With deposed Manly half Jackson Hastings playing solidly, the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles have returned to form in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW with a handsome 32-16 win over the Wyong Roos at Berkeley Vale Oval.
In scoring a try and having a hand in two others, Hastings led a barnstorming Blacktown comeback, the Sea Eagles scoring 32 unanswered points after trailing 12-0 early.
Match: Roos v Sea Eagles
Round 7 -
Venue: Berkeley Vale Oval
The Roos opened their account in the fourth minute on the back of a penalty set when prop Lindsay Collins crashed over from a short pass to score under the posts. Josh Mantellato's conversion gave the home side an early 6-0 lead.
Five minutes later, the Roos doubled their lead when returning Sydney Roosters flyer Reece Robinson snaffled an intercept and strolled 50 metres to score under the posts. Mantellato added the extras to double Wyong's lead to 12-0.
Both sides had chances over the next 20 minutes without converting into points.
Wyong lock Brendan Frei dropped the ball in-goal in the 21st minute during a period of sustained Wyong possession, before Blacktown fullback Honeti Tuha was grounded just short from a Hastings pass when the visitors finally got some decent possession five minutes later.
The Workers Sea Eagles then began their comeback late in the first half on the back of a Paul Momirovski error coming out of Wyong's defensive 20-metre area 10 minutes from half-time.
From the turnover set, a neat Manase Fainu grubber kick in-goal saw Hastings win the race to score Blacktown's first try. The former Manly NRL playmaker duly converted his own try to pull the Wyong lead back to 12-6.
Wyong then put the restart out on the full - inviting Blacktown back down their defensive end. From the penalty set, another Hastings pass to Joey Lussick saw the five-eighth place a deft grubber kick for himself to pick up and score.
Hastings hooked the conversion wide to leave Wyong in front 12-10 at the half-time break.
After Wyong centre Matt Ikuvalu and Blacktown fullback Honeti Tuha had a sickening collision to start the second half - with Ikuvalu leaving the field for a Head Injury Assessment - Robinson dropped the ball cold with the goal line wide open from the next Wyong set.
From that point, Blacktown took control of the contest for the next 15 minutes.
In their first attacking raid of the second half, a pin-point Hastings kick found interchange forward Tyler Cassel for the try to give the visitors the lead for the first time.
Eight minutes later, Jade Anderson burst through the Wyong defence to score a well-constructed try wide out to extend the Blacktown lead to 18-12.
Wyong then continued to fritter away the possession they had with errors, while Ikuvalu started a running back-play battle with Hastings upon his return from the HIA. It played right into Blacktown's hands.
Powerful Blacktown centre Moses Suli turned the game in the visitors' favour 15 minutes from full-time of the back of another Wyong turnover. From close range near the right-hand corner, Suli carried four Wyong defenders over the line with him in a determined burst to score the match-breaking try.
Lussick again missed the conversion attempt from touch, but Blacktown had their tails up with a 22-12 lead.
The Workers Sea Eagles made sure of their win in the 68th minute when a left-sided raid saw Anderson place a perfect stab kick in behind the backpedalling Wyong defence. Tuha pounced and scored out wide.
Lussick again missed the conversion from near touch, but Blacktown were in command leading 26-12.
Tom Wright put the icing on Blacktown's cake when he scored their seventh and final try under the posts against the dispirited Wyong defence with just over five minutes to play. Hastings added the extras to blow the Blacktown lead out to 32-12.
Ikuvalu gave Wyong the last word when he powered over near the right-hand corner from a Mitch Williams short pass. Mantellato missed the conversion from near touch to close out the 32-16 scoreline in Blacktown's favour.
The Sea Eagles will look to make it back-to-back wins when they play the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground in Round 8, while the Roos will continue their search for form against Mounties at Morry Breen Oval next Saturday.
Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 32 (J Hastings, J Lussick, T Cassel, J Anderson, M Suli, H Tuha, T Wright tries; J Hastings 2 goals) def Wyong Roos 16 (L Collins, R Robinson, M Ikuvalu tries; J Mantellato 2 goals)