Western Suburbs overcame a spirited second half comeback by the Guildford Owls to win their Ron Massey Cup match of the round 42-26 at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.
The Magpies shrugged off their loss to Blacktown Workers the previous week to overcome the Owls and stay on top of the Massey Cup table.
Wests started strongly in opening the scoring in only the third minute when Josh Davis took a Jay Bonnell bomb to score. Shannon Gallant converted and Wests were off to the perfect start leading six-nil.
Mason Farrell set up the Guildford reply when he sent Harmony Hunt over to score in the 10th minute for 6-4.
The class of Wests key spine players Dayne Craig and Brendan Waters then came to the fore over the next 10 or so minutes. First, half Waters stepped through what seemed the entire Owls defensive line to score is eighth try of the season.
Then Craig burrowed over from dummy half in the 26th minute to extend Wests’ lead to 16-4 with Gallant’s conversion from wide out.
Guildford’s hopes then almost went up in smoke when Magpies centre Tala Mapesone pulled off a one man strip from the re-start, before dashing 65 metres to score.
Improving Wests lock Jackson Williams burst through poor Ows defence to score Wests’ fifth try for the first half to move the scores out to 26-4 with Gallant’s conversion.
Owls interchange hooker Tyrone Shelley fed off a Lopeti Wolfgramm pass to score right on half time and for Farrell to convert - to at least get the Owls up to double figures by the interval at only 26-10 down at the break.
Despite all the possession at the start of the second stanza against them, Wests scored first after half time when Waters bagged his second try from a David Harris break. Gallant converted and Wests looked to be in control at 32-10 to the good.
Then came the Guildford comeback. The Owls best passage of play for the match saw the visitors score three tries in 12 minutes to get right back into the match.
First, Shelley bagged his second try from dummy half in the 51st minute. Then Farrell scored a superb individual try before winger Leslie Ngaluafe finished off a left sided movement in the corner in the 63rd minute for Farrell to convert from touch.
Suddenly it was game on with the Magpies only leading 32-26 with plenty of time left on the clock – and the Owls seemingly having the momentum.
Workaholic Harris was rewarded for his work in defence when he came up the critical try in the 68th minute to give the Magpies breathing space at 36-26.
Winger Charlie Taylor finally secured the two competition points for the Magpies when he charged down a kick in the last minute to pounce on the ball and score. Gallant converted to close out the win.
Defending Premiers Mounties sent Concord-Burwood crashing out of the Top Four when the Mulga came away in the second half to dispose of the undermanned Wolves 44-18 at Goddard Park last Sunday.
The match was tight for the first half hour as the Wolves – with only three fresh reserves and a 16 man rotation due to injuries and unavailabilities - stood up to the Mulga in both attack and defence in the early exchanges.
After classy half Chad Porter opened the scoring in the fifth minute to give Mounties the lead, the arm wrestle between the two biggest forward packs in the Massey Cup took centre stage for the next 15 to 20 minutes.
Wolves prop Inoke Vunipola barged over from close range to get the home side on the board and level at six apiece after Blake Nicholls converted. .
Mounties then exerted their authority for the rest of the half once they put enough football together.
Mulga centre Paul Simona started the comeback with the same with a neat try in the 20th minute to give the Mulga back the lead.
Then, second rowers Steve Tavita and Sonny Bristow each scored tries on the end of powerful leadup and go forward to give the Mulga a handy 22-6 half time lead.
The Wolves again started strongly with winger Cameron Eyles diving over in the corner to bring the Wolves back to 22-10.
Mounties then steadied again when firstly winger – and NRL Rookie candidate – Jordan Martin finished off a sweeping movement in the opposite corner, before centre Wayne Dargan crossed to see the Mulga almost out of sight at 34-10 in front,
Wolves hooker Tjaden McLean got the first of two late for Concord-Burwood to bring the score back to 34-14 with 20 minutes left on the clock – still giving the Wolves some hope of a miracle.
The class of the Mulga then told against the 16 man Wolves rotation in the final 20 minutes,
Interchange gun Mitch Beggs crossed to seal the win at 38-14, before Martin completed his double in the last 10 minutes to make sure of the win at 44-14 with another Porter conversion.
The Auburn Warriors moved into the Top Four in place of Concord-Burwood with a 42-16 win over the hapless Windsor Wolves at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday.
