan Niulesa opened the scoring in the fourth minute for a 6-nil score with Alex Seini’s conversion.
Then both sides when virtually try for try for the rest of the first half as tries to Harry Lohia, Nat Saofi and Taylor Bennett ensured that the Magpies took a 14-12 lead into the half-time break. Omar Zahabe got the Workers’ other first half try.
After Seini got the first try of the second half to regain the lead for the Workers for 18-14 with Zahabe’s conversion, a thrilling finish was set up by a superb try to Kamren Cryer which he converted before a Seini penalty goal levelled scores at 20-all with 20 minutes to play.
Workers winger Daniel Cassone gave the Workers the decisive lead with a neat try for Seini to convert to give the visitors a 26-20 lead.
Andre Iro replied again for Wentworthville to bring the difference back to two points, but the Workers’ outfit steadied when Zahabe scored with just over 10 minutes left to extend the lead to 32-24 with another Seini conversion.
The Workers sealed their win when hooker Toni Sassine crashed over with three minutes left for Seini to convert and send the defending Premiers crashing to their second straight loss.
The Auburn Warriors dented the Hills District Bulls faint chances of playing finals with a 42-28 win at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday.
The Warriors won yet another high scoring Shield match with an overwhelming period of attack in the first 20 minutes.
After Warriors winger Sebastian Nelson opened the scoring in just the second minute, Bulls centre Edric Holmes replied to level scores at 4-all – that was as close as the home side got for the rest of the match.
Nelson completed his double, while half Josh Farrant and back rower Ben Mitchell got four-pointers as the Warriors exploded out to a 22-4 lead with Eric Ruka converting all three tries.
Bulls Centre Todd Sartor got the Bulls second try in the 24th minute, before a Ruka penalty goal on the stroke of half-time gave the Warriors a 24-8 lead at the break.
The Bulls supporters got into the match when the home side started the second half on fire – scoring two tries in the first five minutes of the second period.
Anthony Overton scored from the first set of six of the second half, before winger Ash Johnson posted his 12th try of the season to bring the Bulls back to 24-18 with Jason Wehbe’s conversion.
However, the Warriors responded immediately from a Bulls turnover when Daniel Petralia scored for Ruka to convert and re-extend the Auburn lead to 30-18.
Two well-worked tries in four minutes – to centre Jake Gleeson and a second try to the livewire Farrant – settled the issue for the Warriors. Ruka converted both tries on the way to seven goals from eight attempts that gave the Warriors a match winning 42-18 lead with just over 10 minutes left.
A second try to Holmes and a converted try to Jordan Tongahai in the last 10 minutes saved some face for the stunned Bulls outfit.
St Marys maintained their position in the top four with a hard fought 28-14 win over Guildford at McCredie Park last Sunday.
Inspired by coach Luke Swain coming out of retirement to play in the second row to boost injury-hit numbers, the Saints got an early lead when centre John Tuliatu opened the scoring with his first try.
Tuliatu completed his double before half-time, while fullback Jarrad Petero and centre Shane Hunt got tries in reply for the Owls to keep the home side in the hunt.
Winger Jake Ennis completed a double for the Saints in the second half – including the last try to secure the two points for the Saints, while opposite winger Peter Scanlan got the other St Marys four-pointer.
Hooker Julian King got the other Guildford try to keep the Owls in the contest before the Ennis double sealed the Saints’ win. Former Penrith Panthers NRL Premiership winner Swain played strongly in the minutes he was on the field.
Finally, Mounties continued their trail of destruction across the Sydney Shield with a remarkable 82-nil annihilation of Western Suburbs at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.
Mounties scored 15 tries in their demolition of the Magpies – with eight tries in the first half for a 42-nil half-time lead, and seven more in the second half for good measure.
Mounties backrower Luke Speechley opened the scoring with two tries from the first three sets of the match to open up a 10-nil lead after four minutes – and from there the match became a procession.
Centre Wayne Dargan had a hat-trick of tries by half-time on his way to four majors, and winger Maiko Sivo completed his hat-trick either side of the break on his way to four tries.
This took the Shield’s leading try scorer to 25 tries for the season in just 15 games played. Jake Horton scored a try and kicked 11 goals from 15 attemtps for a personal tally of 26 points to take his tally to 270 for the season.
Mounties’ trouncing of Wests sees them keep their six point lead at the top of the table from the Seagulls and St Marys, with a further five point gap to Belrose in fourth spot.
Asquith’s win finally opens their account for the year at the bottom of the table on two points – meaning that all teams across the three NSWRL Senior Open Age Competitions will finish with at least one on field win for the season.
This weekend sees another full round of matches with Asquith kicking off the weekend at 11am on Saturday at North Sydney Oval when they take on the Peninsula Seagulls. There is one other match on Saturday, with the five remaining games of the round on Sunday.
The pick of the Sunday action sees Wentworthville playing Guildford at Ringrose Park.
Triple H FM continues with their coverage of grass roots footy this weekend.
Starting with talk program “View From The Hill” at Midday on Saturday, the coverage continues on Sunday – a double header with a difference.
First at 1pm, it’s the replay of the Sydney Shield match played on Saturday at North Sydney Oval between the Asquith Magpies and the Peninsula Seagulls, followed by the LIVE call of the Sydney Shield match between Belrose and the Auburn Warriors from 3pm.
All the weekend coverage can be heard on 100.1 FM, on the web via streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, and on the Radio TuneIn App.