The Wyong Roos have put aside a poor first-half and a 22-6 deficit, recording an incredible 35-28 comeback victory over the Wentworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Magpies dominated early with three unanswered tries in the first half before taking a 26-10 lead at the 60-minute mark, but the Roos showed their resilience as they posted four consecutive tries and a last minute field-goal to record an impressive victory.
Paul Momirovski proved to be the difference with a vital try and the match-winning field-goal, while Mitch Williams showed his class with two try-assists in the second half and worked well with Eloni Vunakece, who proved instrumental in the closing stages.
For the Magpies, crafty five-eighth Jamal Fogarty and fullback Honeti Tuha put in strong performances, while Raymond Stone provided significant impact off the bench with some strong defensive efforts.
The opening stages of the contest were hard fought with both sides looking to win the battle of field position. A strong run by John Folau put Wentworthville on the front foot and Cameron King took full advantage as he crashed over from dummy-half just one tackle later.
The Roos were looking for a quick response and a penalty helped them march towards the opposition try line, but the Magpies defence couldn’t be broken.
The Magpies were controlling the game nicely with an error-free opening 15 minutes, and their ability to keep hold of the ball eventually paid off with George Jennings finishing off a perfectly executed backline movement to take a 10-0 lead.
A knock-on off the kick-off by Jeff Robson gifted the Roos an opportunity to earn themselves a quick reply, but a poor last-tackle option saw the pressure instantly relieved.
A series of offloads in the following set allowed fullback Honeti Tuha to make a short burst through the middle of the field, and their momentum could not be stopped with a perfect grubber forcing a line drop-out.
They continued to apply pressure thanks to the astute kicking game of Jamal Fogarty and the Roos could not withstand the attacking raids, with Joseph Ualesi barging his way his way over to the left of the uprights.
Despite holding a 16-0 advantage after 25 minutes the Magpies made back-to-back errors from the kick-off and invited the Roos straight onto the attack, but their defence continued to hold strong as they forced another knock-on.
Their defence couldn’t be broken through the first half an hour while their forwards continued to storm their way through the middle third – and they soon reaped the rewards as Kelepi Taningoa crossed for their fourth try of the afternoon.
It was all one-way traffic as the Magpies continued to dominate the contest, but the Roos fought back with Josh Mantellato bursting onto to a well time short-ball to score his team’s first try.
Raymond Stone was proving to be a terror with the ball in hand but his defensive efforts couldn’t go unnoticed, with a crunching tackle from the resulting kick-off forcing a Roos error.
Although unable to cross for a vital fifth try just before the break, the Magpies were dominating the contest and held a strong 22-6 lead at half-time.
An error off the kick-off from the Magpies allowed the Roos to immediately kick-start an attempted comeback and they wasted little time, with Paul Momirovski throwing a brilliant cut-out pass to Matthew Ikuvalu who finished strongly in the left-hand corner.
The Roos were fighting valiantly in the hopes of building towards a crucial victory, but the Magpies were proving too strong as Honeti Tuha bursted onto a brilliant Fogarty offload, which eventually lead to George Jennings scoring his second try of the game just a few tackles later.
An offside penalty allowed Fogarty to extend the lead by a further two points but the first-placed Roos wouldn’t go down without a fight, with Mitch Williams provided a no-look short ball to Eloni Vunakeci which saw him crash over and close the lead to just 12 points.
A similar try to Lindsay Collins just three minutes later saw the Roos come within just one converted try and Paul Momirovski took advantage of a loose ball to score, Josh Mantellato converting to level the scores at 26-all with just 10 minutes remaining.
The closing stages were hotly contested as both sides looked to find the crucial moment to take the lead, and it was the Roos who found their way as Momirovski landed a field-goal in the final two minutes.
The Magpies looked to have re-claimed the ball from the kick-off but it eventually led to a knock-on, before Roos Captain Mitch Williams found a gap just moments later as he busted through the Magpies defence, drawing the fullback and sending Christopher Centrone over for the match-sealing try.
Although the Magpies dominated a majority of the contest, the Roos eventually recorded a remarkable 35-28 comeback victory which will see them keep hold of top spot on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder.
Wyong Roos 35 (J Mantellato, M Ikuvalu, E Vunakece, L Collins, P Momirovski, C Centrone tries; J Mantellato 5 goals, P Momirovski field goal) def Wentworthville Magpies 28 (G Jennings 2, C King, J Ualesi, K Tanginoa, J Fogarty tries; J Fogarty 2 goals)