NSWRL Senior Competitions Wrap
Mounties are three respective victories away from a trifecta of Grand Final appearances, with all three senior grades having qualified for next week’s Preliminary Finals.
The Ron Massey Cup team cruised to their Grand Final qualifier with a 48-0 thrashing of Hills District, completing the three-peat as the Intrust Super Premiership NSW and Sydney Shield enjoyed the week off after qualifying last week.
Up against Mounties in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW will be the Wests Tigers, who were inspired by a classy Jack Littlejohn performance in their 26-16 victory over the Wyong Roos.
The defeat for Wyong means there will be two new teams in the Grand Final this year, with last year’s premiers, the Newcastle Knights, not qualifying for the finals in 2016.
Littlejohn kicked an important 40/20 that led to his try on the stroke of half-time, and also set up Josh Addo-Carr in a beautifully executed play which proved to be the match sealing four-pointer.
The Newtown Jets won the other game at Pepper Stadium, meaning that three of the four Preliminary Finalists have come from the bottom four in 2015, straight up to the top four this year.
Only Mounties from the current crop of teams remaining played finals football last year, where they bowed out in the Preliminary Final against the Knights, something they will not be keen to repeat.
The Jets’ victory was only separated by conversions, as Mason Lino could only add the extras on one occasion out of a possible four.
Josh Cleeland and Matt McIlwrick played a huge role in the victory, and will need to bring their A-game next week against an Illawarra outfit led by the likes of Drew Hutchinson and Shannon Wakeman.
In the Ron Massey Cup, as previously mentioned, Mounties showed no mercy to Hills District, where three players – Maika Sivo, Anthony Rusty Bristow, Allen Mulia Malau – recorded at least two tries.
Despite trailing in the first half, Western Suburbs came back to the other match against the Guildford Owls, booking their place in the Preliminary Finals.
They will play St Marys in the first game, while Mounties will take on Wentworthville in the battle of the heavyweights in what should be one of the games of the season.
East Campbelltown eliminated Belrose in the Sydney Shield, with a 32-18 win that saw Guy Thompson score a double, and Ben Baker was perfect with the boot, kicking six from six for the afternoon.
In the other game, not even 16 individual points by Jayson Lombardo was enough to get Wentworthville over the line.
They fell short 42-32 to Peninsula, who now face the challenge of taking on Mounties in next week’s Grand Final qualifier.
The winner of that game will play the winner of the East Campbelltown and St Marys Preliminary Final for the make-up of the Sydney Shield Grand Final.
The Cronulla-Caringbah Sharks took out the Sydney Metropolitan Womens Rugby League premiership in a golden point thriller, with Mia Wood crossing the line for the match-winning try.
Cronulla-Caringbah are stacked with NSW talent such as Allana Ferguson, Maddie Studdon, Sammy Bremner and Ruan Sims, while veteran Elianna Walton represented Greenacre.
The Grand Final will go down as a superb advertisement for women’s Rugby League in a year that has already seen it's unprecedented growth.
She was in the winning NSW squad that finally beat Queensland this year; Ruby Ewe took out player of the match honours with a superb performance under pressure.