Class utility player Tom Eisenhuth turned in a remarkable display of endurance as the Hills District Bulls outlasted the Wentworthville Magpies 18-8 in their opening round match of the Ron Massey Cup in the wet at Ringrose Park last Saturday.
After scoring a hat-trick of tries at lock to lead the Bulls to victory in the earlier Sydney Shield match, the former St Marys Saints player had to then suit up at five-eighth for back-to-back full games when star Bulls recruit Feleti Mateo sensationally pulled out after straining a calf muscle in the pre-game warm up.
Eisenhuth’s opposite number Zac Greene opened the scoring for the Magpies in the 10th minute with a converted try before a Jack Miller penalty goal extended the Wentworthville lead to 8-nil in the 23rd minute.
The Bulls then struck back with unconverted tries to Tom Young and Aaron Weston in the last 10 minutes of the first half to level the scores at 8-8 at the break.
As steady rain set in and became heavier in the second half, Eisenhuth scored the critical try to give the Bulls the lead for the first time in the contest with 13 minutes left.
Bulls lock Steve Bristow then scored the winning try with 10 minutes left which fullback Jayden Horo converted to give the visitors their winning break at 18-8 which they held to the finish.
Mounties started their campaign for an historic three-peat of Ron Massey Cups with a grinding 20-10 win over a gallant Cabramatta Two Blues at New Era Stadium last Saturday.
In another grinding contest through the rain, converted tries to centre Josh Toole and interchange player Chad Porter gave Mounties a 12-6 lead at half-time.
After a Maurice Kennedy penalty goal extended Mounties lead, the Two Blues struck back when winger Isaac Montgomery scored his second try with 16 minutes left.
Mounties prop Rod Coates crashed over for the winning try which Kennedy converted to give him a perfect four from four with the boot to give the Mulga the two competition points.
To complete the opening round, Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles got their Ron Massey Cup campaign off to a winning start when they overcame Western Suburbs 24-10 in wet, rainy conditions at HE Laybutt Fields. Blacktown last Sunday.
Newly recruited back rower George Tsikrikas got the opening try in just the third minute when he got to a grubber kick in goal in time to score.
A 22nd minute charge down saw Wests five-eighth Kelsey Coakes dash 40 metres to score and send the teams level at 4-4 at the break.
The Sea Eagles broke the deadlock when winger John Tohi scored in the corner on the last tackle after a Wests turnover 10 minutes into the second half, before Blake Goodman extended the lead four minutes later with a try converted by Manaia Rudolph for a 14-4 lead.
Coakes brilliantly backed up a Brendan Waters pass to score his second try behind the posts to get the Magpies back to 14-10, before the home side gained the upper hand when George Lolo crashed over from close range with 14 minutes left for a 20-10 lead after Rudolph’s conversion.
Henry Raiwlaui then sealed the win for the Sea Eagles when he scored six minutes from the end for the 24-10 result following another Wests turnover inside their own half.
The Auburn Warriors v St Marys match at Lidcombe Oval was postponed after the heavy rain that drenched Sydney late last week saw the ground closed, while Concord-Burwood and Guildford had opening round byes.
Round 2 will see three matches played on Saturday this weekend, with the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles taking on Wentworthville at HE Laybutt Fields on Sunday to complete the round.