Preliminary Final #1 - Guildford Owls v Wentworthville Magpies
The Wentworthville Magpies have recorded a commanding 38-8 victory over Guildford to earn themselves a place in next week’s Ron Massey Cup Grand Final.
It was all one way traffic as the Magpies recorded five tries in the first half before holding Guildford try less until the closing stages of the contest in a clinical display.
Classy halfback Jake Walsh was busy all afternoon with a hand in a host of tries while winger Jordan Martin capped off a strong performance with two first-half tries.
Guildford got off to a strong start with an early set in the opposition 20 metres, and a penalty right in-front of the posts gifted them an easy two points after just 5 minutes of play.
The Magpies were on the back-foot for a majority for the opening exchanges but took full advantage of their limited chances as fullback Jake Rafferty-Butfield barged his way over from close-range for the first try of the afternoon.
Wentworthville were threatening with some well executed backline movements but the Guildford defence held strong, but it wasn’t long before the Magpies extended their lead after Jake Walsh put his centre Joshua Minhinnick on the outside of his counterpart with a perfectly timed pass before he offloaded to Jordan Martin for their second unanswered try.
Rafferty-Butfield was unable to convert from the sideline as the Magpies took a 10-2 advantage after just 12 minutes.
Guildford thought they had salvaged a much-needed try after Lazarus Brown darted through the Magpies defence before drawing the fullback for Shane Hunt to cross under the posts, however, the try was quickly over ruled after the touch judge ruled there was an obstruction in the play.
The penalty proved costly for Guildford as the Magpies scored on the ensuing set, with Walsh kicking back on the inside, only the ball to ricochet off the posts and directly into the arms of Jack Morris for their third unanswered try.
Brimming with confidence, the Magpies were rolling through the middle-third with some darting carries from their forward pack, and it eventually lead to another four-pointer as Danny Barakat scored in the left-hand corner to take a dominant 18-2 with just over five minutes to play in the first-half.
Martin was able to cross for his second try just before half-time after some quick hands down the right-hand touchline saw the winger find some open space before he was able to bulldoze his way over the fullback for the Magpies fifth consecutive try.
Rafferty-Butfield was unable to convert from the sideline with the Magpies taking a strong 22-2 at half-time.
A mistake in Guildford’s first set-of-six saw the Magpies straight onto he attack in the hope of extending their lead, and they wasted little time as Jordan Martin ducked his way over from dummy-half right under the posts.
Matt Ryan was sent to the sin-bin for ill-discipline in a major blow for Guildford who were battling to get back into he contest, but were able to valiantly force an error on the immediate set-of-six.
Despite some strong defensive efforts from Guildford, the one-man advantage eventually proved costly as Taniela Lasalo busted his way through some flimsy defence for their seventh successive try.
The Magpies were playing with an array of confidence as they continued to play an attacking style of football while also putting in some committed defensive efforts, and Rhys Armstrong was the recipient of some great lead up play with the ball somehow staying in the field of play for their final four pointer.
Despite Guildford trailing on the scoreboard they continued to fight hard as they were desperately looking to score their first four-pointer, and it was Brown who made the breakthrough after he sliced through the Magpies defence for a consolation try.
Jaydn Field looked to have scored another consolation try after supporting Matt Ryan’s burst up the middle-third of the field, but was unable to plant the ball down after some gutsy cover defence knocked the ball out of his hands.
The last ditch play would have no impact on the result, however, with the Magpies recording a 38-8 thumping over Guildford to earn themselves a spot in the Ron Massey Cup Grand Final.
Wentworthville Magpies 38 (J Martin 2, J Tangitau, J Rafferty-Butfield, J Morris, D Barakat, T Lasalo, R Armstrong tries; J Walsh 2, J Rafferty-Butfield goals) def Guildford Owls 8 (L Brown try; J Camroux 2 goals)
Preliminary Final #2 - Auburn Warriors v St Marys Saints
The Auburn Warriors have recorded a remarkable upset victory over St Marys with a commanding 31-12 victory at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday afternoon.
Despite St Marys boasting the best attacking and defensive record throughout 2017, they were beaten in all assets across the park with Auburn putting in a clinical attacking display.
Auburn Warriors were the first team on the scoreboard as Addison Demetriou showed great strength to burst through some flimsy defence for his sides first try of the afternoon.
It was a hard-fought contest throughout the opening 20 minutes with both sides unable to come away with a breakthrough, but the Warriors eventually took advantage as Rabieh El-Zbaieh was on the end of a smart grubber from fullback Omar Slaimankhel for Auburn’s second unanswered try.
Manaia Rudolph was unable to convert from the sideline to take a 10-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Despite a tough opening to the first-half, the Warriors were brimming with confidence following their second try and Rudolph extended his teams lead after showing brilliant speed to burst through the defence and evade the fullback for two tries in quick succession.
Rudolph continued to dominate throughout the closing stages of the first-half and it was capped off with the classy halfback scoring again when he regathered his own grubber after it ricocheted off the goal-post.
Rudolph converted his own try to take a 22-0 lead with just five minutes to go in the first-half.
The final few minutes were fuelled with some heated exchanges from both sides which saw Warriors hooker Jamie Clark sent to the sin-bin, but it would do no damage to the scoreboard with the Warriors holding onto their dominant lead.
The Warriors came out with a point to prove after being reduced to 12 men, but the one-man advantage did them no harm as David Minute scored straight after half-time to give them a commanding lead.
Auburn were mounting a heap off pressure on their opposition goal-line but St Marys were able to withstand the wave of momentum, and a penalty right in front of the goal-posts was too good to refuse with Rudolph taking the two points to take a 30-0 with half-an-hour remaining in the contest.
Manaia Rudolph put the icing on the cake with a calmly struck field goal with just 10 minutes remaining, and despite their relentless defensive efforts throughout the entire contest Guildford were able to snake two consolation tries through Veta Lilomaiava.
The Warriors were unable to extend their lead but eventually held onto to record an impressive upset victory over the minor premiers 31-12 to take their place in next week’s grand final.
Auburn Warriors 31 (M Rudolph 2, A Demetriou, R El-Zbadieh, D Minute tries; M Rudolph 5 goals; M Rudolph field goal) def St Marys 0
The NSWRL senior competitions’ finals series, covered like never before on NSWRL.com.au and the NSWRL Facebook page, culminate on Grand Final Day at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday 24 September. Be there to witness history, with tickets just $10 for adults and children under 12 free.