A try to young five eighth Anthony Layoun-Nohr with under 90 seconds remaining saw the Guildford Owls snatch a 38-36 win over defending Sydney Shield Premiers Wentworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
In a 14 try shootout – seven tries each – it was a grandstand finish of two tries in the last three minutes that saw the Owls send the Magpies crashing to their third straight loss.
The match started with a flurry of tries in the first 20 minutes and stayed that way throughout – Shane Hunt got the first of his double for Guildford, whilst Kamren Cryer replied for Wenty to level the scores.
Jeremy King then regained the lead for the Owls with a try converted by Josh Maree, only for Wenty to level again when Jenan Parrish scored and Kamren Cryer converted after 20 minutes.
The Owls then dominated the back end of the first half. Shane Hunt completed his double and Amanaki Manu crossed in the shadows of half time to give Guildford a handy 22-10 half time lead.
Fired up by coach Alex Chan at the break, the Magpies came out on fire to start the second half. Winger Kilive Cocavucavu finished off superb backline moves to score a double in the first 10 minutes of the second stanza to get Wenty back to within two points, before Caleb Hunt crashed over from close range after sustained Owls build up to again extend the Owls lead to 28-20 15 minutes into the second half.
Wenty then upped the ante and scored three tries in the space of 10 minutes to give the Magpies the lead for the first time in the match.
Doug Faaiu scored to get Wenty within striking distance, then Cryer completed his double from the set of tackles from the restart to put the home side in front for the first time with his conversion.
When five eighth Jayson Lombardo scored with seven minutes left, Cryer’s conversion gave the Magpies what appeared to be a match winning 36-28 lead with time in Wenty’s favour.
Not to be denied, the Owls threw caution to the wind in the last five minutes. Maree crossed with three minutes left and converted to give Guildford hope at 36-34, before one last desperate attack from the restart set saw Layoun-Nohr finish a sweeping movement with 90 seconds left in the corner.
Maree missed the conversion, but Guildford held on from the short Wenty restart on the full time siren to secure a remarkable win.
Competition leaders Mounties extended their winning streak to 14 straight wins – but had to work harder than they have had to in recent weeks – in beating Hills District Bulls 32-12 at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Sunday.
After the match was transferred to Aubrey Keech when Crestwood Reserve was closed on Saturday, it appeared business as usual when Mounties centre Fou Tagiilima opened the scoring in the fifth minute to open up a six-nil lead with Jake Horton’s conversion.
Spirited defence by the Bulls and some poor finishing by the Mulga then saw the home side have to work harder for their tries than in recent weeks. Half Brad Speechley got his first try in the 23rd minute for 12-nil with Horton’s conversion.
Then lock Sage Wilder scored a key try with three minutes left in the half to have Mountes take an 18-nil lead to the break after Horton landed the conversion.
When Speechley completed his double four minutes into the second half and Horton landed his fourth conversion from as many attempts, it appeared that Mounties were about to turn on another point scoring clinic with a 24-nil lead.
The Bulls to ther credit came back hard. They were rewarded with the first try conceded by the Mulga in 211 minutes of play over the previous three weeks when five eighth Sean Walpole scored for Hayden McWilliam to covert.
Then midway through the second half, McWilliam scored a brilliant counter attacking try to convert himself. Suddenly the Bulls were in with a shout of the upset at 24-12.
A turnover from the restart set after McWilliam’s try killed off those hopes. Leading Sydney Shield try scorer Maiko Sivo made the Bulls pay when he finished off a move from the turnover to score his 26th try for the season to extend the Mulga’s lead to 28-12.
Shannon Chapman then put the game to bed with a try with 10 minutes left for the final 32-12 scoreline.
Mounties could not break out as the Bulls made sure they held firm in the closing stages.
Belrose kept their place in the Top 4 with a stylish 48-18 win over the Auburn Warriors in an entertaining game at Lionel Watts Reserve last Sunday.
With both sides taking the opportunity to reshuffle their teams after their respective feeder teams (i.e. Concord-Burwood for Belrose and Auburn's own Massey Team) had their Ron Massey Cup match washed out and called off 24 hours earlier, the higher quality of player certainly added to the spectacle.
