A hat-trick of tries to lock Tom Eisenhuth propelled the Hills District Bulls to minor upset 24-16 win over the Wentworthville Magpies in the opening match of the Sydney Shield season at Ringrose Park last Saturday.
An eventful afternoon for the St Marys recruit – which would later include a second full game hours later in Ron Massey Cup – began when he opened the scoring in the ninth minute to give the Bulls the early lead at 6-nil with James Horvat’s conversion.
Wenty prop Sol Lasalo replied when he crashed over on the Mapgies’ next set after a Bulls turnover from the restart to level scores at 6-all with Jayson Lombardo’s conversion.
Eisenhuth complete a first-half double in the 20th minute to put the Bulls back in front at 12-6 when Horvat added the extras.
Wenty centre David Sisifa finished off a movement wide out to score 10 minutes from half time to cut the Bulls lead back to 12-10 at the break.
The Magpies then took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when opposite centre James Minhinnick scored for Brendon Newton to convert and Wenty to lead 16-12.
However, the Bulls took their chances better in the rainy conditions in the last 20 minutes. First, winger Danyon Barnes beat the cover to score wide out with 20 minutes left for Horvat to nail the conversion to regain the lead.
Then Eisenhuth completed his hat trick with 10 minutes left. Horvat converted for 24-16 and the Bulls defence held on in the closing stages to secure their win.
Mounties again asserted their place amongst the Shield favourites when they came home right over the top of a fighting Cabramatta Two Blues 36-10 at New Era Stadium last Saturday.
The Mulga far from had it their own way as the Two Blues took it right up to the 2016 Grand Finalists for 60 minutes of the contest.
After Mounties centre Jake Steadman gave Mounties and early lead with a converted try in the ninth minute, Cabramatta struck back hard.
Winger Jamie Harrison and back rower Kisi Taulani scored good tries, and Vaughn Thistlethwaite converted Taulani’s try, the Two Blues led 10-6 at half time.
Brodie Vassalo levelled the scores for Mounties five minutes into the second half, before Shannon Chapman scored to regain the lead for Mounties at 14-10 eight minutes later.
The match was an arm wrestle in the rain for the next 10 minutes, before Jake Goodwin scored the game braking try for the Mulga 14 minutes from time.
The visitors went on with the job in the closing stages against a spent Cabra defence, with John Kennedy, Maile LI and Brad Speechley scoring tries in the last 10 minutes to blow the score out to its’ final 36-10 result.
The Asquith Magpies put aside the drama of pulling out the Ron Massey Cup with a 36-4 thumping of the Guidlford Owls in the match at McCredie Park, Guildford last Saturday.
With former Peninsula Seagulls Sydney Shield Players of the Year in Jake Pickering and Vinny Ngaro forming quality combination on the right hand side, the Magpies attack was too much for a Guildford side that made far too many mistakes.
Pickering opened the scoring in the fourth minute, before a clever cross field kick from Owls five eighth Nautu’a Masima saw winger Will Hodge level scores in the 15th minute.
That was as close as the Owls got as Cam Yeates, Masi Fidow, veteran half Aaron Groom and former Seagull Enoka Time all crossed against the non plussed defence to give Asquith a commanding 22-4 lead at the break.
After errors riddled the early period of a rain soaked second half, the class of the Magpies backs told as Pickering and Fidow completed doubles and 2016 leading Ron Massey Cup try scorer Alex Nicholls-O’Neill opened his 2017 season account to give Asquith an easy win.
Finally, the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles moved to the top of the Shield table after the opening round with an emphatic 36-nil shut out of a disappointing Western Suburbs Magpies at Laybutt Fields, Blacktown last Sunday.
In a match that was also punctuated by plenty of stoppages for scrums and penalties as both sides struggled to handle the driving rain that fell throughout, the class of hooker Kurt Aldridge and half Braeden Batiste was too much for the young Magpies outfit to handle.
Sea Eagles lock Evrett Vaurasi crashed over from close range to open the scoring in the seventh minute, before fullback Amanaki Manu extended the lead four minutes later.
Batiste finished off a clever ruck move with Aldridge 10 minutes from the break to give the home side an 18-nil lead at half time.
When Falcon Meni scored out wide and replacement hooker Jake Attard strolled over from dummy half after another Magpies turnover in the first 10 minutes of the second half, the match was put to bed.
After a scrappy period in the second half, Kelepi Manu finished off a neat Blacktown movement with 10 minutes left to close the scoring. Aldridge landed a perfect six from six with the boot to complete the win.
The Moorebank v St Marys match at Hammondville and the East Campbelltown v Belrose match at Waminda Oval were both washed out in the wake of the heavy rain that fell across Sydney across the weekend.
Round Two this weekend sees five games on Saturday and one match on Sunday – with the St Marys v Asquith match at St Marys on Saturday and the Blacktown Workers v Wentworthville match at Laybutt on Sunday shaping up as attractive contests.
Catch the highlights in the video above, featuring commentary by Peter Jolly.