Sea Eagles Prevail In Stunning Upset

The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles have caused one of the great upset victories of the 2017 Intrust Super Premiership NSW with a convincing 30-12 win over a disappointing Warriors outfit and in doing so, inflicting the Warriors’ first loss on Australian soil this season.

The win, which lifts Blacktown two points above bottom-placed Wests Tigers, was built on an opening 40-minute performance which saw the Sea Eagles defy the heavy conditions to build a commanding 24-6 half-time lead which the Warriors, despite an improved showing in the second half, could not overcome.

Instrumental to Blacktown’s win was once again the performance of halfback Cameron Cullen, who had a hand in three of the Workers’ four first-half tries, while the late inclusion of Jackson Hastings proved to be a pivotal as the fullback was a constant menace throughout the game and had a great day with the boot, converting all five tries scored by the home side.

The Warriors were made to pay for an error from the opening set of the game when Cullen and centre Pat Mataele combined to put winger Peter Schuster over in the left corner and with Hastings’ successful sideline conversion, the home side led 6-0 after just three minutes of play.

The visitors levelled the scores on the quarter-hour mark after Lino’s persistence in kicking behind the Workers’ goal-line defensive line paid dividends on the second attempt when winger Paulos Latu latched on to the loose ball to score out wide.

The Warriors could have easily taken the lead minutes later when a Sam Cook cross-field kick found Manu Vatuvei unmarked in the in-goal but was unable to main possession of the ball and the opportunity was lost much to the disappointment of the many fans who were on hand to watch the former Kiwi international winger.

The miss was compounded midway through the first half when Workers regained their six-point  advantage off a well-worked scrum play that saw Hastings provide a peach of a cut-out pass that enabled to winger Maliko Filino to get the better of his more illustrious opposing winger to score in the corner.

Blacktown opened up a commanding 18-6 lead soon after when kicks from Cullen and Schuster allowed edge-forward Jarrod Kennedy to win the race for the ball.

Cullen and Godinet then combined for the try of the game in closing minutes of the first half, with some brilliant interchanging of passes that enabled the five-eighth to split the defence before having the foresight to send a spiralling pass to an unmarked Schuster. The winger then scored his second try of the game to leave the Warriors with it all to do in second half, trailing 24-6 at the break.

After a shaky start to the second half littered with errors from both sides, it was the home side who settled the better and scored again when former Warrior, Jonathan Wright beat his opposite all ends up to score from close range, with Hastings again converting to all but seal the win at 30-6 after 56 miuntes.

The Warriors finally stemmed the flow of points against them when some smart work from Lino on the last tackle enabled his second-rower Isaiah Papalii to latch onto his half’s offload to crash over for the try but it was too little too late for the Warriors, who crashed to their first loss away from home in 2017, ahead of next week’s bye.

Blacktown will now be looking for back-to-back wins when they travel to Henson Park next Saturday to take on the Newtown Jets, as the Sea Eagles look to build some momentum towards securing a possible finals spot.

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 30 (P Schuster 2, M Flino, J Kennedy, J Wright tries; J Hastings 5 goals) def Warriors 12 (P Latu, I Papalii tries; M Lino 2 goals)

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