Two converted tries in the last 10 minutes saw the Blacktown Workers topple Ron Massey Cup leaders Western Suburbs 32-30 in the upset of the round at Laybutt Sports Fields last Saturday.
The win kept the Workers’ hopes of making the Top Eight well and truly alive in a welcome change of luck for a side that have had four heartbreaking last minute losses this season.
The Workers showed they were up for the contest early when former Wentworthville fullback Henry Raiwalui backed up Dean Parata break to open the scoring in the sixth minute.
David Harris replied for the Magpies from a Brendan Waters pass, before the Workers re-took the lead after winger Falcon Peni finished a backline movement in the corner.
Raiwalui plucked a bomb above the pack to score his second try in the 22nd minute to extend the Workers’ lead to 16-6 with Kurt Horton’s conversion
Wests struck back four minutes later Inno Innosesio followed up a Hala Masila break and Waters kick to score – making the scores 16-12 at half time with Shannon Gallant’s conversion.
Mid season recruit Marli Sini extended the Workers’ lead early in the seoncd half when he was first to a bouncing ball from an in goal grubber kick and the Workers looked the goods at 20-12.
The Magpies then really came to life with three converted tries in fifteen minutes.
A long Waters break allowed the classy half to send skipper Gallant over, before Paul Roberts dashed 70 metres to score a brilliant individual try in the set from the restart to put the Magpies back in front.
When winger Josh Davis dashed over off another Waters pass, the Magpies looked to be going away at 30-20 in front with 10 minutes left.
The Workers were not to be denied. Working to position, a bomb saw Raiwalui tap on for Matt Place to score under the posts with nine minutes left to bring Blacktown back to a four point margin.
With under four minutes left lock Josh Tangitau burst clear to outpace Gallant to level the scores, and Horton’s conversion put the Workers back in front in sight of the finish line.
The Workers then hung on in the closing stages to finally win a close game and move back into finals contention.
The Wentworthville Magpies moved to within two points of Wests at the top of the table with a thrilling 19-16 win over the Guildford Owls at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
In a match where most of the points came in the first half, Dan Howard go the Magpies going in the seventh minute with the opening try.
This was countered by the first of Harmony Hunt’s two tries for the Owls in the 12th minute to give the Owls the led at 6-4 after Mason Farrell’s conversion.
Wenty then dominated the next 20 minutes. Half Zac Nicholls regained the lead for the Magpies with a clever try in the 15th minute for 10-6 with David Sisifa’s conversion.
Nicholls then potted a field goal in the 27th minute to extend the lead to 11-6, before backrower Matt Douglas charged over wide out eight minutes from half time to extend the lead to 15-6.
Hunt scored a brilliant second try in the shadows of half time to bring the Owls back to 15-12 down at the break after Farrell’s second conversion.
The second half became a real arm wrestle after Wenty winger Will Roper finished off a backline movement in the corner for 19-12.
Backup hooker Tyrone Shelley got over from close range mid way through the second half to again get the Owls within striking distance.
Neither side could score in the thrilling last 15 minutes. Both sides had ample chances but could not convert as scrambling defence won the day – especially from the Magpies as they held on to finish Guildford’s five match winning streak.
Mounties maintained touch with Wests and Wentworthville in the Top Four with a 34-22 win over the Hills District Bulls at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Sunday.
After the match was transferred from Crestwood Reserve when the Bulls’ home ground was closed last Saturday, centre Allen Mulia Malau got the Mulga away in the fourth minute with the opening try.
The first half was a tough contest after Mulia Malau’s try until Mounties backrower Sonny Bristow crossed for returning half Chad Porter to convert and extend the lead to 10-nil.
Edric Holmes got the badly needed Bulls reply with a well worked backline move for 10-4, before the Mulga got the vital try in the shadows of half time when centre Paul Simona scored for Porter to convert, and Mounties to take a 16-4 lead to the break.
With their spot in the Top Eight on the line, the Bulls came out firing to start the second half.
Two brilliant tries to fullback Gerard McCallum – both converted by half James Boustani - levelled up scores at 16-all 10 minutes into the second half and suddenly it was game on.
The class of the defending Premiers then came to the fore.
Making the most of a Bulls turnover, backrower Steve Tavita put Mounties back in front, before interchange hooker/forward Mitch Beggs finished off a movement from close range to extend the lead to 28-16 after Porter converted both tries.
