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It was a huge weekend of upsets in the first week of Ron Massey Cup finals, with all four higher-ranked teams losing. Minor Premiers Mounties and second-placed Western Suburbs, in particular – the joint favourites for the title – were both ambushed by their opposition and were narrowly defeated by Wentworthville and St Marys respectively.

What has resulted, of course, is two apparently lopsided match-ups in the Semi Finals; the Magpies have won five more games than the Owls, while Mounties have won six more than the Bulls this year. It all counts for little in finals football, however, and if the lower teams play like they did in last week’s big victories they can cause two more upsets to send the top teams out in straight sets.

Western Suburbs Magpies (2nd) v Guildford Owls (7th)
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Sunday 11 September

Click here to view full Western Suburbs and Guildford team lists and officials

Previous meetings: Western Suburbs 20 def Guildford 12 (Round 2); Western Suburbs 42 def Guildord 26 (Round 19) last week highlighted the poor finish to the season for Western Suburbs and with a narrow loss to Wentworthville last week, the run of poor form continued. After the 13-12 defeat, the Magpies have now won just three of their past seven and not only surrendered the Minor Premiership, but a shortcut to the Preliminary Finals. It wasn’t such a bad loss for Western Suburbs, of course, and if they can hold Guildford to 13 points they will expect their attack to get them home.

Such a defensive performance will be no easy task, however, if the Owls’ 32-point effort against the Warriors is anything to go by. Guildford have managed two solid wins in the past fortnight – both against the Warriors – but have been unable to defeat the top teams in recent times. The Owls couldn’t overcome the Magpies in either of their two meetings this season, but will be hoping third time is a charm on Sunday afternoon.

Mounties (1st) v Hills District Bulls (8th)
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Sunday 11 September

Click here to view full Mounties v Hills team lists and officials

Previous meetings: Mounties 24 def Hills 10 (Round 4); Mounties 34 def Hills 22 (Round 18)

“If Hills bring their a-game they can certainly cause an upset and send Concord Burwood packing” were the words written in the previews last week – and the Bulls did exactly that. Despite trailing at half-time, the eighth-ranked team stormed home with 32 unanswered points to overcome the Wolves at St Marys. It was a performance that deservedly advances them into Week 2 of the finals and will have the players believing they can go all the way.

Like last week, Hills face off with a team that has beaten them twice this year and like last week, they will be underdogs. The difference between the Wolves and Mounties, however, is considerable and the Bulls are required to pull off what could be the upset of the season if they are to stay alive. They will be hoping their opponents are shot on confidence after their 26-22 loss to St Marys and that this offensively strong team can burst out of the blocks with early points to test Mounties’ composure.

The four-point loss to St Marys isn’t ideal for the Minor Premiers, but it shouldn’t be sounding any alarm bells at Mount Pritchard. In the end, the game finished as five goals apiece and only a poor record of one from five conversions let them down. Halfback Jake Walsh will work on this throughout the week and will be very unlucky if it is to cost the team again. It is hard to tip anything other than a Mounties victory, but is the Bulls can dig deep to win they will thoroughly deserve their place in the final four.

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.