Belrose Topple Blacktown In Shield Opener
Defending Sydney Shield premiers St Marys Saints had to work hard to maintain their unbeaten start to the year, edging out the Asquith Magpies 28-24 in the match of the round at Storey Park on Sunday.
Saints halfback Jake Toby opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before the Magpies struck back hard with tries to Ngangarra Barker, Evander Waitoa and Sean Sabutey to have the premiers back on their heels with an early 16-6 lead.
A number of Asquith errors then allowed the Saints back into the game at the back end of the first stanza – with Toby completing a first-half double, hooker Meni Luke scoring and interchange forward Alan Niulesa scoring on the stroke of half-time to give the Premiers a 24-16 lead at the break.
The Saints were again under pressure when firstly winger John Tuilatu took no part for the rest of the match after going to Hornsby Hospital for stitches on a head wound from a back-play collision.
Then Asquith winger Jeremy Marshall crossed out wide to cut the Saints’ lead back to 24-20 five minutes into the second stanza.
The premiers then had a slice of luck when the restart from Marshall’s try hit the crossbar and rebounded 25 metres back upfield to be gathered by the St Marys chase.
From the possession windfall, the Saints then coolly worked field position for Niulesa to complete his double in the 52nd minute and extend the premiers’ lead to 28-20.
Asquith raised one further effort for winger Ari Bou-Sleiman to score with 15 minutes left to pull the lead back to 28-24 – however the Saints controlled play beautifully in the closing stages to hang on for their win.
Battle of Eagles Ends in East Campbelltown Win
The other four Sydney Shield matches over the weekend all featured convincing scorelines last weekend.
East Campbelltown opened their season’s account with a 46-18 win over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.
The Eagles were kept honest by Blacktown after Grant Lahey opened the scoring in the sixth minute.
Zac El-Cheikh got the early reply to level scores for the visitors, before Brandon Su’a got his first try for the Eagles, and Jeff Tuitavuki added a further first-half try to give the home side a comfortable 18-6 lead after 33 minutes.
Blacktown came back a second time Jackson Whitby’s try four minutes from the break, before Sean Connor slotted a penalty goal to give East Campbelltown a 20-12 half-time lead.
Connor completed a neat try which he duly converted to extend the Eagles’ lead 10 minutes into the second half, before Blacktown again responded with Debraksa Rikiriki’s try to set up a tight finish at 26-18 with 20 minutes left.
East Campbelltown finally gained the upper hand in the closing 20 with Su’a completing his double, then Daniel Muir scored from the restart set to put the result beyond doubt at 36-18 with 14 minutes left. Vince Ropepi and Amanono Tovio scored late tries against a tiring defence to complete the 46-18 result.
Wentworthville Undefeated with Second-straight Win
The Wentworthille Magpies made it two wins from two starts with an easy 44-18 win over Cabramatta at New Era Stadium last Saturday.
Wentworthville virtually won the match with an opening blast of tries – with a first-half double from Eparama Navale following up early tries from Eli Roberts and Brendon Newton to give the Magpies an 20-0 lead after 27 minutes.
The Two Blues hit back with converted tries from Tom Grealy and Liam O’Brien to reduce the deficit, before Rameses Tuipulotu gave the Magpies a 26-12 lead on the stroke of half-time.
Dayne Vette-Welsh’s try for the Magpies five minutes into the second half gave them more breathing space, before Cabramatta raised one last effort with Anthony Raheb’s try midway through the second half to keep the Two Blues in touch.
Wentworthville then steadied with late converted tries from Ayden Carling and Andrew Pritchard to make sure of the two competition points.
Moorebank Fight Hills’ Fire with Fire
The Moorebank Rams overcame dramas on the home front with a handsome 44-10 humbling of the Hills District Bulls at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday to post their first win for the season.
With their Moorebank Sports Club home base turned into an evacuation centre for locals fleeing the frightening bushfires in Sydney’s south-west, the Rams blitzed the Bulls with their best 40 minutes of football since returning to the Sydney Shield in 2017.
Jacob Winterstein (fourth minute), Malachi Morgan (eighth), former Mounties star Jake Horton (11th), Jake Kamire (29th) and Jayden Aramoana (32nd minute) all got first-half tries to take a commanding 24-0 half-time lead.
Ben Mitchell got the Bulls’ first try 10 minutes after half-time to raise hopes of a comeback, before the Rams slammed those hopes shut with second-half tries to Muong Dut, Pule Sua, Ky Tak Chan and Alvin Maungaati to seal their dominant win. Eric Ruka got a late consolation try for the Bulls to close out the 44-10 scoreline.
Guildford makes Light Work of Penrith
Finally, the Guildford Owls overcame a slow start to overpower newcomer Penrith Brothers 40-6 at Hickeys Lane, Penrith last Sunday.
Taking advantage of the Owls having not played with their opening-round bye, the Brethren raised hopes of an historic first win when Tautitapu Marsters got the first try in the 11th minute for a shock 6-0 lead to the home side.
However, after warming to their task, the Owls then levelled the scores with Tyler Leuluai’s try in the 20th minute. Experienced hooker Daniel Vasek – dropped back to Shield alongside Jack Wheelhouse to ensure that their Massey Cup team later in the day stayed under the player ratings points limit – then bagged a hat-trick of tries either side of half-time to virtually decide the match at 22-6 five minutes into the second half.
The Owls then went on with the job against the gallant but outclassed Brethren when Savani Latu completed a second half double, before Tyrone Falkner and Sam Eisenhuth scored late tries to complete the 40-6 victory.
Belrose enjoyed the bye and share the lead with Wentworthville, Guildford and St Marys on four points after two rounds. Blacktown Workers, the Bulls and Penrith Brothers all sit winless after two rounds at the bottom of the table.
Round 3 action this weekend sees three matches on Saturday and two games on Sunday – with the clash of the unbeaten Wentworthville and Guildford at Ringrose Park at 11am on Sunday the best of the round.
Tony Dosen and HHH FM cover the Ron Massey Cup and the Sydney Shield each weekend – this weekend they are at Storey Park on Sunday for the Asquith v Hills District Bulls games from 1pm (Sydney Shield) and 3pm (Ron Massey Cup). They will be followed by the Belrose v East Campbelltown Sydney Shield replay at 7pm on Sunday night – on 100.1FM or at www.triplehfm.com.au.