WRAP | Sydney Shield Rd 6
Rams Upset Magpies
The Moorebank Rams completed their biggest win since returning to NSWRL senior competition by upsetting the previously-unbeaten Wentworthville Magpies 30-28 at Hammondville Oval last Sunday.
As was the case seven days earlier on the same ground against Penrith Brothers, the Rams exploded out of the blocks with early tries to lock Daniel Sakisi and second-rower Jake Winterstein to lead by 10 points after as many minutes.
Wentworthville responded with centre Jermaine Mati-Leifi's first try soon after, before the Rams dominated the rest of the first half with blistering attack.
Tries from former Mounties five-eighth Jake Horton and winger Ky Tak Chan gave the Rams a stunning 22-4 lead at the break.
Moorebank almost looked home and hosed when Malachi Morgan scored in the opening set to start the second half. Horton's fourth successful conversion gave the Rams a remarkable 28-4 lead.
However – again, just as seven days previously – the Rams had to face a second-half comeback. The Magpies started their revival when interchange player Muli Lasalo scored six minutes into the second stanza.
Horton then landed what become a critical penalty goal six minutes later to extend the Rams lead to 30-10. It was a penalty that Moorebank needed as the Magpies continued their fightback.
Interchange centre Dave Sisifa scored in the 57th minute, Mati-Leifi completed his double four minutes later, and former Hills District Bulls second-rower charged over for his try with 15 minutes left.
All three tries were converted by Brendan Newton to cut the Moorebank lead to 30-28 – with the Rams seemingly being run down as they were by Penrith Brothers the previous week.
However, Moorebank held on to win as Wentworthville could not finish the chances that came their way in the last 15 minutes – ending the Magpies' unbeaten start to the season.
Asquith Annihilate Hapless Brothers
The Asquith Magpies moved to the top of the Sydney Shield table on percentages at Wentworthville's expense with a 64-10 thrashing of Penrith Brothers at Storey Park.
Asquith ran riot in the first half – scoring nine first-half tries after Gibson Popoali'I scored their first in the second minute.
Sean Sabutey, Corey Browne-Higginbotham, Alipate Tani, Ngangarra Barker (twice), Sam George, Riley Travers, and Jeremy Marshall all scored first-half tries for Asquith against a token Brothers defence to lead a whopping 52-0 at half-time.
When Jale Seninawanana scored Asquith's 10th try three minutes into the second half, the possibility of a century of points loomed large as the Magpies led 56-0.
However, the Brethren galvanized their defence. A forced Asquith reshuffle that had Seninawanana and Sabutey both replaced 15 minutes into the second half to play in the later Ron Massey Cup fixture also helped slow the scoring down.
Brothers steadied play for long enough for powerful centre Michael Tuavao to score their first try in the 61st minute and save total embarrassment. Niku Apelu crashed over for the Magpies three minutes later, before both sides exchanged tries in the closing stages.
Brothers centre Vailepa Vailepa ensured that they got to double figures with his try with five minutes left, before George completed his double with two minutes left to close out the 64-10 win.
Belrose Grind out Cabramatta Win
The Belrose Eagles returned to the winner's list with a grinding 8-6 win over Cabramatta at New Era Stadium last Saturday.
In a match where defence dominated throughout, Two Blues prop Tom Grealy barged over from close range for the opening try in the 15th minute.
Belrose struck back after working their way down field nine minutes later when winger Keia Maino scored with an extravagant dive in the left corner to level scores at 4-all.
The defensive grind continued with Cabramatta half Liam O'Brien landing a penalty goal as the half-time siren sounded to give the Two Blues a 6-4 lead at the break.
Belrose centre Isaac Kassis finished a right-side raid five minutes into the second half to give Belrose an 8-6 lead - an advantage that the Eagles held for the rest of the second stanza to record a confidence-boosting win.
Both sides had chances in the second half – Cabramatta had 18 tackles in a row on Belrose's line at one point – but neither side could crack the other's defensive line through to the final whistle.
