The Guildford Owls moved to outright leaders in the Ron Massey Cup with an emphatic 26-0 shutout of a depleted Glebe-Burwood Wolves at Goddard Park, Concord last Sunday.
After a tight opening 20 minutes, the Owls broke through with lock Dylan McKeown scoring the opening try in the 23rd minute.
With former Parramatta Eels Matt Ryan and Taniela Lasalo leading the way, the Owls worked their way on top with tries from fullback Dominic Reardon and winger Yahia Masri late in the first half to take a handy 18-0 lead to the break after Troy Errington converted all three first half tries.
The Wolves – missing Latrell Schaumkel, Willis Meehan and Penani Manumalelii due to suspension from their reports and dismissals the previous week against Cabramatta, plus half Jesse Marschke to injury – tried hard with a patched-up side that included regular second rower Ryan King playing at half back.
However, the spare parts Wolves outfit were no match for Guildford who made sure of their win with second-half tries from interchange players Caleb Hunt and Tangirere Hokai.
Hokai's try inside the last 15 minutes completed the 26-0 scoreline to send the Owls to the top of the Massey Cup table – plus securing the Owls a berth against Dubbo CYMS in the NSWRL Challenge Cup Final during the Massey Cup general Bye weekend in a fortnight.
A second half attacking blitz by Wentworthville powered the defending Massey Cup Premiers to an equally emphatic 50-14 thrashing of an injury ravaged and ill-disciplined Asquith in the all-Magpies 'battle of the birds' at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
Wentworthville began brilliantly with former Asquith and North Sydney Bears fullback Abbas Miski scoring the opening try in just the second minute, only to see Asquith second rower Kurt Horton get the reply for the visitors four minutes later.
Asher Veamatahau's conversion gave Asquith a 6-4 lead – the only time the visiting Magpies led all day.
Wentworthville gave a sign of things to come when a first half double from half Beau Henry either side of a try from lock Daniel Dole saw the home side skip out to a 22-6 advantage.
Asquith rallied – despite losing prop Max Bailey and half Matt Place to first half injury – through a try to diminutive interchange half Kyle Tukapua on the stroke of half time to cut the Wenty lead to 22-10 at the break.
Asquith had further hopes of a full revival when Veamatahau scored in their opening set of the second half to pull scores back to 22-14 – but that was as close as they came for the remainder of the contest.
As the visitors' discipline cracked under the weight of a 15-6 caning in the penalty count by referee Martin Jones, Wentworthville broke the game open with tries from winger Eli Roberts and five eighth Dylan Izzard virtually sealing the two points for Wenty at 34-14 after Henry converted both tries.
Asquith's woes got worse when lock Jacob Samoa was sin binned midway through the second half. The defending Premiers took full advantage with Roberts completing his double and hooker Brad Dietz scoring while Samoa was off the field.
With seven minutes left, Izzard scored the last Wenty try to complete his double – and send out a message to the rest of the Massey Cup competition. Henry's seventh and last conversion brought up the home side's half century and gave the halfback a personal tally of 22 points.
A 79th minute penalty goal from five eighth Kurt Falls secured newcomers Penrith Brothers a dramatic and historic 26-25 win over Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in their match at Hickeys Lane last Sunday.
The match started according to the form book as brilliant Blacktown fullback Jake Pickering opened the scoring with his sixth try of the season in the fourth minute.
However – in a sign of their improved recent form – the Brethren came back with a double from centre Troy Bendell to take a 12-6 lead after 27 minutes.
Blacktown then took control for the rest of the first half with tries from hooker Joey Tramontana and former Gold Coast Titans centre Leva Li to regain the lead.
Blacktown five eighth Kamren Cryer then added to his perfect day with the boot with a neat field goal on the stroke of half time to give the Workers Sea Eagles a 19-12 lead at the break.
In what became a tight and absorbing second half, giant Brothers prop Penita Tuavao crashed over from close range eight minutes into the second half to reduce the Blacktown lead to 19-18, before both sides could not crack the other's defence for the next 20 minutes.
Blacktown looked to have gained the vital break with nine minutes to play when Dylan Kelly scored for Cryer to convert, giving the Workers a seven-point buffer at 25-18.
Brothers lock Harrison Coskerie finished off the home sides' next frantic attack with five minutes left to again pull the Brethren back to 25-24, before the fateful penalty with under two minutes to play.
Falls made no mistake to land his fifth goal from five attempts, before Brothers held possession from the short Blacktown restart to close out the Brethren's first ever Ron Massey Cup win.
A second half revival – inspired by the shock comeback from retirement of former Penrith, Canterbury, Hull and New Zealand star Frank Pritchard – saw Cabramatta topple Western Suburbs 14-12 at Campbelltown Stadium last Saturday.
After signing his Ron Massey Cup only contract for the rest of 2018 with Cabramatta during last week, the decorated 34-year-old veteran of 256 NRL First Grade games, two NRL Grand Finals for Canterbury, an English Challenge Cup win with Hull and a combined 35 Tests for New Zealand and Samoa started the match on the interchange bench.
Wests made the most of Pritchard's absence with an early double from fullback Isaac Rabuatoka giving the Magpies a 12-nil lead after half an hour with Kurt Aldridge converting both tries.
Pritchard's injection had the desired effect when Two Blues winger Brent Anderson scored in the corner in the shadows of half time to cut the Wests lead to 12-4 at the break.
The Two Blues then ground their way on top as the match became an arm wrestle in the second half.
Cabramatta lock Tala Mapesone scored against his old club in the 58th minute, before classy representative fullback Don Thompson, scored what became the match winning try five minutes later – adding the critical conversion that gave the Two Blues their 14-12 lead.
Both sides had chances in the closing stages, with the Cabramatta defence just holding firm for long enough to secure their victory.
Finally, the St Marys Saints returned to the winner's list with a 28-0 win over the Hills District Bulls at Crestwood Reserve last Sunday in the second shutout of the round.
The Saints started will when five eighth Jake Toby scored the first of his two tries in the sixth minute, with winger Chris Aunese-Scanlan crossing for his first try late in the first half to give the visitors a 12-nil half time lead.
The Bulls had ample opportunities to work their way back into the match in the second half, but could not execute their last tackle options well enough to crack the Saints' defensive line.
St Marys then made the most of their chances in the last 15 minutes with Toby completing his double, interchange forward Tevita Mapapalangi crashing over from close range to secure the two points for a 22-nil lead.
Aunese-Scanlan completed his double with seven minutes left to complete the 28-nil scoreline. Saints fullback Robert Vai landed four conversions from attempts with the boot.
Mounties enjoyed the Bye.
Guildford's top of the table win sees the Owls on 12 points, with Glebe-Burwood and Wentworthville on 10 points sharing second, with Mounties and Asquith and a point further back on nine. Despite their historic win, Brothers are still at the foot of the table on four points, behind the Bulls on percentage.
Round Eight action this weekend kicks off with the Wests clash with Guildford at Lidcombe Oval on Saturday as part of the 'Back to Lidcombe' day, and the other four matches on Sunday – with Asquith's clash with Mounties at Storey Park the best of the Sunday action.
Tony and HHH FM cover the Ron Massey Cup and the Sydney Shield each weekend – and will be back at Storey Park, Asquith this Sunday for the Asquith Magpies match ups against the Moorebank Rams at 1pm in Sydney Shield and Mounties at 3pm in Ron Massey Cup.
Both of Sunday's games can be heard on 100.1FM and via web streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au.