The Warriors got off to an incredible start when they regathered the ball at a Wolves error at the kickoff, then winger Sean-Paul Fenukitau finished off a movement from the second tackle of the match to score. The Warrriors were up six-nil with inside 2 minutes with Addison Demetriou’s conversion.
From this point, the Warriors were never headed.
Backrower Hala Akauola Laula scored and lock Will Mitchell scored tries each inside the first 20 minutes, before talisman centre Demetriou got his now customary try and Fenukitau completed his double by half time for the Warriors to lead 24-nil at the break.
Incredibly, the Warriors then completed the rare feat of scoring in the first set of tackles from the kickoff in each half.
This time flying winger Ben Dakuwaqa - fresh from a hat trick in Sydney Shield the previous week - got on the end of a sweeping movement in an early tackle from the kickoff and dashed 75 metres to score his 14th try of the season.
The try was converted to kill off any hopes of a Wolves comeback at 30-nil.
From here, the Warriors almost ‘put the cue in the rack’ as they went into coast mode.
In taking the foot off the throttle, this allowed the Wolves to get back into the match – at least on the scoreboard – when centre James Goring replied almost immediately to Dakuwaqa’s try for 30-4.
This was followed by further tries midway through the half to prop Wellington Albert and to winger Zac Mackay in the space of 4 minutes to get the Wolves back to 30-16 after Mackay converted both tries to raise hopes of a miracle comeback.
The Warriors then shut the door firmly in the Wolves’ faces when second rower Richard Coorey scored from close range to increase the lead to 36-16 with Dakuwaqa converting the try.
The flying Dakuwaqa then ensured that the Warriors finished with the last word when he completed his second try – and his 15th for the season – in the final minute. Dakuwaqa converted for good measure to complete the scoring and send the Warriors into the Massey Cup Top Four.
The Wentworthville Magpies maintained second spot on the Massey Cup ladder with a high scoring 40-26 win over the Cabramatta Two Blues at New Era Stadium last Saturday Night.
The Magpies were never headed after they scored in the opening two minutes when Blake Cook finished off a movement wide out for Dave Sisifa to convert and Wenty to lead 6-nil.
After Two Blues centre Isaac Montgomery replied for Cabra in the sixth minute for 6-4, the Magpies then flexed their muscle in no uncertain terms.
The Magpies posted four tries in 11 minutes against poor Cabramatta defence.
First centre Ethan Tangira crossed after an attacking raid down the right. Then winger Will Roper finished off another right side movement to score, before Tangira completed a double as Wenty continued to go down their right side attacking channel with almost perfect results.
When Magpies five eighth Jack Madden scored 14 minutes from the break, Roper converted to give Wenty a commanding 24-4 lead.
Cabra interchange forward Kenny Niko converted the small amount of football that fell Cabra’s way late in the first half when he scored for Jake Jackson to convert and Wenty to lead 24-10 at the break.
Fired up by coach Eddie Flahey at half time – and with their tragically injured former clubmate Kurt Drysdale still in the stands as a source of inspiration – Cabramatta came out on fire to start the second half.
When five eighth Corey Makelim finished off a Two Blues attack in the first set of six of the second half to score, Cabra started to believe that they could comeback for their fallen former clubmate at 24-16 down with Jackson’s conversion.
Wenty then took advantage of Cabra turnovers to put the Two Blues again to the sword. Half Lindon McGrady crossed wide out after a Two Blues turnover, before Tangira completed his hat trick of tries to have the Magpies 34-16 in front 11 minutes into the second half.
To their credit, Cabra kept trying persisting and were rewarded when young centre Chris Faaee finished off a movement in the corner after a Wenty turnover midway through the second half for 34-20.
After a grinding passage of play for the next 10 minutes, Niko gave Cabra a real chance to pull off the grandstand finish when he scored his second try with nine minutes left to get Cabra back to 34-26 following Jackson’s conversion.
However, more Cabra turnovers opened the door for Wenty to steady one last time.
This the Magpies did to a tee when Sisifa made the most of those turnovers to score the winning try with five minutes left, Roper converted to close out the scoring. Wenty then ran down the clock to the finish line to secure their win.
The Blacktown Workers stormed back into the Top Eight with a 30-18 win over the Hills District Bulls at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday.
