The Asquith Magpies stormed back into the Ron Massey Cup Top Eight with a gutsy 21-8 win over Wentworthville Magpies in a ‘battle of the birds’ at Ringrose Park, Wentworthville last Sunday.
The loss was enough for Wenty to drop back to second place on the Ron Massey Cup table.
In a tense first half based on bone jarring defence, Asquith started aggressively and were rewarded when half back Nathan Rumsby scored his first try for the club in the 26th minute. Adam Kalcina converted to give Asquith a 6-nil lead.
Winger Luke Hanson then scored his first try for the club since his mid-season signing out of retirement five minutes from half time to give the Magpies a hard fought 10-nil lead at the break.
When Hanson bagged a second try nine minutes into the second half, Asquith looked to be in control with a 14-nil lead.
Wentworthville then fought back hard.
Winger David Sisifa finished off a backline movement in the corner in the 53rd minute to get Wentworthville on the board at 14-4.
Then centre finished off another break to score to set up a grandstand finish at 14-8 with 10 minutes to play.
Former London Broncos and Scottish international Ben Fisher then calmly snapped a field goal from close range with four minutes left to give the Magpies a seven-point cushion.
In the final minute, Magpies winger Alex Nicholls-O’Neill sealed victory with his 22nd try of the season for Fisher to convert as the final bell rang to close out the four tries to two win.
Western Suburbs to took advantage of Wenty’s slip up to move back to the top of the Ron Massey Cup table with a 64-8 romp over the Kingsgrove Colts at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday.
In a match where the Magpies were sloppy at times in possession, Wests blew the Colts away when they did have the football to have a match winning 38-4 lead at half time.
The Magpies were not headed from the time that skipper Shannon Gallant opened the scoring in Wests’ first set of the match inside 90 seconds for a 6-nil lead with his own conversion.
Centre Inno Inosesio bagged a double inside 20 minutes, centre Tana Mapasone, winger Tom Capper and hooker Dayne Craig all scored inside half an hour, and Gallant completed his double by half time to set up the commanding lead.
Colts centre Ofa Felila got the Colts reply in the shadows of half time to get the Colts on the board before the break.
When backrower David Harris, winger John Tohi and interchange prop Tom Grealy all got tries inside the first 10 minutes of the second stanza, Wests threatened to rack up a real percentage boost with a 54-4 lead and more than half an hour to play.
The Colts then held tough in defence and Wests became sloppy in their possession which led to the tries being contained.
Harris eventually got his second try in the 64th minute to send the lead out to 58-4, before the Colts were rewarded for their second half efforts when second rower Mark Ataya posted their second try nine minutes from time.
Wests had the last word when prop Hala Masila backed up a Mapasone break to score with two minutes left. Gallant converted to close out the sscoring at 64-8.
Gallant finished with a personal tally of 24 points thanks to eight goals from 12 attempts in combination with his two tries to bring up his 200 points for the season in Ron Massey Cup play.
The Windsor Wolves threw a curve ball into the troubled Blacktown Workers’ Finals hopes with a thrilling 26-22 upset win at Warragamba Sports Ground last Saturday.
A fired up Windsor – who are out of finals contention – took it right up to the more fancied Wolves who were reeling from their controversial Sydney Shield forfeit earlier in the day, and the late change of venue after the Windsor Sports Ground was unfit for play after rain in the week leading up to the match.
The Wolves were rewarded for their aggression with the first four tries of the match in the first half to set the Workers back on their heels.
Wolves interchange player Danyon Barnes opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before stand in half Tori Willie extended the lead with a superb try in the 13th minute.
When second rower Jordan Stratton finished off a movement to get the Wolves’ third try, Kain Howarth’s conversion gave the Wolves a shock 14-nil lead after just 20 minutes.
Blacktown replied when winger Falcon Peni got the Workers on the board with their first try nine minutes before the break for 14-6 with Blake Goodman’s conversion.
Windsor winger Riki Willie then finished off a left side movement in the shadows of half time for Goodman to convert from touch to give the Wolves a handsome 20-6 half time lead.
The Workers then mounted a second half revival to match any comeback seen in the Ron Massey Cup this season.
First fullback Henry Raiwalui scored eight minutes into the second half to get the Workers going at 20-12 with Goodman’s conversion.
As intermittent rain and wind lashed across the ground over the next 20 minutes, the Workers ground their way back further when hooker Dean Parata burrowed over from close range after sustained attack to get Blacktown back to within two points with Goodman’s conversion.
When returning Manly Intrust Super Premiership winger Marli Sini brilliantly finished a sweeping movement in the next set of tackles from the restart, the Workers had hit the front at 22-20 with 10 minutes left.
However – as has been the case too many times this year – Blacktown once again could not close out a win when leading into the closing stages.
This time, Windsor five eighth Jaydan Wharerau crashed over when the Wolves finally got deep inside Blacktown territory with five minutes left to put the home side back in front. James Goring’s conversion gave Windsor a 26-22 lead.
Despite the Workers throwing everything at the Wolves in the closing minutes, Windsor held on to record just their fourth win for the Ron Massey Cup season – and put Blacktown’s finals chances in jeopardy.
Incredibly, the Workers have now lost six games by four points or less this season – with five of those losses occurring when Blacktown have led going into the last five minutes.
Concord-Burwood maintained their hopes of a Top Four finish when they outlasted Guildford 26-18 at Goddard Park last Sunday.
In a tight match that see-sawed all day, the Wolves started well when second rower Jack Siejka got his first try to open the scoring in the 10th minute. Scott Williams converted to give the Wolves a 6-nil lead.
Guildford hooker Alec Bush replied in the 18th minute with a close range try to level scores with Mason Farrell’s conversion.
