The St Marys Saints maintained their position in the Ron Massey Cup Top Four with an Adrian Davis inspired 40-22 win over the Asquith Magpies in the ‘Match of the Round’ at Storey Park last Sunday.
The classy half scored the opening try with a superb solo effort in the sixth minute to get the Saints going at six-nil with his conversion, and had a hand in two other tries in the seven tries to four win.
Davis also landed six goals from seven attempts with the boot for a personal tally of 16 points.
Alex Nichols-O’Neill replied for the Magpies with a brilliant finish of his own in the 10th minute for his 20th try for the season to level scores with Adam Kalcina’s conversion at six apiece, but that was as close as Asquith got all day.
Saints winger Chris Aunese-Scanlan got his first try in the 16th minute for 12-6 with Davis’ conversion, before former Penrith NRL star Nathan Smith finished off work started by Davis and continued by hooker Cam Collins to stroll over under the posts in the 30th minute for 18-6 with Davis’ successful conversion.
Asquith fullback Jack Hawkins finished off a neat left sided blind side movement four minutes from half time to get Asquith back to within shouting distance at 18-10 down at the break.
St Marys then re-established their authority just three minutes into the second half when a superbly weighted pin point cross kick by Davis wide out to the left saw Aunese-Scanlan score his second try to extend the Saints’ lead to 24-10 with another successful Davis conversion, before interchange hooker Blake South burrowed over from dummy half to almost have the match won at 30-10 with Davis’ fifth successful conversion 15 minutes into the second stanza.
Asquith mounted one of their almost patented second half Storey Park comebacks when Nicholls-O’Neill finished off quick passing from Kalcina to score his 21st try for the year in the corner, before Kalcina finished off another right side raid to bring the scores back to 30-22 with 10 minutes left.
Then the Saints put the game to bed when former Penrith and Wests Tigers NRL centre Geoff Daniela scored in the right corner despite claims that the last pass was suspect with six minutes left for 34-22, before his centre partner Ray Lesoa strolled through some tired defence with two minutes left to seal a win with Davis’ last conversion.
It was a loss that saw Asquith cling to eight spot, before dropping out of the Top Eight later in the week thanks to results elsewhere.
Concord-Burwood kept the pressure on St Marys for a Top Four spot when they held off a fast finishing Blacktown Workers 36-28 in a fiery clash at Laybutt Sports Fields last Saturday.
In a match marred by a nasty brawl during the match, the Workers exploded out of the blocks with three early tries to hooker Dean Parata, winger Falcon Peni and former Mounties backrower Kurt Horton inside the first 15 minutes to give the home side an early 14-nil lead.
Then it was the Wolves turn to turn on their attack when they got their hands on some football. Winger Sami Latu got Concord-Burwood’s first try in the 18th minute – this started a burst of four tries in the back end of the first half.
Powerhouse bench forward Tifa Iuta bagged a double in 9 minutes late in the half to erase the deficit and give the Wolves a 16-14 lead with conversions from Jackson Garlick and Scott Williams, before Latu got his second try on the stroke of half time to give the visitors a shock 22-14 lead at the break with another Williams conversion.
The Wolves then opened up their match winning lead in the first part of the second half.
Centre Joe Uluibau finished off a movement in the corner three minutes into the second half for 26-14. Then Iuta completed a remarkable hat trick of tries five minutes later.
When North Sydney Bears Intrust Super Premiership NSW squad member Riley Travers split the defence to score with 20 minutes left, the successful Williams conversion had the Wolves out to a 36-14 lead.
The game Workers outfit then mounted their comeback in the last 20 minutes with the returning trio of Matt Place, Jerry Key and Marli Sini using their experience from their match for Manly in the ISP against Newcaslte three days earlier to good effect.
Former Wentworthville fullback Henry Raiwalui competed a double in the space of three minutes to get the Workers back to 36-24 down with 15 minutes left.
The Wolves did enough to hold out the Workers in the closing stages – with Key getting the consolation try for Blacktown in the last minute.
The loss makes the job of the Workers no that much harder to make the playoffs.
Defending Premiers Mounties had to work hard for 50 odd minutes before coming away to beat a gallant Windsor Wolves 40-16 at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday to keep their place in the Top Four safe.
Windsor – taking heart from the performance of their Sydney Shield clubmates earlier in the day - matched strides with the Mulga in the first half at least.
