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The Wentworthville Magpies take on Mounties in the third week of the Sydney Shield Finals Series. Image: NRL Photos.

Preliminary Final - Wentworthville Magpies v Mounties

The Mounties have stormed into the Sydney Shield Grand Final after recording a remarkable 34-25 victory over a valiant Wentworthville Magpies outfit at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday afternoon.

The Magpies got off to a blitzing start as they recorded three unanswered tries in the opening 30 minutes before a late field goal saw them take a strong 19-0 stranglehold at half-time, however their lead was short-lived as the Mounties come out firing in the second 40 to eventually come away with an incredible come-from-behind victory.

Mounties went on the attack early as they looked prime for the perfect start, but despite some threatening raids down the right-hand side the Magpies held them out with some strong defensive efforts.

Wentworthville soon reaped the rewards after laying a strong platform with some physical tackles as back-rower Jack Miller burst through a gaping hole before showing great speed to evade the fullback and score the first try of the afternoon.

Magpies’ forwards were getting through a mountain of work in the early exchanges as they gained significant momentum, and it wasn’t long before they extended their lead with winger Rameses Tuipulotu streaking down the right-hand touchline for their second unanswered try.

Kamren Cryer was unable to convert and the Magpies held a handy 8-0 lead after just 10 minutes.

The minor premiers were unable to withstand the Magpies early dominance with a heap or pressure mounting not their goal-line defence but were able to hold out a vast array of attacking raids.

Despite the Mounties valiant defensive efforts, it was Magpies winger Hala Katoa who broke the game open with two tries in as many minutes - including a brilliant 70 metre bust down the left-hand touchline after brushing off a host of defenders.

Brendon Newtown took over the kicking duties, converting one of two from the sideline to take an 18-0 advantage after 30 minutes of play.

Despite a stronger showing from the Mounties in the later stages of the first-half, Newtown nailed a last-minute field goal as the Magpies went into the break with a strong 19-0 lead.

The Mounties would come out firing with an early try to crafty halfback Jake Steadman, and with a wave of momentum behind them they were able to cross again through Benjamin Dooley in the left-hand corner.

Steadman was able to convert both four-pointers from the sideline to reduce the lead to just seven points at the 50-minute mark.

With Mounties throughout the opening stages of the second 40 minutes with their forwards laying a strong platform for their outside backs, fullback Maile Li took full advantage as he crossed for their third unanswered try within 13 minutes. 

Despite a flurry of tries and the margin reduced to just one-point, the Magpies were able to hit-back with a try to Jermaine Mati-Leifi just three minutes later.

The second-half certainly proved to be a tug-of-war contest as both teams were desperately trying to find the breakthrough try, and it was Mounties’ Damon Smith who barged his way over from dummy-half for a vital four-pointer with just 15 minutes remaining.

Steadman was unable to convert with the Magpies holding onto a slight three-point advantage as the hotly fought contest moved into the final stages.

The Mounties were brimming with confidence as they quickly stormed up into enemy territory with classy five-eighth Logan Geyer pounced on a loose ball from a scoring cross-field kick to score the crucial try to put them into the lead for the first time this afternoon.

Steadman once again nailed the sideline conversion to set a valuable three-point lead as the last 10 minutes approached.

It turned out to be an incredibly exciting contest as barnstorming forward Jack Miller looked to make a clean break in the closing stages before offloading to a scrambling Mounties defender, and it proved a costly mistake as Kenny Soumpholphakdy stormed his way through to seal a remarkable 34-25 come-from-behind victory over the Magpies.

Mounties 34 (J Steadman, B Dooley, M Li, D Smith, L Geyer, K Soumpholphakdy tries; J Steadman 5 goals) def Wentworthville Magpies 25 (H Katoa 2, J Miller, R Tuipulotu, J Mati-Leifi tries; B Newton 3 goals)

Preliminary Final #2 - Asquith Magpies v Auburn Warriors

St Marys will take on Mounties in the Sydney Shield Grand Final after a hard-fought 32-24 victory over a gutsy Asquith Magpies outfit at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday afternoon.

Asquith got off to a flyer with a quick right-to-left shift seeing winger Arisento Bou-Sleiman cross for their first try of the game, and their momentum couldn’t be stopped as Jake Pickering soon crossed for their second try within the first 10 minutes.

Both teams were willing to throw the ball around and despite two quick tries from the Magpies, St Marys hit back shortly after with Peter Nay barging his way over from dummy-half.

Magpies winger Alex Nicholls-O’Neill was the recipient of a floating long ball that saw him score their third unanswered try in the left-hand corner only for the touch judge to rule the pass forward.

St Marys were looking for a valuable four-pointer with an attacking raid on the ensuing set threatening the Magpies goal-line defence and it was Nay who found the gap once again with a carbon-copy from his first-pointer of the contest

Aidan Glanville converted to take a 12-8 lead after 20 minutes.

St Marys were dominating field position with the likes of Taylor McCann and Ben Cartwright making some strong carries through the middle third, and it centre Robert Via took full advantage as he showed his brutal strength to crash over in the right-hand corner.

Just when St Marys five-eighth Aidan Glanville looked to score his team’s fourth, a try-saving tackle proved to be significant in the lead-up to Bou-Sleimans second try as he raced 70 metres on the ensuing set for a brilliant solo try.

Jarvis converted from in-front to put the Magpies within two points with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first-half. 

Despite some last minute attempts from both sides to salve as a try it was St Marys who held onto a 16-14 lead at half-time. 

It was a hotly contested opening to the second-half and Nicholls-O’Neill looked to have scored a vital four-pointer but was ruled to knock the ball on.

It soon became a tug-of-war contest and Asquith looked to have taken advantage of an opportunity from a knock-on off a kick-return but had the ball intercepted immediately after.

Bou-Sleiman continued to cause havoc for the defence and it wasn’t long before he found the try-line  after he brushed off a host of defenders and sprinted away for his third try of the afternoon.

Jarvis was unable to convert as Asquith took a slight two-point advantage after 55 minutes.

The Magpies’ lead was short-lived, with St Marys capitalising immediately after with Mitchell Revell providing significant impact from the bench with a try to take his side to the lead, before winger Justin Jones was on the end of another attacking raid to extend St Marys margin to eight points with just 20 minutes remaining.

The Magpies were willing to throw everything they had in the closing stages and just three minute after conceding their with try, Bou-Sleiman was again involved with some quick hands sending Shae Jarvis under the posts to set up an exciting final 15 minutes.

Asquith were threatening for the crucial game changing try and barnstorming lock-forward Alipati Tani looked to have crossed for the match-winner with a strong carry over the try-line but knocked the ball on in the process.

Just moments later, Peter Nay capped off a brilliant individual performance after he pounced on a loose ball to score the match-sealing try that sent St Marys into next week’s Grand Final, rounding off a gutsy 32-24 victory.

St Marys 32 (P Nay 3, R Vai, M Revell, J Jones tries; A Glanville 4 goals) def Asquith Magpies 24 (A Bou-Sleiman 3, J Pickering, S Jarvis tries; S Jarvis 2 goals)

For full scores and scorers' details, visit the NSWRL Match Centre

The NSWRL senior competitions’ finals series, covered like never before on 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.

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