Auburn played 35 year old Matt Utai - who played the last of his 167 NRL games across 2 clubs for the Wests Tigers in 2013 - in the centres. The Warriors moved Utai up from the Warriors' local Sydney Combined A Grade side (who are runaway leaders of that competition) to boost the team as well.
By his lofty standards Utai had a quiet game as he didn't see a lot of the ball
Man Mountain Junior Rika - who terrorised Belrose for Wentworthville in their classic Sydney Shield battles in 2013 - turned out for Belrose as part of the Concord-Burwood arrangement. And it didn't take long for Rika to make an impact.
He tipped on an off load for fullback Christian Bate to score in the 5th minute, barrelled defenders out of the way to send away winger Charles Butrose in the 9th minute, and scored himself through 3 defenders using his giant frame in the 14th minute to get Belrose on their way with a 16-6 lead after 20 minutes.
The sheer speed of Ben Dakuwaqa - dropped back from Ron Massey Cup where he is that competition's 2nd leading try scorer with 13 majors there - was the reply in kind for the Warriors.
The way he just burnt off Bate for the replying try on a 75 metre break in the 10th minute had to be seen to be believed.
Bate got his second try through soft defence before Rika got his 2nd try right on half time to blow the Belrose lead out to 28-12 at the break.
Dakuwaqa completed his double after finishing off a close range movement just before Rika's 2nd try to keep the Warriors in the game.
Sunia Bukalidi - another drop back from Concord/Burwood's Ron Massey Cup team - extended the Belrose lead four minutes into the 2nd half.
However, Dakuwaqa's hat trick try five minutes later - another 65 metre effort where he again burnt off Bate after being shown the sideline by the Belrose fullback - again raised hopes of a Warriors comeback.
But stand in half Blake Nichols - who had a top game in the absence of the injured James Mortimer - pounced on a grubber from makeshift halves partner Shem Greive to kill the comeback hopes at 38-18.
Butrose completed his double before backrower Beau Abrahams finished off a Nichols face ball to put the icing on the cake in the last 5 minutes.
East Campbelltown consolidated their position in the Top Eight when they held off a fast finishing Windsor Wolves 26-22 at Waminda Oval last Sunday.
With 2015 Sydney Shield player of the Year Ben Baker back at his favoured position at fullback, the Eagles started well when Baker scored in the 24th minute on the way to the Eagles leading 18-6 at half time.
Jacob Sionepeni scored Windsor’s only try in the first half.
Flying Windsor winger Shaun Fitzgerald scored seven minutes into the second half to reduce the lead to 18-10 and get the Wolves back into the contest.
Two tries to Eagles five eighth Chris Standing then opened the game right up in the middle stages fo the second half – extending the Eagles’ lead to 26-10.
As they did against Belrose the previous week, Windsor came home with two late tries in the final 10 minutes – to Aaron Farkas with nine minutes left and then hooker Luke Atchison with six minutes left – to give the Wolves the chance of another late comeback miracle.
East Campbelltown held on in defence in the final five minutes to get the two competition points.
Blacktown Workers continued their improved late season form when they annihilated Western Suburbs 62-16 at Laybutt Sports Fields last Saturday.
Taking advantage of an undermanned Magpies bench, Omar Zehbe opened the scoring in the second minute to set the Workers on their way.
The Workers then put the hapless Magpies to the sword in the first half – Kiilifi Tia Kiilifi bagged his first try before Daniel Cassone scored in the 10th minute and Blake Goodman cruised over under the posts in the 17th minute to have Blacktown up 22-nil with Alex Sieni’s conversion.
Wests got on the board when Jarden Sajnovic ran off a Tom Grealy offload in the 24th minute, before the Workers extended the lead to almost put the game out of sight at half time.
Winger Andrew Cartisano finished off a neat movement in the corner, Max Napa strolled over off a short pass and Sieni took advantage of a bouncing ball from a bomb to send the home side to a commanding 38-6 lead at the break.
