The St Marys Saints gained a small token of revenge for going down in the 2016 Ron Massey Cup decider when they ground out a 14-6 win in the wet over defending premiers Mounties in the Grand Final rematch at St Marys Leagues Stadium last Saturday.
After the match was moved west late on Friday afternoon to protect the Aubrey Keech Reserve surface for the Mulga’s Intrust Super Premiership match against Penrith, the two sides settled down to an 80-minute-long arm-wrestle in the wet, rainy conditions.
The Saints took the upper hand with a first-half double to fullback Mason Cerruto in the 27th and 35th minutes to enjoy a 12-nil half-time lead after Adrian Davis converted both tries.
The Mulga struck back 10 minutes into the second half when lock Michael Morris scored for Maurice Kennedy to convert and bring the premiers back to within six points of the Saints.
The match then went back and forth as both defences held firm in the trying conditions right through to the game’s end.
Davis landed a penalty goal three minutes from time to secure the Saints’ win – with the promise of the two sides meeting again later in the season for far greater stakes than the two competition points the home side earned on the day.
A Patrice Siolo try five minutes from full-time gave the Concord-Burwood Wolves a hard-fought 22-18 win over the Guildford Owls in the wet at McCredie Park last Saturday.
With rain showers sporadically coming across the ground throughout the match, the Owls opened the scoring when returning former Leeds Rhinos and Penrith Panthers forward Mitch Achurch made the break to send Lazarus Brown away to score under the posts.
The Wolves then dominated the rest of a bruising first half – converting their dominance to points when winger Harry O’Toole got to a bouncing ball from a Nathan Ferris cross kick to score, before Nathan Leatigaga crashed over from close range to give the visitors a 10-6 lead at the break.
The Owls then appeared to gain the upper hand when former Asquith and Manly rake Daniel Vasek burrowed over from dummy half, before a superb Brown short ball sent Dominic Timoteo over to have Guildford up 18-10 with 25 minutes to play.
However, the Wolves were not to be denied - a jolting tackle on fullback Jeremy King spilled the ball loose for O’Toole to dash 70 metres to score his second try and set up the grandstand finish at 18-16.
A key turnover with just on five minutes left saw a Ferris grubber kick in goal and former North Sydney Bear Siolo win the race to the ball in goal to score and the visitors regain the lead at 22-18. The Wolves then held their lead to the finish to secure their win.
Finally, the Hills District Bulls were far too good for a disappointing Cabramatta Two Blues 42-22 at New Era Stadium last Saturday evening.
The Bulls shrugged off the absence of star recruit Feleti Mateo through his calf injury with a first-half attacking blitzkrieg that saw the visitors lead 24-nil at half-time.
Back-rower Tom Young got a first-half double, while Danyon Barnes and Tom Eisenhuth also got on the scoresheet.
The Bulls threatened to embarrass Cabra when they extended their lead to 30-4 after half Chad O’Donnell scored, but the Two Blues stuck to their task and mounted a comeback of sorts in the second half with tries to Nesiasi Mataitonga, Isaac Montgomery and Taku Simon to save a total blowout.
The Bulls had the last word when Barnes completed his double, and Tom Perrin got the last try of the night to complete the scoring.
The Auburn Warriors match with Western Suburbs at Lidcombe Oval was postponed thanks to Sydney’s incessant rain last week, while the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles and the Wentworthville Magpies enjoyed byes.
The Bulls and Blacktown Workers share the lead on six points after three rounds, with St Marys heading three teams next on four points. Cabramatta are the only side yet to register a point after three rounds at the bottom of the ladder.
Round 4 sees all four games set down for this Saturday – with the possible return of Mateo spicing up an already attractive match of the round between the Bulls and St Marys at St Marys Leagues Stadium at 6pm.