After NRL reality show Rookie finalist Jordan Martin got Mounties first try early for a 6-nil lead following Jake Walsh’s conversion, Windsor came back hard with tries from hooker Kain Howarth and interchange player Tupou Sopoaga to keep the Wolves in the match after Zac Mackay converted Sopoaga’s try.
Mounties ensured they led at half time with tries to winger Finlay Dibley – his 12th for the season – and second rower Sonny Bristow for the Mulga to have a 14-10 lead at the break.
The class of Mounties then told in the second half.
Prop Royce Hunt crashed over from close range to extend the lead, before Martin got his second try to give him 16 majors for the season.
Second rower Steve Tavita got a second half double to but the result beyond doubt, before Bristow completed his double in the closing stages to complete the 40-16 result.
Wolves half Tori Willie got Windsor’s only second half try which was converted by Mackay to give the final score some respectability for the visitors.
Wentworthville maintained their position at the top of the Massey Cup table with a 74-nil hiding of the hapless Kingsgrove Colts at Hurstville Oval last Saturday.
In the first of three tough matches in seven days for the Colts, Wenty established a match winning 30-nil lead at half time before applying the blowtorch in the second half.
The Magpies got a welcome boost to their for and against percentages by scoring 13 tries to nil against the outclassed Colts outfit.
Half Jack Madden got a hat trick of tries for Wenty, while Roydon Gillett, Will Roper, Lindon McGrady all picked up two tries each.
McGrady landed 11 conversion from 13 attempts to go with his two tries to give him a personal tally of 30 points for the match.
Kingsgrove’s tough week continued when the Cabramatta Two Blues moved into the Top Eight with a 40-16 win over the Colts in the catch up game played in wet, rainy condidtions at New Era Stadium on Wednesday night.
After Zac Cardassilaris put the Colts into a shock early 6-nil lead with a good try in the eighth minutes which was converted by Jake Steadman, it was all the Two Blues for close to the rest of the night.
However, torrential rain showers and a slippery surface made things hard for Cabra in the first half and this ensured that the Colts were still in the game at half time.
Two Blues hooker Tom Harris burrowed over from close range to get Cabra on level terms with Ernest Alo’s conversion.
Then Cabra winger Brent Anderson competed his hat trick of tries – his first two coming in 15th and 25th minutes respectively to give the home side a 16-6 half time lead.
It took a long time for the Two Blues to gain the upper hand in the second stanza in the face of gutsy Colts defence.
Eventually Cabra took 15 minutes of the second half to extend their lead with Anderson completing his hat trick to set up the match for the home side at 22-6 with Jake Jackson’s conversion.
Then the Two Blues broke open the Colts resistance with tries to five eighth Corey Makelim, prop Harrison Muller and centre Chris Faaee in the space of 8 minutes to blow the lead out to 40-6 with all three tries converted.
The Colts were rewarded for their persistence with the last word of the night – with a consolation try to half Ben Marschke with seven minutes left, before Nathan Clarke got the last try of the night in the final minute for Steadman to convert and close the scoring at a respectable 40-16.
Wests, Guildford, Hills District Bulls, Auburn Warriors and Cabramatta all enjoyed byes over the weekend to ensure that all teams will have at least two byes in the regular season.
Wentworthville lead the table over Wests with a far superior percentage even though the two teams oare both level on 30 points. Mounties are third on 28, with St Marys rounding out the Top Four back on 22 with their second bye of the season this weekend.
Then the logjam for places in the bottom half of the eight with five points separating seven teams from fifth to 11th – setting up a grand stand finish to the final month of the regular season.
Cabramatta’s win on Wednesday night moves them into the critical eighth place on percentage ahead of Asquith with both teams on 18 points. The 2015 Grand Finalists are now in ninth spot on the ladder and have a tough draw in the last month of the season.
The run home starts with a return to a full round of matches this weekend – with two matches on Saturday and four matches on Sunday.
Every match in the round has a bearing on the makeup of the Top Four and Top Eight. The pick of the games being the Auburn Warriors v Mounties clash at Lidcombe Oval and the Concord-Burwood v Guildford match up at Goddard Park – both set down for Sunday after the late change of the Auburn v Mounties fixture from Saturday to Sunday.
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, the HHH League team cover the vital Sydney Shield match between the Belrose Eagles and the Guildford Owls at 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.