Wentworthville Stay Top of Shield with Tough Win
The Wentworthville Magpies stayed on top of the Sydney Shield ladder with a hard-fought 30-20 win over the Guildford Owls in their match played at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
Wentworthville centre Eil Roberts got the opening try in the ninth minute, and hard-running centre turned back-rower Dave Sisifa extended the lead with his try from the restart set for a 12-0 lead.
Owls centre Yahia Masri replied with his try in the 15th minute in a bright attacking start to the match to pull the Wentworthville lead back to 12-6.
Wentworthville fullback Dane Francis extended the Magpies' lead midway through the first half with his try, before classy Guildford opposite number Cameron Eyles got his first try 10 minutes from half-time to make it 18-10 down at the break.
Magpies winger Eparama Navale scored in the corner for Brendon Newton to convert six minutes into the second half for a 24-10 lead. Then came the Guildford comeback.
Quick tries midway through the second half from Eyles to complete his double and interchange outside back Les Ngaluafe brought the Owls back to 24-20 with 20 minutes left to complete a comeback victory.
After both sides had chances, Wentworthville hooker Ayden Carling got the winning try with four minutes left. Jayson Lombardo added the extras to complete the Magpies' 30-20 win and ensure a perfect record from their opening three rounds.
Two Blues, Rams Play out New Era Stalemate
The Cabramatta Two Blues and the improved Moorebank Rams played out an 18-all draw in their match at New Era Stadium last Saturday – the first draw of the Sydney Shield season.
Cabra hooker Jayden Yates got the opening try to give the home side the lead, before Moorebank responded with tries to fullback Corey Matthews and centre Amosa Manu to give the Rams an 8-6 lead.
Former Mounties five-eighth John Martin scored his first try for Cabramatta late in the first half to give the Two Blues a 12-8 lead at the break.
The match continued to be a keenly contested arm wrestle in the second half, before the Rams broke through with tries to back-rower and winger Ky Tak Chan to give Moorebank the lead for the second time. A Jayden Maramoana penalty goal with 14 minutes left gave the Rams an 18-12 lead.
However, just as Moorebank were about to claim a second straight win for the first time since returning to the Shield in 2017, a late try to fullback Jason Jana three minutes from time levelled the scores with
Liam O'Brien's third conversion – with the 18-all stalemate maintained to full-time.
East Campbelltown Win Eagles Battle
East Campbelltown outlasted Belrose 16-8 in a tough all-Eagles 'battle of the birds' at Lionel Watts Reserve, Belrose last Sunday.
With both sides fired up by an emotional pre-match commemorative Anzac ceremony, rugged defence through the middle dominated the contest.
East Campbelltown centre Theo Leato got the opening try in the sixth minute with a determined burst, before a clever kick from Belrose half Nick Ferris – son of former Manly and Canberra NRL star Jason – saw winger James Morgan score the reply six minutes later.
As both sides tore in through the middle, Belrose centre Beau Abrahams finished off a left-side raid in the 24th minute to give the home side a narrow 8-6 lead at half-time.
East Campbelltown made the most of hard-fought field position 12 minutes into the second half when winger Daniel Muir scored for Sean Connor to convert – regaining the lead for the visitors.
The next 20 minutes saw both sides have chances, before East Campbelltown standout Ronny Palumbo fired a pin-point cross kick for pint-sized club stalwart Craig Moustakas to pounce on with eight minutes to play.
East Campbelltown then held their 16-8 advantage to the final whistle to end Belrose's unbeaten start to the season.
Defending Shield Premiers kept their unbeaten start to the year intact with a comfortable 42-20 win over Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at St Marys Leagues Stadium on Saturday.
After Jackson Whitby and Sione Kaivelata got early tries for Blacktown to shock the Saints, the premiers then got into their stride with tries from Marlon Ritchie, Ben Ernest, Jake Gillett-Gow and Jesse Abbott to lead at half-time.
The Saints then went on with the job in the second half. Ernest completed his double, centre Etuate Qionimacawa scored a spectacular try, with other second-half tries from Jake Toby, Antonio Faguuaea and Allan Fitzgibbon completed the Saints' nine-try performance.
Aiden Glanville's off day with the boot – the five-eighth only landing three goals from nine attempts – kept the score from blowing out further.
Blacktown came up with consolation tries from Jermayne Cook and Sosaia Talivakaola to make the final 42-20 scoreline more respectable.
Asquith make Light Work of Hills
Finally, the Asquith Magpies easily disposed of the Hills District Bulls 66-12 in their match at Storey Park last Sunday.
After Asquith dropped the kick-off, Bulls prop Pati Eni scored his first try for an early 6-0 lead. Then the Magpies hit their straps.
With hooker and skipper Shae Jarvis dominating out of dummy-half on his Sydney Shield return, the Magpies broke clear with centre Jack Goode bagging an early double, before other first-half tries from Jeremy Marshall, Tuki Jackson, Awishkar Gnyawali and Gibson Popoali'I giving Asquith a commanding 30-6 half-time lead.
Ngangarra Barker's early second-half double made sure of the win for Asquith. Popoali'i completed his double, winger Jale Seninawanana bagged a double whilst Bulls centre Sam Shepherd was in the sin bin, with further tries to Corey Browne-Higginbotham and Niku Apelu completing the 13-try Magpie romp.
Eni got his second try midway through the second half to at least get the Bulls to double figures.
Penrith Brothers had the bye to score their first ever Sydney Shield competition points.
Wentworthville and St Marys are the only unbeaten teams after three rounds, with six teams separated by just one point on the ladder behind them. Blacktown and Hills District Bulls are the two teams with no points at the bottom of the table.
Round 4 action this weekend sees all five games played on Sunday – with the Belrose match against St Marys at Lionel Watts Reserve, the Asquith clash with Cabramatta at Storey Park, and the Guildford matchup with Moorebank at McCredie Park the best of the round.
Tony and HHH FM cover the Ron Massey Cup and the Sydney Shield each weekend – this week they expand their coverage to include the Intrust Super Premiership match between the North Sydney Bears and the Newcastle Knights. It kicks off at 7.30pm on Friday night from North Sydney Oval on 100.1FM or at www.triplehfm.com.au.
Then on Sunday, the team are back at Storey Park for the Asquith v Cabramatta games from 1pm (Sydney Shield) and 3pm (Ron Massey Cup) live, followed by the Belrose v St Marys Sydney Shield replay from Lionel Watts Reserve at 5pm.