The Wentworthville Magpies have risen to take their third successive victory in the 2018 Intrust Super Premiership NSW, defeating the Western Suburbs Magpies 26-6 at Ringrose Park.
While the Western Suburbs side had to deal with the departure of halfback Josh Drinkwater and NRL-bound winger Mahe Fonua - two of their best in 2018 so far - Wentworthville welcomed back the likes of Cameron King, Josh Hoffman and Siosaia Vave. The trio's experience made all the difference for the home side, with all three scoring tries including a double for Hoffman.
Match: Magpies v Magpies
Round 8 -
Venue: Ringrose Park
Both sides had their chances in the opening exchanges, with errors to blame for a scoreless 18 minutes. Among them was a misdirected Watson Heleta offload which could have earned Western Suburbs the first points, while Wentworthville's best chance came when Vave appeared to send Hoffman over untouched - only for the inside ball to be called forward.
When Arana Taumata forced a dropout - and Tyson Gamble's ensuing kicked sailed into touch on the full - it gave Wentworthville another golden opportunity. After Vave went close to muscling his way over, fellow late inclusion Cameron King managed to score from dummy-half, breaking the deadlock.
The restart saw Gamble kick the ball out on the full again, giving Wentworthville more time in strong field position. After back-to-back penalties, the home side opted to take the shot at goal, Davis calmly kicking his way to an eight-point lead.
Half-breaks to Wentworthville's Brad Deitz and Western Suburbs' Ofisa Seufale followed, but neither resulted in more points, maintaining an 8-0 half-time score.
Wentworthville looked to go on with the job in the second stanza and got on the scoreboard again with an early try to Hoffman. The fullback was the beneficiary of a close-range grubber which deflected of an opposition pair of legs before being regathered and passed to the Kiwi international. With Davis' conversion, he extended the lead to 14.
The stoppages continued at regular intervals, with poor discipline and handling errors preventing further additions to the score. That changed in the 56th minute when, on a left-side movement, Intrust Super Premiership debutant Gus Garzaniti provided a nice short ball for Luke Garner to race through and score. The visitors moved back within eight when Gamble successfully converted.
Western Suburbs looked like narrowing the gap further when Chris McQueen dived over in the north-eastern corner, but the former Maroons representative was ruled to have stepped out en route to the tryline.
Wentworthville's Nathan Milone looked threatening in converting two kick returns into line-breaks, being dragged down on both occasions - but it would be rampaging forward Vave who would score the side's third. Vave, who had looked threatening for the game's duration, finally muscled his way over under the sticks to put the game to bed.
After a pin-point kick from Arana Taumata gave Wentworthville more field position, Hoffman made the most of the opportunity to score his second. Slicing through the downtrodden Western Suburbs defence late in the contest, Hoffman's try brought the final score to 26-6.
Wentworthville Magpies 26 (J Hoffman 2, C King, S Vave tries; N Davis 5 goals) def Western Suburbs Magpies 6 (L Garner try; T Gamble goal)