The Bulls were game and came back one last time when rangy back rower Dave Baumann crashed over out wide with 10 minutes left to bring the scores back to 28-22 with Boustani’s conversion.
The Bulls had chances in the final 10 minutes, but Mounties sealed the deal when Bristow scored his second try with three minutes left. Porter’s conversion made sure of the Mulga win to send the Bulls out of the Top Eight.
St Marys took the Bulls place back in the Top 8 with a resounding 52-22 thrashing of Cabramatta at New Era Stadium last Sunday evening in the late twilight game.
The match was a contest early after giant Saints winger Luke Nadurutalo opened the scoring in the fourth minute for Adrian Davis to convert and St Marys to lead 6-nil.
Cabramatta made a real fist of the next 20 minutes and came up with two tries of the match through giant prop Siupeli Huihahau and half Ray Alo to lead 12-4 after 20 minutes.
Then the Davis led Saints cut loose.
A try to nippy five eighth Sam Jones signalled the start of a remarkable burst in the last 20 minutes of the first half that virtually won the game for Saints by half time.
Jones’ try was the first of five tries in 18 minutes – including four in seven minutes late in the half.
Hooker Cam Collins started the rout in the 33rd minute, before Davis, ex Penrith and Wests Tigers NRL centre Geoff Daniela and Nadurutalo with his second, buried the Two Blues at the end fo the half to see the Saints lead 34-12 at half time.
St Marys then started the second half the same way they finished the first – Veta Lilimaiava got the Saints going with his try four minutes after the interval to bring up the 40 points for the Saints with Davis’ conversion.
Then a double to centre Ray Lesoa through token defence midway through the half snuffed out any chance of a Two Blues comeback at 48-12 with 23 minutes left.
Cabramatta did come back when they finally got some football with consolation tries to giant forward Taku Simon and winger Luke Lavender to make the score a little more respectable at 48-22 after Alo converted Simon’s try.
The Saints then put the icing on the cake when winger Chris Aunese-Scanlon scored the last try of the match with six minutes left to finish the match at 52-22.
Finally, the Asquith Magpies moved back into the Top Eight at Cabramatta’s expense when they disposed of bottom placed Kingsgrove Colts 34-6 at Norford Park, Sefton last Sunday.
In an unconvincing display, Mark Daoud opened the scoring in the first minute to give the Magpies a four-nil lead – but Asquith had to work from that point onwards against a Colts side that would not go away.
Brilliant Asquith fullback/winger Alex Nicholls-O’Neill completed a hat trick of tries either side of half time to make sure that the Magpies were never in danger of defeat.
O’Neill now has 19 tries for the season to stay on top of the Ron Massey Cup try scorers’ list. Adam Kalcina and Brad Wall got Asquith’s other tries, while Daniel Arahu got the Colts only try which he converted.
The Concord-Burwood match against the Auburn Warriors was postponed after Burwood Council declared Goddard Park unsafe and closed the ground on the Saturday, while the Windsor Wolves had the bye.
Wests’ lead at the top of the Massey Cup table has been cut to just two points from Wentworthville and Mounties, with a log jam of teams behind the top three after the weekend’s results and washout.
Eight teams are separated by just four points in a real dogfight for the other spots in the Top Eight. The Colts are still last on the table with six points.
Another full round of matches is scheduled for this weekend – with three matches on Saturday and three matches on Sunday.
The Wests match with Guildford match at Campbelltown Stadium is the best of the Saturday games - while the pick of the Sunday action sees Concord-Burwood clash with Mounties at Goddard Park, while Blacktown Workers play Hills District Bulls in a Top Eight showdown at Crestwood Reserve.
Triple H FM continues its live footy coverage this weekend.
First on Saturday, it’s the return of the hard hitting talk show “A View From The Hill” from midday to 1pm.
Then on Sunday, Triple H League travel to North Sydney Oval for a special double header.
First the Asquith Magpies play the East Campbelltown Eagles at 1pm, before the Frank Hyde Memorial Shield game in the Intrust Super Premiership between the North Sydney Bears and the Newtown Jets at 3pm.
The weekend action can be heard on 100.1FM, on the internet via Web Streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, or through the Radio TuneIn app.