With both sides desperate to get back into the Eight, the match started in a tense and conservative fashion for nearly the first 20 minutes,
It was the home side that opened the scoring when winger Devon Makoare-Boyce crossed in the 18th minute to give the Bulls a 6-nil lead after James Boustani’s conversion.
Then the Workers exploded into a point scoring frenzy – scoring the next 30 points and five tries unanswered to stun the Bulls and their large crowd of supporters into silence.
First, Sene Tala got the Workers’ first try in the 27th minute for Blake Goodman to convert and level the scores.
Then former Mounties backrower Kurt Horton bagged a double in the space of four minutes late in the half to put the Bulls to the sword. Both tries were converted by Goodman to shoot the Workers out to an 18-6 lead in the twinkling of an eye.
Goodman than landed a penalty goal as the half time siren was sounding to have the Workers leading 20-6 at the break.
New Windsor recruit Marli Sini then extended the Blacktown lead seven minutes into the second half for 24-6, before centre partner Josh Fraser finished off another sweeping backline movement to have the Workers out to a match winning 30-6 lead after Goodman landed his fifth goal from six attempts.
Hooker Lionel O’Mally gave the Bull Pit faithful something to cheer about when he crossed from dummy half near the posts for James Wehbe to convert to bring the scores back to 30-12 with 14 minutes left.
Try as they might, the Bulls could not crack the Workers defensive line despite having more than their share of ball in the closing stages.
The Bulls did get one last consolation try when wide running back rower Dave Baumann scored with four minutes left. Wehbe’s conversion closed the scoring at 30-18, and the Workers easily ran down the clock to make sure of their win.
Finally, St Marys consolidated their place in the Top Eight with a 58-6 hiding of the Kingsgrove Colts at St Marys Leagues Stadium last Sunday.
The Saints were never in danger of defeat against the wooden spoon favourites from the time giant winger Luke Nadurutalo opened the scoring in the sixth minute.
Antonio Pelesasa, Sonny Tuigamala, Chris Aunese-Scanlan, Lakehm Aiono and Veta Lilomaiava all scored first half tries to give the Saints an unbeatable 34-nil half time lead.
The Saints did their best to keep up with the clock in the second half as well.
After fullback Alan Eisenhuth scored early in the second stanza, and centre John Tuliatu bagged a double in the space of five minutes midway through the second half, the Saints led 52-nil after just 60 minutes of play.
Naturally, the effort did tell on the Saints and they slowed down in the last 20 minutes. Indeed, the Colts got their consolation try to winger Charmoon Tumupu nine minutes from the end to at least get on the scoreboard.
Tom Eisenhuth completed the scoring with the Saint’s 10th try with seven minutes to play to complete the scoring at 58-6 with the Tuliatu conversion.
Asquith enjoyed their second bye for the season and the two competition points that came with it.
Wests still lead the Massey Cup table on 26 points, ahead of Wentworthville and Mounties on 24.
The logjam behind the Top Three is still there to make for an exciting last couple of months of the regular season.
Just five competition points separates fourth placed Auburn Warriors (19 points) and 11th placed Cabramatta (14 points) – with a number of those teams with washed out games in hand.
With the Ron Massey Cup Representative Team taking on the strong Queensland Rangers Representative Team at Pizzey Park in Queensland this Sunday, the first of those catch up matches will be played across the next few days.
Firstly, in a real “battle of the Blue Mountains”, Blacktown Workers take on St Marys in what should be another cracking game at Laybutt Sports Fields on Saturday at 3:00pm.
Then, next Wednesday Night July 27, the Auburn Warriors take on the Wentworthville Magpies at Lidcombe Oval at 7:15pm.
The Concord-Burwood v Auburn Warriors match set down for Lidcombe Oval on Thursday Night has been postponed for a second time after Lidcombe Oval was declared unfit for play following recent rains.
The second re-scheduling is yet to be announced by the NSW Rugby League.
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 later on Saturday at 3pm, it’s the last Intrust Super Premiership NSW “Northern Derby” as we know it between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the North Sydney Bears from Brookvale Oval. Finally, on Sunday, the HHH League team travel to Waminda Oval, Campbelltown for the Sydney Shield ‘Battle of the Birds’ between the East Campbelltown Eagles and the Belrose Eagles from 2:30pm. All 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.