A Maurice Kennedy penalty goal three minutes from full time saw defending premiers Mounties escape with a 22-all draw in their Ron Massey Cup ‘match of the round’ against a game Western Suburbs Magpies at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday.
The Magpies – in a much improved display from their Round 1 loss to Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles – certainly took the contest right up to the home side for long periods after Mulga half Chad Porter opened the scoring in the third minute with a converted try.
Wests replied strongly with tries down the left to Veru Mapesone and Tom Capper to give the Magpies the lead at 10-6, before a Josh Toole double late in the half saw Mounties regain the lead at 14-10 by the interval.
After an extended second half arm wrestle, Wests took the lead with 16 minutes left after Tala Mapesone snapped up an intercept from a Sonny Bristow pass and dashed 75 metres to score.
Josh Davis extended Wests’ lead from a Brendan Waters grubber kick in goal, before Maurice Kennedy sent brother John over and set up the grandstand finish with 10 minutes left for the Mulga to draw back to 22-20.
Both sides had chances in the closing stages before the offside penalty in the 77th minute that Maurice Kennedy duly converted to force the first draw of the season.
The Guildford Owls opened their season with a 28-18 win over the Cabramatta Two Blues at McCredie Park last Saturday.
Freshened up from their opening round bye, Paul Fletcher’s men meant business from the time returning back rower Dylan McKeown opened the scoring in the third minute and journeyman hooker Daniel Vasek scored his first try shortly after to give the Owls a handy early lead.
Despite Tyla Tamou and Tenisio Ahovelo replying in kind for the Two Blues, Guildford clinched their win when Vasek completed a double on debut for the Owls whilst evergreen centre Harmony Hunt and opposite backrower Jake Carlaw also got on the scoresheet.
Nesiasi Matatitonga got the Two Blues’ last try as they tried to stay in the match in the second half.
A hat trick to winger Justin Gasovski saw the Auburn Warriors pip Concord-Burwood 32-28 in an entertaining match at Hammondville Oval last Saturday in both teams’ first match for the season.
Both sides went try for try in conditions that were still bordering on oppressive despite the later 5pm kickoff – with the Wolves jumping out to an early 10-nil lead thanks to early tries to Francis Laloua Tui and Jackson Garlick before the Warriors struck back with the first two of Gasovski’s tries and the first of Semisi Vea’s double to give Auburn the lead.
Sean-Paul Fenukitau got his first try late in the half for the Wolves to level scores at 14-all by half time.
The Warriors almost looked home when Vea and Jeremiah Leasi completed doubles for a 28-14 lead midway through the second half, before a bustling try to former Asquith Magpies centre Jeco Makatoa started a Wolves revival with a try on debut for the Wolves.
When former Mounties fullback Jake Horton joined Makatoa in scoring on his Wolves’ debut, a grandstand finish was set up at 28-24 beofre Gasovski’s hat trick with five minutes left gave the Warriors the breathing space they needed.
Fenukaitau’s second try with two minutes left gave the Wolves late hope, but the Warriors held out in the closing stages to hang on and win.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles maintained their impressive unbeaten start to the season with an impressive 30-16 win over Wentworthville at Laybutt Fields, Blacktown last Sunday.
The fired up home side won the match with an opening blitzkrieg of attack that opened up a 20-nil lead by half time thanks to an early Amanaki Manu double, backed up by other first half tries to Manaia Rudolph and John Tohi.
In a match that was fiery at times – referee Josh McGowan sent four players to the sin bin at various stages – Danny Barakat got the Magpies’ first try five minutes into the second half to give the visitors a hope of a comeback.
Blacktown then steadied when Blake Goodman and Ray Lesoa crossed in the space of four minutes midway through the half to put the home side out of sight at 30-4.
Atini Gafa and NRL Reality Show runner up Jordan Martin got late tries for ‘Wenty’ to make the final score respectable, as Barakat and Tohi were both sin binned in the last two minutes for a late scuffle.
St Marys and Hills District Bulls both had byes. The Bulls, Blacktown and Guildford share the competition lead after two rounds, with Mounties one point behind on three points.
Round three sees all four matches played on Saturday, with the match of the round seeing Mounties and St Marys play an early season rematch of the 2016 Grand Final at Aubrey Keech Reserve.