The Hills District Bulls emphatically took the final place in the Ron Massey Cup finals series when they thrashed a woeful Asquith Magpies 66-6 in their do-or-die final round match at Crestwood Reserve, Baulkham Hills last Sunday.
In the match that was a virtual eighth-place playoff, the Bulls were always in control from the time former Magpie Tom Young snatched a one-on-one strip from Asquith half Nathan Rumsby and dashed 50 metres to score the opening try for the Bulls in just the third minute.
As the Asquith forwards were outmuscled by the Bulls’ pack up front, the home side took command of the match as five-eighth Ben Falcone crossed wide out to score in the 12th minute to double the lead to 12-nil with Devon Makoare-Boyce’s second conversion.
The Bulls then converted their dominance to points when fullback Gerard McCallum burrowed through three defenders to score near the posts for an 18-0 lead.
Makoare-Boyce then followed a break from skipper Tim Robinson to score out wide, before centre Ben Vengoa finished another sweeping movement wide out with five minutes left in the first half to give the Bulls a commanding 28-0 lead at the break.
Any hope of a miraculous Asquith comeback was shattered when Bulls backrower David Baumann burst through poor goal-line defence to score just two minutes into the second half to extend the lead to a match winning 34-nil with Makoare-Boyce’s conversion.
Winger Alex Nicholls-O’Neill gave the Magpies their one moment of joy when he burrowed over from close range for his 25th try of the season in the 58th minute to get Asquith on the board at 34-6 with Shae Jarvis’ conversion.
The match then became a procession. Young bagged a second try from a Falcone face ball to start an avalanche of tries in the last 20 minutes.
The Bulls turned the closing stages into a rout with tries to half Nick Holliday (68th minute), powerful winger Aaron Weston (72nd minute), a second try to Falcone (74th), prop Mick Hawkings (77th), and a 70-metre try to Makoare-Boyce on the full time siren for good measure.
Makoare-Boyce finished with a personal tally of 22 points with seven goals from 10 attempts to go with his two tries as the Bulls celebrated making the Massey Cup finals at their first attempt in front of a large crowd of around 500 home fans that turned out.
The Guildford Owls clinched the other place in the playoffs up for grabs last Sunday when they convincingly beat the Auburn Warriors 28-10 at Lidcombe Oval.
Former Cronulla and Wests Tigers NRL half Penani Manumalealii got the Owls going with the opening try in the 10th minute, before centre Josh Camroux extended the lead when he finished a blind side movement in the 16th minute to extend the lead to 10-0.
Owls five-eighth Mason Farrell then landed a penalty goal to give the Owls a 12-nil lead 10 minutes from half time.
The Warriors – struggling to find rhythm in playing their third game in eight days – got their reply when five eighth Daniel Petralia scored eight minutes from half-time to bring the scores back to 12-4, before Owls winger Kelepi Manu finished another backline movement four minutes from half-time to give Guildford a 16-4 lead at the break.
Opposite winger Amanaki Manu dashed any chance of a Warriors comeback five minutes into the second half when he scored for Farrell to convert, before Farrell put the Owls out of sight with a superb try midway through the second half to give Guildford a match winning 28-4 lead after adding the extras for his fourth goal from six attempts.
Warriors winger Abraham El Zakhem got a converted try back for the home side with 18 minutes left to bring the scores back to 28-10, but that was as far as Auburn went.
Guildford then coasted home in the last 15 minutes to secure their finals berth – and a repeat meeting with the Warriors in the first week of the finals.
A four-try performance from NRL Rookie runner-up Jordan Martin spearheaded an historic 34-nil shut out of Blacktown Workers at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday to end the Workers’ finals chances.
Mounties second-rower Rusty Bristow opened the scoring in the sixth minute for a 6-0 lead with Jake Walsh’s conversion.
The Mulga then slowly ground their way on top through the middle before Martin’s class came to the fore later in the half.
Martin got his first try in the 25th minute, before completing his double five minutes later to give the Owls an 18-0 half-time lead after Walsh converted both of Martin’s first half tries.
Martin then completed his hat trick 10 minutes into the second half to extend the lead to 22-0 with Walsh’s conversion, before second-rower Steve Tavita made sure of the Minor Premiership on the next set from the restart to extend the lead to a match winning 28-nil.
The Workers’ season was finished off with Martin’s fourth try with 10 minutes left to close the scoring at 34-0 with Walsh’s last conversion.
The emphatic win completed an historic third Minor Premiership for the Mulga to go along with the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and Sydney Shield Minor Premierships that had already been secured in the last month of the regular season.
It is the first time that the Intrust, Massey and Shield Minor Premierships have been won in the same season by the same Club since the Shield competition commenced in 2012.
Another quality Adrian Davis performance propelled St Marys to a 38-24 win over fellow top four finalists Western Suburbs at Concord Oval last Saturday.