Tempers Flare as East Campbelltown Triumph
East Campbelltown stayed in the leading group on the Sydney Shield table with a 42-16 win over the Hills District Bulls - in a match that had fiery moments at Crestwood Reserve.
Eagles five-eighth Chris Standing and centre James Tautaiolefua scored early tries to give the visitors 10-0 lead after nine minutes. Bulls prop Doug Dean barged over from close range for their first try in the 12th minute to cut the Eagles' lead to 10-6.
That was as close as the Bulls got for the rest of the match as East Campbelltown's attack clicked into gear for the next 15 minutes.
Tautaiolefa completed his double in the 16th minute and former Wests Tigers and Western Suburbs fullback Shannon Gallant scored his first try to blow the Eagles lead to 20-4 after half an hour.
Bulls skipper Sam Shepherd finished off a right-side attack seven minutes from half-time to cut the Eagles lead to 20-10. East Campbelltown half Sean Connor then slotted a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time to give the visitors a 22-10 lead at the break.
Bulls interchange forward Ben Mitchell was sin-binned three minutes into the second half to set the home side back on their heels – with Gallant completing his double while the Bulls were down to 12 men to extend the Eagles' lead to 28-10.
Bulls lock Will Mitchell scored midway through the second half to raise faint hopes of a home side revival, before Standing completed his double for East Campbelltown four minutes later to snuff those hopes out at 34-16 after 62 minutes.
Connor landed his second penalty goal with 10 minutes left, and winger Daniel Muir finished off the East Campbelltown win with his try with five minutes to play to close out the 42-16 scoreline.
The match finished in controversial fashion with an all in melee as the full-time siren sounded that saw Will Mitchell sent off and East Campbelltown centre Adam Soultan sin-binned for their part in the disturbance.
Owls Leave it Late to down Sea Eagles
Finally, the Guildford Owls moved into fifth place when they overpowered Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles to win 30-14 at H.E. Laybutt Fields, Blacktown.
In a tight first half, experienced Guildford hooker Daniel Vasek scored the first try in the 15th minute to give the Owls the lead.
Blacktown struck back with tries from winger Tom Menzies and hooker Luke Chalkley to give the home side a 10-6 lead towards the end of the first half, before Guildford winger Savani Latu finished off a left-sided movement in the corner for his first try three minutes from half-time to lock up scores at 10-all at the break.
Guildford then worked their way on top in the second half with tries to centre Davis Oxley (50th minute), five-eighth Nathan Masima (63rd minute), before interchange player Matt Rickard put the Owls out of reach with his try 10 minutes from time for a 26-10 lead.
Latu completed his double with seven minutes to play for an unbeatable 30-10 Owls lead. Blacktown prop Mark Tepu-Smith barged over from close range in the final minutes to save some pride for the home side and complete the final 30-14 scoreline.
Defending Premiers St Marys had the bye and are alongside Asquith, Wentworthville and East Campbelltown on 10 points each in the leading quartet – with Asquith's better percentage placing them on top of the table for now. Blacktown Workers and Hills are still at the foot of the table on two points each.
Round Seven action sees all five matches played on Sunday this weekend – with the all Magpies 'battle of the birds' between co-leaders Wentworthville and Asquith at Ringrose Park the clear pick of the round.
Tony and HHH FM cover the Ron Massey Cup and the Sydney Shield each weekend – and will create more historic coverage as part of a 'Super Sunday' of 8 hours of NSWRL coverage this weekend.
For the first time, the HHH team will join forces with Steele Sports to simulcast the final two matches of the Intrust Super Premiership Magic Weekend at North Sydney Oval: Canterbury-Bankstown v Newcastle and North Sydney v Blacktown. This will be followed by a replay of the Sydney Shield match between the Belrose Eagles and Guildford Owls at 5.15pm, and a replay of the Intrust Super Premiership clash between Western Suburbs and Penrith.
Tune in to triplehfm.com.au on Sunday for the historic coverage.