A Jaydn Field try and Mason McCarthy conversion with seven minutes to play saw the Guildford Owls force a thrilling 24-all draw with the vastly improved Moorebank Rams in the Sydney Shield match played at McCredie Park last Sunday.
The see-sawing nature of the match was established early when the opening try in the seventh minute by experienced Owls hooker Alec Bush was cancelled out by the replying Moorebank try from centre Ky Tak Chan eight minutes later.
Tyrone Faulkner's first try extended Guildford's lead to 12-4 after 20 minutes, with Nathan Masima's second conversion, before the Rams struck back hard in their best period of the contest.
Quick tries to second rower Jake Winterstein and winger Alvin Maungaati at the back end of the first half gave Moorebank a handy 14-12 lead at the break.
Former Mounties five-eighth Jake Norton extended the Rams lead in the opening set of the second half, and when Winterstein completed his double four minutes later for a 24-12 lead, Moorebank looked well on top.
Pule Sua's poor day with the boot – he only landed two goals from five attempts – then came back to haunt the Rams as Guildford mounted their second half comeback.
Faulkner completed his double with 20 minutes left. McCarthy – on the field as Masima's replacement – converted to set up a thrilling last quarter of the match.
After both sides had chances, Field landed the telling blow with his late try with McCarthy's conversion to level the scores. Both sides could not land a possible winning field goal in the dying stages as the match ended in stalemate – with Moorebank having to settle for a back to back draws on consecutive weekends.
A remarkable hat-trick in the space of just eight minutes before half time from 'super-sub' St Marys hooker Ray Maroun ensured that the defending Shield Premiers overcame Belrose 26-8 in their match at Lionel Watts Reserve last Sunday.
In a tough contest throughout, both forward packs got into the arm wrestle in the first half – with Belrose taking a hard fought 4-0 lead when lock Daniel Martin scored the opening try in the 20th minute.
However, the injection of Maroun into the contest by St Marys coach and former Penrith NRL Premiership player Luke Swain 10 minutes from half time eventually turned the game on its head.
Maroun cut through the normally tight Belrose defence with tries in the 31st, 35th and 39th minutes – all of which were converted by Isaac Thompson – to turn a 4-nil deficit into an 18-4 half time lead.
Belrose backrower Cody Abrahams gave the Eagles some hope when he finished off some sustained home side attack with his try in the 57th minute to cut the Premiers' lead back to 18-8, before a Belrose turnover led to Saints fullback Marlon Ritchie scoring the steadying try four minutes later.
The Saints then controlled play well enough to hold Belrose at bay in the last 20 minutes, with winger Alan Fitzgibbon's try with three minutes left making sure of the two competition points to keep the Premiers' unbeaten start to the season intact.
The Wentworthville Magpies maintained their unbeaten start to the season with an easy 46-6 trouncing of newcomers Penrith Brothers at Ringrose Park last Sunday morning.
The early 9:00am kickoff – forced by a full bill of Jersey Flegg, Ron Massey Cup and Intrust Super Premiership matches that followed on a bumper program – didn't affect the Magpies at all as they got off to an explosive start.
Winger Troy Black opened the scoring in the fifth minute, before giant centre Junior Rika on a return to Ringrose Park bagged a first half double to set Wenty on their way.
Five eighth Jayson Lombardo, second rower Solomone Lasalo along with younger brother Muil Lasalo all scored first half tries against the hapless Brothers defence as the Magpies led 20-nil after 20 minutes, and 30-nil at half time to kill the game off as a contest.
When Black completed his double six minutes into the second half and Rameses Tuipulotu scored seven minutes later, the Magpies were threatening to rack up a monster score with a 40-nil lead and still 25 minutes to play.
Wenty then went into cruise control as the match got scrappy, and the Brethren came back to post their only points when hooker Nathan Douet scored their only try with 20 minutes left.
Makeshift prop Adam Spicer closed out the easy Wenty win with his try six minutes from time.
The Asquith Magpies stayed in third place on the Shield table with a comfortable 40-20 win over the Cabramatta Two Blues in the match at Storey Park last Sunday.
After dominating the first 10 minutes, Asquith finally cracked the Two Blues defence when hooker Treymaine Brown's strolled over untouched from dummy half for the opening try in the 14th minute.
Cabramatta matched Asquith for long periods in the first half and replied with Liam O'Brien's try four minutes later – which he duly converted to level scores at 6-all.
The Magpies backline then cut loose with brilliant tries from Jale Seninawanana, Jeremy Marshall and Ngangarra Barker to lead 20-6 at half-time.
Asquith then made the most of Cabramatta interchange prop Logan Gladdish being sin binned by referee Tom Cambourn following a skirmish at the start of the second half – with Barker completing his double from the ensuing penalty set for a commanding 26-6 lead after Vinny Ngaro's second conversion.
The Bulls got off to an early flyer with tries to second rower Jake Curran and centre Josh Mar giving the Bulls a 10-nil lead after just 14 minutes when Andre Rossini converted Mar's try.
Blacktown came back with Caibryn Keating's try midway through the first half, before an Alex Laboulet penalty goal on the stroke of half time gave the Bulls a 12-4 lead at the break.
The Workers Sea Eagles then blitzed the Bulls with three tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half to take control of the match.
Prop Anson Naati barged over from close range, before centre Skippy Lipano and bench player Tom Menzies scored tries – all converted by Jackson Whitby – to give Blacktown a 22-12 lead with 20 minutes to play.
The Bulls raised a comeback effort when backrower Matt Morgan scored and Curran converted with seven minutes left to set up a tight finish at 22-18.
Blacktown held on in defence in the closing stages to secure their win - keeping the Bulls winless from their first four starts in a steep learning curve for rookie co-coaches Heath L'Estrange and Feleti Mateo.
East Campbelltown enjoyed the bye.
Wentworthville and St Marys remain unbeaten on eight points at the top of the Shield table, ahead of Asquith and East Campbelltown on six. The Bulls have no points at the foot of the ladder.
Round 5 games this weekend sees three matches on Saturday and two games on Sunday – with the St Marys clash with East Campbelltown on Saturday and Guildford's meeting with Asquith on Sunday at McCredie Park on Sunday the pick of the round.
Tony and HHH FM cover the Ron Massey Cup and the Sydney Shield each weekend – this week, the team are back at Lionel Watts Reserve for the Sydney Shield clash between the Belrose Eagles and the Hills District Bulls live on Sunday at 3:00pm on 100.1FM or at www.triplehfm.com.au