The Wyong Roos have held off a valiant Blacktown Workers outfit, running away with a strong 40-18 victory and maintaining their place atop the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder.
The first-half was all one-way traffic as the Roos piled on four unanswered tries, and kept Blacktown scoreless with some physical defence. Wyong’s dominance continued early in the second half, only for Blacktown to respond with three tries of their own in the final 20 minutes.
Fullback Luke Sharpe and dynamic five-eighth Jayden Nikorima starred for the Roos, with winger Christopher Centrone bagging a first-half double in another strong performance.
Former Titan Cameron Cullen continued to spark his team with his experience and put in a valiant performance for Blacktown, albeit in a losing side.
An error from Blacktown in their very first set gifted Wyong an opportunity to claim first points, and they wasted little time with Mat Ikuvalu barging his way through a host of defenders for the first try of the afternoon.
It didn’t take long for Wyong to score their second, after a barnstorming set from their own end resulted In a try to Lindsay Collins, with Jayden Nikorima converting again to take a strong 12-0 lead after nine minutes.
Blacktown were unable to break through the physical goal-line defence of the Roos, and their short burst of momentum quickly changed as Wyong winger Christopher Centrone breezed through some flimsy Blacktown defence, running 70 metres to score under the posts.
As the first 25 minutes past, the Roos were dominating the scoreboard but the battle for field position was hotly contested, but poor handling errors from the Workers continuously ruined their chances of a maiden try.
The Roos again found themselves in the red-zone after another mistake from Blacktown, and they extended their lead shortly after with Christopher Centrone crossing for his second try of the game.
Back-to-back penalties gave Blacktown another chance to score their first four-pointer, and a pin-point grubber from Cullen gifted them a repeat set.
Although they continued to apply pressure with their threatening raids, Wyong’s defence held strong with John Tuivasa-Sheck landing a massive shot and forcing another handling error.
The first-half soon ended with Wyong holding onto to a strong 22-0 advantage, courtesy of their brutal defensive efforts holding out any chance of conceding a try.
Just moments into the second half, Nikorima showed his scintillating agility as he weaved his way through the defence and made a short break, only to be brought down by Dean Parata who was eventually sin-binned for a professional foul.
Wyong made the most of the 1-man advantage with Mitch Cornish showing some crafty footwork of his own, with a darting right foot step allowing him to crash over for his team’s fifth try of the afternoon.
The resulting set from Wyong again proved to be dominant as a break down the left-hand side saw them on the opposition goal-line once again, and fullback Luke Sharpe added his name to the scoresheet after he sliced through the flimsy 12-man defence.
Blacktown continued to fight hard but were unable to consistently hold possession, and another clumsy mistake saw Paul Momirovski streak away against the run of play, before passing it inside for Nikorima to score under the posts.
Blacktown were successful with their short kick-off and showed great resilience to eventually score their first try through Taealoaloa Amone.
Pita Godinet converted from in-front of the posts and set the score at 40-6 with 20 minutes to play.
Blacktown found an array of confidence after their first try, and after forcing a handling error with some tough defence, they reaped the rewards with a try to Kelepi Manu in the right-hand corner.
The game was all but over but Blacktown were finishing with a point to prove, with Jonathan Wright finishing off a classy backline movement to score his team’s third unanswered try.
Joey Lussick landed his second sideline conversion to set the score at 40-18 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
They continued to threaten with some razzle-dazzle football almost resulting in their fourth try, but it was to no avail as Wyong held on to run out 40-18 victors.
Wyong Roos 40 (C Centrone 2, M Ikuvalu, L Collins, M Cornish, L Sharpe, J Nikorima tries; J Nikorima 6 goals) def. Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 18 (T Amone, K Manu, J Wright tries; J Lussick 2, P Godinet goals)