St Marys entered the Ron Massey Cup and Sydney Shield this season, and there was some unknown revolving around results given they did not participate in either competition last year.
Players such as Bryce Cartwright, Peter Wallace, Michael Jennings, and the Puletua’s have represented the club, with former NRL player, Geoff Daniela, playing in the Ron Massey Cup side in 2016.
In what is a fantastic achievement for the club, both teams are just one win away their respective Grand Finals, having successfully earned a spot in the Preliminary Finals with victories over the weekend.
Mounties continued their dominant season in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW with a powerful 30-10 victory over the Newtown Jets; led by NRL veterans Jeff Lima, Shaun Fensom and Jarrad Kennedy.
The 313 NRL games those three players have accumulated certainly helped Steve Antonelli’s men, who won the game through the middle of the field, capping off a brilliant week for the Canberra Raiders, who secured second position on the ladder.
Kennedy was proud of the way Lima and Fensom carried themselves at Pepper Stadium.
“Jeff had an outstanding game today, I haven’t seen him go that hard yet,” Kennedy said.
“Credit to him for getting back from some decent injuries and playing good footy like that, he and Fenno [Fensom] in the middle there just controls us.”
Sam Williams was the obvious omission, but it mattered little as Sam Duggan and Maurice Kennedy covered his absence in the halves superbly, while Zac Santo proved to be instrumental at fullback with two four-pointers, and an amazing try-saving effort on Travis Robinson.
The Jets will face the New Zealand Warriors next week after they downed the Penrith Panthers earlier this afternoon in a 21-14 thriller.
Henare Wells scored two tries in the opening 10 minutes, but it was the late scoring of James Gavet and Matthew Allwood – two players with NRL experience – that got the Warriors over the line.
80 minutes was not enough for the Wyong Roos and Canterbury Bulldogs, who were forced into golden point due a deadlocked score-line of 18-all at the full-time siren.
The do-or-die clash had everything in the final quarter; including two sin bins for separate incidents, a penalty in front of the posts that the Bulldogs did not take despite being down by two with a player short, plus a conservative golden point period that only saw one field goal attempt in just under four minutes.
Joey Lussick slotted the match-winning 35-metre field goal with the wind behind him, and admitted after the game that he had never played in a golden point match.
“It’s something you always practise at training,” Lussick said.
“We said that we would kick to the corner unless [the field goal] opportunity presented itself, you just have to win by one point, but we’ll keep moving forward.”
The win means they will face the Wests Tigers next week at Pepper Stadium, after they went down to the Illawarra Cutters at UOW Jubilee Stadium, just before Ben Creagh’s farewell was held.
The Cutters were led by one of the form players in the competition, Shannon Wakeman, who took the game away from the Wests Tigers in the second half with some bustling carries that led to various tries.
Drew Hutchinson returned for the Cutters after he filled Benji Marshall’s position against the Parramatta Eels last week, and he, along with Shaun Nona, steered the Cutters around with class, and helped book their spot in the Preliminary Finals.
Mounties Ron Massey Cup jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but St Mary’s quickly cut that down to win a 26-22 gripping contest to qualify for the Preliminary Finals.
Mounties will now play the Hills District Bulls, who blew the Concord-Burwood Wolves away this afternoon, putting 44 points on them that included a Gerard McCallum hat-trick.
The other team that earned a week off is Wentworthville, who won the battle of the Magpies against Western Suburbs, where only a Dylan Izzard field goal separated the sides.
Western Suburbs will play Guildford next week, after they knocked out the Auburn Warriors, despite the fact that Auburn finished ahead of them on the ladder.
Mounties’ Sydney Shield victim this week, the Belrose Eagles, will take on the East Campbelltown Eagles next week after defeating Cabramatta 38-26.
It was an entertaining finish to the game, with the eighth placed Cabramatta side having a two-point lead with only nine minutes remaining in the match.
A quick-fire double to Craig Moustakas, plus a try to Ben Baker nudged the Eagles back in front, and will have another chance next week, while Cabramatta’s season is over.
The other Sydney Shield team to play their final match of 2016 was the Guildford Owls, who went down in a high-scoring 46-30 affair against the Wentworthville Magpies
It was the Mackenzie’s who dominated the scoresheet, with Karrol-Joe bagging a hat-trick and Cecil scoring two more for the Magpies.
They will play the Peninsula Seagulls, who despite finishing second on the competition ladder, went down to St Marys 38 points to 22.
St Marys earned a week off and a spot in the Preliminary Finals with that win, and will play the winner of Belrose v East Campbelltown, while Mounties will play the winner of Peninsula v Wentworthville.