A Davis 40-20 kick in the ninth minute led to Tom Eisenhuth scoring the opening try from the set of six from the ensuing tap kick after Davis gave him the critical pass.
Former Penrith and Wests Tigers NRL centre Geoff Daniela extended the lead four minutes later from a right sided movement to double the lead to 8-0, before prop Jamie Hill crashed over for his first try in the 22nd minute to blow the lead out to 14-0 with Davis’ conversion.
A superb Davis cut out pass sent winger Peter Scanlan away to score in the corner in the 27th minute for 20-nil with Davis landing the extra as the Saints threatened to run riot.
Wests finally got on the board eight minutes from half-time after Hala Masila fed off a Tom Morrison pass to score for Shannon Gallant to convert to bring the score back to 20-6.
Gallant then batted back a bomb four minutes from half-time for Luke Williams to finish off next to the posts to get the Magpies back in the contest at 20-12 at the break with Gallant’s simple conversion.
A Davis cross kick was dropped by Gallant four minutes into the second half allowing Hill to pick up the crumbs and score his second try for 26-12 with Davis’ conversion.
The Magpies came charging back in the middle period of the second stanza – first with Jay Bonnell carrying three defenders over the line at the end of a chain passing movement, before Dayne Craig pushed over from dummy-half from close range to bring the Magpies back to 26-24 with plenty of time left after Gallant converted.
The Saints then steadied when Daniela sent Alan Eisenhuth away to score with 10 minutes left to give St Marys an eight-point cushion at 32-24 after Davis converted.
Sam Jones then sealed the two competition points for the Saints with three minutes left when he scored a superb individual try through some tired Wests defence. Davis converted to close down the 38-24 win.
Cabramatta scored a consolation 16-12 win over Windsor in an injury reduced match played for just 52 minutes at Windsor Sports Complex last Saturday Night.
Cabramatta started off superbly when fullback BJ Nathan opened the scoring in the fourth minute for a Mikaera Ormsby to convert and Cabramatta led 6-0.
Two Blues wingers Luke Lavender and Byron Atapuai then posted a try each for Cabra to lead 16-0 after Ormsby converted Atapuai’s try.
The Wolves then struck back hard in the back end of the first half with tries to skipper Sam Hollis and winger Riki Willie to get the scores back to 16-12 after Jayden Wharerau converted both tries.
The match was poised for a tight finish between two sides that were both out of finals contention before tragedy struck Windsor second rower Jordan Stratton 12 minutes into the second half when he was struck down with an horrific compound fracture of the ankle in a tackle.
This forced the match to be abandoned by agreement between the two clubs after an ambulance took over half an hour to get to the ground before taking more time on arrival to treat the badly injured Stratton.
As part of the agreement to call the game off, the 16-12 scoreline to Cabramatta at the time of the injury stood as the final score to be recorded – giving Cabramatta a hollow victory in their last match of a disappointing season.
Finally, Concord-Burwood got a free two competition points on the last day of the regular season after Kingsgrove Colts forfeited their final round match to the Wolves that was set down for Goddard Park last Sunday.
The Colts lodged their forfeit last Saturday to allow 10 of the Colts players plus coach Joe Ayache to concentrate on the Colts’ Sydney Combined A Grade Grand Final they played last Saturday Night at Kogarah Oval (which the Colts lost to an Auburn Warriors side led by ex-NRL stars Matt Utai and Heka Nanai).
Wentworthville got the final round bye to wrap up third spot on the final table.
Minor Premiers Mounties (36 points), Wests (34), Wentworthville (32) and St Marys (30) wrapped up the top four spots at the end of the regular rounds.
Concord-Burwood (28), Auburn Warriors (25), Guildford (23) and Hills District Bulls (22) rounded out the Top Eight with Asquith (22) missing out on finals football on percentages behind the Bulls.
Blacktown Workers and Cabramatta (20 each) finished next, with Windsor (14) and Kingsgrove Colts (6) finishing at the bottom of the ladder.
The first week of the finals feature some great match ups. Wests and Wentworthville kick off the Finals Series at Windsor Sports Complex on Saturday in the second Qualifying Final, with the other three finals set down for Sunday.
St Marys Leagues Stadium hosts a double header when Auburn Warriors and Guildford meet again for the second week in a row at 2pm in the second Elimination Final before Concord-Burwood take on Hills District Bulls in the first Elimination Final at 4pm.
Minor Premiers Mounties play St Marys in the first Qualifying Final at Campbelltown Stadium on Sunday at 4pm to round out the first week of finals action.
Radio HHH FM again comes to the fore with the start of their Finals Series coverage 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 heads to Campbelltown Stadium for an action packed triple header.
Sunday’s coverage starts with the Sydney Shield Qualifying Finals between the Peninsula Seagulls and St Marys at Midday, followed by the Mounties clash with Belrose at 2pm.
The triple header finishes with the Ron Massey Cup Qualifying Final between Mounties and St Marys at 4pm.
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.