Mike Filimona and Daniel Parker scored converted tries in the first five minutes after half time to post the half century and put the game to bed at 50-6.
Blacktown then coasted home as Wests were reduced to no fresh reserves in the last 25 minutes.
Seini and Tia Kiilifi completed their doubles in the closing stages – Seini finishing with a personal tally of 26 points landing 9 goals from 11 attempts to go with his two tries – while Kelsey Coakes and Grealy got late consolation tries for the Magpies to make the score remotely respectable.
St Marys consolidated their position in the Top Four with an easy 48-12 win over Cabramatta at New Era Stadium last Sunday.
Two Blues prop Tim Jones got the home side off to a great start with the first try in the fifth minute. It was the only time Cabra led in the match.
Jake Butfield got a quick reply for the Saints before the dynamic Toomalatai brothers took charge for the visitors on the back of groundwork laid by coach Luke Swain in his 3rd game of a comeback to the Saints starting lineup from retirement.
Centre John Tuliatu scored from a Urima Toomalatai break to score in the 21st minute, before Urima scored himself 10 minutes later, and Gordon followed up with his try five minutes out from half time.
When young five eighth Jonah Metuangaro crossed for a superb try on the stroke of half time, St Marys were out to a 26-4 lead.
Saints prop Melbourne Tapau ensured there was to be no Cabra comeback when he barged over from close range five minutes into the second half to extend the St Marys lead to 32-4 with Metuangaro’s conversion.
St Marys then threatened to turn the match into a total rout when Peter Scanlan and Urima Toomalatai’s second try blew the score out to 42-4 with still 20 minutes to play.
Cabra then took some pride back with late tries to prop Taione Ravumaidama and winger Brent Castle with five minutes left to get Cabra back to double figures at 42-12.
Saints stalwart prop Jared Canon then finished the game off for the visitors with the last try in the final minute.
Finally, the Peninsula Seagulls maintained their place in 2nd spot on the Sydney Shield ladder with a comfortable enough 10 try 52-nil exercise workout over the Asquith Magpies at North Sydney Oval last Saturday morning.
It took a long time for the Seagulls to get into the game in the early exchanges as again Asquith - revived with some spirit despite only having two fresh reserves and a 15 man rotation - competed for long periods in the first half.
After centre Jerrod See opened the scoring in the seventh minute, it took a long time for the Seagulls to not only score their second try, but to get on top of Asquith who had chances of their own in the first 25 minutes.
Eventually, See got his second try after a long Todd Wilson break in the 26th minute to get the Seagulls into double figures, before winger Jeremy Marshall and class fullback Jake Pickering scored in the last eight minutes of the half to blow the score out to a flattering 22-nil at half time.
The Seagulls slowly steadied after See completed his hat trick of tries five minutes into the 2nd half for 26-nil.
However having suffered an injury to Corey Selwyn that dropped their stocks back to just one fresh reserve for the last 25 minutes, it was only a matter of time before Asquith ran out of puff – and the Seagulls took full advantage.
The Seagulls extended the lead when Richie Goodwin finished off a Pickering led move in the corner for 32-nil with Nick Grant's conversion, before the Seagulls scored four tries in the last 12 minutes against an exhausted Magpies outfit to blow the score out.
See completed a remarkable for fourth try with 12 minutes left, before former Asquith forward David Ryan continued the Magpies misery with 10 minutes left with a fairly soft try from close range for 42-nil.
Skipper Jake Gearin finished off a strong game when he supported a long Pickering break with five minutes left, before 18 year old five eighth Jack Johns finished a strong game of his own when he followed a Gearin break from the restart in the last minute to score under the posts. Knox Time converted to close out the match at 52-nil.
This weekend sees another full round of matches with three matches on Saturday ad four matches on Sunday.
The Top Four sides play each other in the two standout games – both on Sunday.
Mounties take on the only side to beat them this year when they play Belrose at Lionel Watts, while St Marys play the Peninsula Seagulls in the battle for 2nd spot on the ladder at St Marys Leagues Stadium.
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.