A try from Cruise Iosefa in the final minute saw defending Sydney Shield Premiers East Campbelltown Eagles ‘get out of jail’ to pip the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 38-36 in a heart-stopping the match of the round at Waminda Oval last Sunday.
Not for the first time this season, the Eagles – with six first choice players unavailable – gave their opposition a massive start at half time before storming in the finish to get up and win.
The Workers started the 14-try thriller, exploding out of the blocks when Josese scored in the opening minute, only for Aaron Teariki to reply three minutes later to level the scores.
That was as close as the Eagles got for the rest of the first half as the Workers attack clicked – Barry Ruttley bagged and early double while Josh Fraser, Jake Attard and Amanaki Manu all scored in a first half attacking blitz that shocked the Premiers.
Despite Mason Talolua and Jarryd Eggleton replying for tries – Eggleton’s coming on the stroker of half time – Blacktown had a handsome 32-18 half time lead.
When Fraser completed his double five minutes into the second half, the Workers looked home with a 36-18 lead – a lead they held until the final 20 minutes.
Then came the Eagles comeback – started by Fred Tevaga’s try in the 60th minute, before Brett Lahey crossed three minutes later.
As Blacktown began to tire in the closing stages, Eggleton completed his double with six minutes left to bring the Eagles back to just 36-32 down.
With the Eagles mounting one last desperate attack in the final minute, Iosefa burst through to score under the posts to level the scores. Chris Standing converted from in front, to complete the miracle win.
The Asquith Magpies returned to form to start the weekend round with a grinding 22-4 win over the Belrose Eagles at Lionel Watts Reserve in wet and trying conditions.
In a tough and at times fiery match where the niggle was not far from the surface, ex-Peninsula Seagull Jon Grimes opened the scoring when finished a left side move in the 16th minute, despite a questionable grounding of the ball.
As torrential rain fell for the rest of the half, winger Jeremy Marshall - another ex-Seagull – forced a mistake from opposite number Isaac Treml in cleaning up a Grimes grubber in goal to pounce on the loose ball and score in the last minute of the half. Ash Calvert-Evers converted and the Magpies had a handy 12-nil lead at the break.
Despite the rain easing during the break, the second half continued as the first ended with swarming Asquith defence bustling the Eagles into errors.
Another Grimes grubber in goal 10 minutes into the second half saw winger Alex Nicholls-O’Neill score his fifth try of the season to extend the lead, before backrower Cameron Yeates finish a neat left sided move to score to give Asquith a match winning 22-nil lead with 15 minutes left.
Marvin Slavin got a consolation try for Belrose with 10 minutes left, before the ongoing niggle finally exploded four minutes later – seeing referee Brad Keihne send Asquith hooker Shae Jarvis and Belrose backrower Josh Nicholls from the field, as tempers flared.
Mounties flexed their muscle in easily disposing of the Guildford Owls 54-14 in the match at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Saturday.
With Brad Speechley and Vince Repipi each posting doubles inside the first 20 minutes, the Mulga had the two points virtually wrapped up by half time after Ben Chahoud and Corey Makelim got tries late in the half to give Mounties a commanding 32-4 lead at the break.
Shane Hunt found a try for the disappointing Owls, on the stroke of half time.
The Mulga completed the job in the second half – coasting home after Chahoud completed his double mid-way through a lacklustre second stanza.
Hunt completed his double and Julian King scored to give Guildford some respectability on the scoreboard, before the Mulga rushed home with three tries in the last 10 minutes – through Zeik Foster, Joe Rokoqo and Willie Mataka – to bring up their half century in the final minute of play.
Wentworthville maintained their placein the top four, with a hard fought 32-22 win over Western Suburbs in the all Magpies ‘battle of the birds’ at Kirkham Park, Camden, last Saturday.
Wenty weren’t headed from the time powerful winger Josh Minhinnick opened the scoring with his ninth try for the season in just the third minute, before Nick Odlanikov picked up a Wests kick rebound to send Zac Greene away just three minutes later for a 10-nil lead.
Tom Field extended the Wenty lead with an easy solo try midway through the half, before Hosea Leuea got to his own grubber first late in the half to bring Wests back to only 16-6 down at the break,
Wests then stayed in touch with Wentworthville for long periods in the second half – starting with Bryce Shaw just reaching out to score ahead of the cover 10 minutes into the second half only for Wentworthville winger Rameses Tuipulotu to reply from a James Goring break to keep Wests at arm’s length mid-way through the second half.
The young Wests side refused to go away as both sides traded tries – Christian Yassmin finishing a blind side move before Sam McGregor replied for the Magpies to extend the lead again to 26-18.
Wests came back one last time with six minutes left when Joey Peato ran off a Joe Kaufusitua pass to bring the scores back to within four points, before Minhinnick bookended the match with his second try – and 10th for the season in just five games – in the last three minutes to clinch the win for his side.
In another high scoring try fest, a four try haul from winger Fuimanu Enese ensured St Marys stayed on top of the Shield table with a 42-34 win over Cabramatta at St Marys Leagues Stadium last Saturday.
In a blistering opening, Enese got the first two of his four tries inside the first ten minutes after Ben Cartwright opened the scoring as the Saints raced to an early 18-nil lead.
Despite Ibudoc Solomona and Reece Grkinic replying with tries for Cabra, Alan Eisenhuth got the Saints’ fourth try late in the half to give the home side a comfortable 22-10 lead at the interval.
The Saints then exploded away early in the second half as ENese completed his quartet of tries. After Tayler McCann and Robbie Graham scored midway through the second half, St Marys had a match winning 42-16 lead with 20 minutes left.
The Two Blues to their credit never gave in and had the last word with three converted tries in the last 10 minutes – to Luke Lavender, Jayden Mahara and Dion Harris – to make the final score respectable.
Finally, the Hills District Bulls toughed out a grinding 14-6 win over the luckless Moorebank Rams at Hammondville Oval last Sunday.
In heavy conditions the Rams started well. After Kenny Soumpholphadky the game’s opening try in the 20th minute, the Rams held their own to lead 6-nil at half time.
The Bulls wore the hosts down in the second half after Ben Mitchell levelled the scores three minutes into the second half.
Sam Shepherd got the vital try for the Bulls midway through the second half to give the Bulls a 12-6 lead, before a James Horvat penalty goal with nine minutes left secured the two points for the visitors.
St Marys are the only unbeaten side with eight points as sole competition leaders, while the Rams are the only winless side at the bottom of the ladder.