Former Cronulla triallist Cameron Eyles then finished off a well worked move down the left five minutes later to score for the Wolves in the corner.
Williams converted from wide out to give Concord-Burwood a 12-6 lead which they held up to the half time break despite both sides having chances leading up to the interval.
Wolves winger Sami Latu extended the Wolves lead with a brilliant try to start the second half, before the match became another long arm wrestle.
Siejka finished off more Wolves pressure 16 minutes into the second half with his second try to give the home side an almost match winning 24-6 lead with Willliams’ fourth conversion.
Guildford second rower Jarred Farlow then kept the Owls in the match when he scored after a Wolves turnover from the restart to bring the scores back to 24-12 with Farrell’s conversion.
However, the Wolves’ defence held on in the closing stages – only allowing stand in Guildford centre Aaron Pene to cross in the back end of the game for Farrell to convert.
Williams landed a late penalty goal to make sure of the Wolves victory – and also gave the second rower five goals from five attempts with the boot.
The Hills District Bulls burst back into finals calcualtions with a resounding 52-4 thrashing of a disappointing Cabramatta Two Blues at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday.
The gamble of Bulls coaches Mark Mahoney and Paul Griffin to drop Lebanese international James Boustani back to Sydney Shield and pair up fellow Cedars half James Wehbe with youngster Nick Holliday in the halves paid maximum dividends as the Bulls turned on close to their best attacking display of the season.
Wehbe opened the scoring in the eighth minute to set the Bulls on their way for a 6-nil lead with his own conversion.
This started an attacking blitz that saw the Bulls pile on four tries in 10 minutes in the middle of the half to stun a Two Blues side that clearly felt the pinch of playing a second game in four days after their win over Kingsgrove the previous Wednesday Night.
Winger Devon Makoare-Boyce bagged the first two of his three tries in this period, whilst centre Edric Holmes and Ron Massey Representative fullback Gerard McCallum posted majors to have the Bulls ahead of the clock with a 28-nil lead after just 24 minutes.
Two Blues centre Isaac Montgomery got Cabra on the board with a try late in the half to have the Bulls in front 28-4 at the break.
The Bulls then went right on with the job in the second half with four more converted tries whilst keeping the Two Blues scoreless in the second stanza.
Holmes completed his double just four minutes into the second half to snuff out any hopes of a comeback at 34-4 with Whebe’s conversion.
Then the procession continued with McCallum completing his double, Makoare-Boyce completing his hat trick with 15 minutes left, and skipper Tim Robinson getting his try to put an exclamation mark on the win with nine minutes to play.
Wehbe landed eight goals from nine attempts to go with his try to give him a personal tally of 20 points.
Finally, defending Premiers Mounties sent out yet another ominous warning to the rest of the Ron Massey Cup for the upcoming finals series with a 56-6 thrashing of forth placed Auburn Warriors at Lidcombe Oval last Sunday.
Versatile utility player Mitch Beggs got the Mulga going with the opening try in the fifth minute for a 6-nil lead with Jake Walsh’s conversion.
Centre Paul Simona then bagged the first two of his three tries, and promoted winger Maiko Sivo – on the back of 31 tries in Sydney Shield this season – got his first try in Ron Massey Cup to give Mounties a 20-nil lead after 30 minutes.
Warriors prop Brandon Luamanu got the home side’s only try in the first stanza with three minutes left in the half to cut the Mounties lead to 20-6 at the break with Brendan Cox’s conversion.
The opening try of the second half from interchange Mounties forward Sage Wilder to extend the Mulga lead to 26-6 was the signal to start a Mounties procession.
Not even the presence of 167 game NRL veteran Matt Utai in the centres in place of Addison Demetriou was enough to stop Mounties pour on six unanswered second half tries and blow the Warriors away.
Beggs and Sivo completed their doubles, Simona completed his hat trick in the 59th minute and opposite centre Wayne Dargan joined in the party with a neat try of his own down the right hand attacking edge.
After Sivo’s second try brought up the Mulga’s 50 with seven minutes to play, tearaway Mounties winger Finlay Dibley finished the job in style with a try in the final minute that Walsh converted to close out the match at 56-6.
Walsh finished with eight goals from 10 attempts with the boot.
Wests’ win sees them move back to the top of the table on 32 points, with Mounties’ (30) superior percentage seeing them move past Wentworthville (also on 30) into second spot.
St Marys’ bye sees them hold down in the m place on 24 points – ahead of a pack that shows little sign of breaking up in the last month of the regular season.
Six points separate seven teams from fifth placed Concord-Burwood to 11th placed Blacktown Workers in what is still a grandstand finish to the regular season.
Only Windsor (12) and Kingsgrove Colts (6) are out of finals contention, meaning that once again every game of the six scheduled matches this weekend – four on Saturday and two on Sunday – will have a bearing on the makeup of the Top Eight.
Three of the Saturday games – Wests v Asquith at Lidcombe, St Marys v Wentworthville at St Marys and the desperate Blacktown clash with Auburn Warriors at Laybutt Fields – are all worthy of top billing for the weekend.
Radio HHH FM again comes to the fore with their coverage of grass roots league this weekend. The hard hitting League show “A View From The Hill” starts the weekend on Saturday at Midday. Then on Sunday, the HHH League Team is once again at North Sydney Oval for the Sydney Shield game between the Peninsula Seagulls and Hills District Bulls at 1pm, followed by the critical Intrust Super Premiership NSW game between the North Sydney Bears and the Illawarra Cutters at 3pm. All the weekend action can be caught on either 100.1FM, or via Web Streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au, or via the Radio TuneIn App.