The Ron Massey Cup has been whittled down to the final four teams and while the first week of the finals featured four upsets, it was normal transmission the following week and the top quartet from the regular season remain. With Western Suburbs taking on Mounties and St Marys playing Western Suburbs, Leichhardt Oval and Campbelltown Sports Stadium are set to host two blockbusters to decide who will head to Pirtek on NSWRL Grand Final Day.
Wentworthville Magpies (3rd) v Mounties (1st)
Leichhardt Oval, Sunday 18 September
Broadcast delayed until 5pm on Triple H 100.1 FM
Wentworthville did very well to defeat Western Suburbs in their Qualifying Final two weeks ago, but in the end only a Dylan Izzard field goal separated the two sides to give Wentworthville a shortcut to Week 3. They will be thankful for the week off, but this week come up against the might of Mounties – a side that were themselves upset in Week 1, but asserted their dominance last week with a 48-0 thrashing of the Bulls.
The Magpies have progressed this far in the competition on the back of their defence and are second only to their Sunday combatants in this regard. Holding Western Suburbs to just two tries a fortnight ago was no mean feat, but they will need to be at their best to contain the Minor Premiers, who scored eight four-pointers last week.
Mounties will have to deal with the loss of Maika Sivo, who has not been named for this week’s clash. The winger took just 20 minutes to notch up a hat-trick in the defeat of Hills and has been a big part of Mounties’ charge to the Minor Premiership this season. Aside from Sivo, however, Mounties have named the same 17 that shut out the Bulls. In the second of three consecutive Mounties Preliminary Finals – the club from Mount Pritchard will see games in the Sydney Shield, Ron Massey Cup and Intrust Super Premiership NSW at Leichhardt Oval – the Minor Premiers will be confident of a win over the Magpies if they can compete at their best.
St Marys Saints (4th) v Western Suburbs Magpies (2nd)
Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sunday 18 September
Broadcast LIVE on Triple H 100.1 FM
In the second game at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, the Western Suburbs Magpies return to one of their home grounds to face St Marys – a team they lost to just three weeks ago. The Saints burst out of the blocks for a 20-0 lead on that occasion and the Magpies will be way of their opponents’ strong starts a second time around.
While Western Suburbs were victim to that one-point defeat to Wentworthville in Week 1 of the finals, the Saints dug deep to narrowly upset Mounties. It handed St Marys a deserved weekend off and despite coming fourth, they have proved that it’s anyone’s game in finals football.
Both sides have named similar rosters to their last outings, which is important come this time of year. The Saints in particular will be boosted by the inclusion of Chris Aunese-Scanlon, Raymond Lesoa and Atonio Tauiliili Pelesasa from the Panthers’ Intrust Super Premiership NSW side, who were bundled out of the finals at the first stage.
The Saints and Magpies are similarly matched in attacking ability, but the Magpies have had the edge in defence throughout the year – despite a rare slip-up coming in their Round 24 meeting. With St Marys in a strong recent run of form, Western Suburbs will not underestimate the difficulty of taking them down to reach the Ron Massey Cup Grand Final.