Sea Eagles Come Back To Sink Illawarra
The Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles have engineered a come from behind 24-22 win over Illawarra at WIN Stadium.
The visitors found themselves down 10-0 early on but slowly worked their way back into the game to come away with an impressive win.
The home side suffered an early blow, dropping the kick off and putting themselves under immediate pressure.
From the ensuing drop out the Sea Eagles went on the attack but a cross-field kick on the last was claimed and a penalty saw Illawarra fullback Jai Field take the quick tap and race 80 metres downfield to open the scoring in spectacular fashion.
The try was not converted by Field and the home side led 4-0 after just four minutes.
A stroke of luck from a fifth-tackle kick gifted the home side a fresh set and they went on the attack, helped out by the Sea Eagles giving away another penalty.
Illawarra took full advantage and sent the ball wide for centre Patrick Herbert to cross and increase the home side's lead.
Field slotted it home from out wide to make it 10-0 after just nine minutes.
The Sea Eagles' early woes continued, giving away a penalty for tackling an Illawarra player off the ball in the 12th minute but this time they survived the onslaught, the home side coming up with a grubber that went over the dead-ball line.
From the next set the home side gave away their first penalty of the match but the Sea Eagles came away empty-handed thanks to some great scrambling defence by Illawarra.
Down the other end, a long pass by Field found a flying Jordan Pereira but the winger dropped the ball short of the line, as the home side continued to dominate the match, played in gusty conditions.
With only their second attacking set in Illawarra's half, the Sea Eagles came up with points thanks to winger Peter Schuster who touched down off a neat grubber in the 20th minute.
Jackson Hastings made no mistake to make it 10-6.
Some ad-lib football by Illawarra on the last saw them score their third try of the match.
Keeping it alive on the last, an optimistic kick was put in by Pereira and the ball was eventually spun wide for an unmarked Fai Fai Loa to touch down after the ball had gone through several sets of hands.
Field added the extras to make it 16-6 after 26 minutes.
The home side continued to pile on the pressure as the half wore on, forcing a drop out in the 28th minute but the Sea Eagles showed great tenacity to hold on.
In the dying stages of the half the Sea Eagles scored their second try through interchange Jordan Hall. The try was converted by Hastings to make it 16-12 at the break.
A disappointing midfield bomb by the Sea Eagles ensured their second half started on the backfoot but Illawarra's attack failed to penetrate the defence.
A long break by Schuster set up the Sea Eagles in the 55th minute and centre Jonathan Wright went over several tackles later to tie it up at 16-all.
Hastings made no mistake from in front and for the first time the Sea Eagles had the lead, 18-16.
Their lead was short-lived however as just five minutes later Herbert dived on a grubber just inside the dead ball line for his second to make it 20-18.
Field added the extras to make it 22-18 with just under 20 minutes remaining.
The Sea Eagles hit back in the 67th minute with a sneaky try from dummy half to hooker Joey Lussick to tie it up at 22-all.
Hastings nailed the tough conversion from out wide to give his side a narrow 24-22 lead with 11 minutes remaining and they hung on to claim the two competition points in an exciting contest.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 24 (P Schuster, J Hall, J Wright, J Lussick tries; J Hastings 4 goals) def Illawarra 22 (P Herbert 2, J Field, K Fai Fai Loa tries; J Field 3 goals)