In an awesome display of powerful Rugby League, two-time defending Ron Massey Cup premiers Mounties returned to title-winning form when they dismantled competition leaders Hills District Bulls 42-10 at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday.
From the time the Bulls put the opening kick-off out on the full, the home side were always on the back foot.
Mounties took full advantage of the early gifted field position when prop Rod Coates crashed over to score under the posts in just the fourth minute.
The visitors then dominated the rest of the first-half with superior speed at the ground in the play the ball contest, crisper attack in possession, and gang tackling defence in threes and fours that bordered on brutal whenever the Bulls had the ball - blotting out star Bulls recruits Feleti Mateo and Heath L’Estrange from the contest.
Mounties converted their dominance to points through centre Jake Steadman and winger Alofi Mataele in the space of four minutes to set up an early 16-nil lead after just 15 minutes.
Steadman then completed his double and fullback John Kennedy finished off a superb backline movement to beat Mateo in defence five minutes from half time to give the visitors a commanding 26-nil lead at the break.
To their credit, the Bulls did come out after half time with more purpose – and were rewarded when a clever Mateo pass saw winger Troy Black score in the corner five minutes into the second half to get the home side on the board at 26-6.
After a grinding period punctuated by minor flare ups as the Bulls got increasingly frustrated, Mounties then put any Bulls comeback hopes to sleep mid-way through the second half when winger Shannon Chapman finished off a left side raid to dash 50 metres and score.
Black got a second try with 12 minutes left to get the Bulls into double figures, before centre Josh Toole and interchange forward Alec Susino finished off the Mounties win with tries in the last 10 minutes – sending out a statement to the rest of the Massey Cup that the Mulga were back on track for an historic ‘three-peat’ of titles.
On a weekend where the cream rose to the top in the Massey Cup, St Marys moved back to the top of the Massey Cup table with a 64-12 demolition of Western Suburbs at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday.
In front of easily the biggest crowd to attend a Ron Massey Cup game this season to date as over 1000 people attended the now annual ‘back to Lidcombe’ promotion, the Saints stunned all onlookers into silence as they outclassed the Magpies.
In front of a gathering of former Wests greats in the big crowd that included Tom Raudonikis, Noel Kelly, Stephen Knight, Wayne Smith, Alan Fallah and Bob Cooper; the Saints played the role of the spoiler en route to a win.
Saints prop Oliver Clark got the visitors away with an early double in near-identical fashion – crashing through from close range adjacent to the posts twice – to lead 12-nil after 15 minutes.
Then freakish try scoring winger Maika Sivo completed a hat trick in the space of 14 minutes – the last when Wests fullback Mason Farrell lost the ball after suffering a leg injury when losing the ball in a tackle – to blow the game apart at 28-nil after just half an hour.
Tala Mapesone got the Magpies’ lone first half try late in the first half in one of the few Wests attacks in the first stanza to bring scores back to 28-6 at the break.
The second half continued as the first when Saints interchange forward Sonny Tuigamala galloped through poor defence just five minutes into the second half to score and put the result beyond doubt at 34-6.
Sivo nabbed his fourth try – to give him 12 in just seven games to be the Cup’s leading try scorer – before centre Tom Eisenhuth crossed to continue the rout.
By this stage, the large pro-Wests crowd were turning their attention to Raudonikis ‘holding court’ in the stands whilst recording a segment on the back to Lidcombe day for a future episode of the Channel Nine ‘Footy Show’ program.
Meanwhile, the Saints continued to pile on the tries out in the middle – interchange hooker Shanan Wood strolled through token Wests defence to bring up the half century, before fullback Mason Cerruto scored from another sweeping movement to get the Saints to 60 points.
Former Manly centre Tony Satini got the Saints’ 12th and last try with 10 minutes left, before a string of late penalties to Wests gave allowed their hooker Luke Williams to burrow over from dummy half with three minutes left to save some face for the Magpies.
Finally, Wentworthville kept their place in the Massey Cup top four with a hard fought 18-16 win over the Guildford Owls at Ringrose Park last Sunday in the only other match played last weekend.
The Owls got off to a good start when winger Cameron Eyles got the first try in the sixth minute, before journeyman hooker Daniel Vasek wrestled over from acting half close to the Wenty goal line to extend the visitors’ lead to 10-nil after 20 minutes.
Wenty prop Taniela Lasalo crashed over from close range after Guildford turned the ball over from the restart to get the Magpies back to 10-6 – a lead that Guildford held to half time.
Magpies interchange prop Kurt De Luis scored in similar fashion to Lasalo three minutes into the second half to give Wenty a 12-10 lead with Jake Walsh’s conversion, before centre Ethan Tangira extended the Wenty lead 10 minutes later to 18-10 with his try.
Guildford came back solidly to set up a thrilling last 15 minutes when Owls half Lazarus Brown finished off sustained pressure on the Wenty line with a try to bring the margin back to 18-16 with Jake Carlaw’s conversion.
Depsite both sides having their chances, there was no score in the last frantic 15 minutes with the Magpies’ scrambling defence just carrying the day to hang on and secure their win.
The other four teams – Blacktown Workers, Auburn Warriors, Cabramatta and Concord-Burwood-Glebe Wolves – all had byes.
The Wolves were not idle on their bye – going down 30-18 to the Macquarie Scorpions from the Newcastle competition in the inaugural NSWRL Challenge Cup Final at Mudgee last Sunday as the curtain raiser to the last ever City-Country fixture.
Four teams are on 16 points at the top of the Cup Table – with St Marys leading on percentages ahead of (in order) Blacktown, Hills District and Wentworthville. Mounties win sees them move ominously up to fifth on 12 points. Cabramatta still sit in last place with four points from their two byes in the last fortnight.
A full round of four matches is set down for this weekend – with two games on Saturday and two games on Sunday.
Saturday’s main game sees Concord-Burwood-Glebe play the first of their four ‘heritage’ games against Western Suburbs at Leichhardt Oval – with the Wolves playing in the Glebe ‘Dirty Reds’ jumpers in the comeback appearance of the foundation club’s colours after being dormant in senior league for 88 years.
Sunday’s games see the Top Four teams play each other – with Wentworthville playing St Marys at Ringrose Park, while Blacktown take on Hills District Bulls at Laybutt Fields.