In-form Western Suburbs five-eighth Tyson Gamble has turned in a starring performance to lead the Magpies to a 26-18 win over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the sides' Round 14 Intrust Super Premiership NSW clash.
Match: Magpies v Sea Eagles
Round 14 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Scoring the match's first try before having a hand in three of the Magpies' other four-pointers, Gamble lead from the front, as outside back Braden Robson crossed for a treble in the eight-point win.
Morning drizzle ensured handling was tough for both sides, but with both teams fresh up from a Round 13 Bye, fatigue was no excuse.
Despite falling on the afternoon, it was the Workers Sea Eagles who were first to post points – Joey Lussick finishing off a Cade Cust bust to cross for a well-worked team try, under the posts.
Jackson Hastings made light work of the ensuing conversation, as Blacktown went out 6-0.
Three tries in a 10-minute window had the 'home' side well on top – five-eighth Tyson Gamble playing a lead role in quickly turning the six-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
Deep on the attack, Gamble kicked – looking for the in-goal area – but a fortunate ricochet had the Steeden back in his arms and over the line before Blacktown had a chance to react. Gamble converted his own try to level the scores at 6-apiece.
Full of energy on the back of points, the Magpies marched up field and again it was Gamble's boot which provided points.
As he had intended to earlier, Gamble rolled the ball behind the Blacktown try line, and an error by Blacktown fullback Jade Anderson gifted Braden Robson a try. Again, Gamble converted to send the scoreline to 12-6, Magpies the better.
Robson soon had a double when Gamble dinked a chipping kick over the Blacktown defensive line, the bounce a perfect one for the makeshift centre to score.
The No.6 couldn't add the extras from wide out, ensuring the Magpies maintained their 16-6 advantage, 18 minutes played.
Needing a spark, it was the Workers Sea Eagles' Cust who again turned provider. Taking on the Magpies' defensive line deep into the tackle count, Cust kicked long towards the try line, and it was Blacktown centre Tevita Funa first to the ball to score a much-needed try.
Hastings converted, lessening the deficit to just four points, as the sides returned to the sheds with 40 minutes behind them.
Western Suburbs returned to action and, disappointed with letting Blacktown score in the shadows of half-time, set out to build upon their lead – and that they did, courtesy of winger Harry O'Toole who finished a short-side raid.
O'Toole proved too quick and too strong to muscle his way in for points, having collected a catch-and-pass from his inside man Toni Tali, who in turn received possession from hooker Jacob Liddle's darting run.
Gamble couldn't add the extras from out wide, kicking into an at-times swirling breeze in Sydney's inner-west, and the score remained 20-12.
Gamble's miss mattered little though, as the Magpies built upon their lead when Robson went in for his third try of the afternoon.
Robson's hat-trick was sealed with thanks in no small part to Gamble and fullback Lucas Price, who linked with passes to create space for their outside man.
Gamble slotted the goal from the sideline, taking the score to 26-12 with 18 minutes to play.
A late consolation try to Blacktown prop FJ Muala cut the full-time margin to eight, with Western Suburbs moving to within two competition points of ladder-leaders Mounties, who themselves enjoy a Bye in Round 14.
WESTERN SUBURBS 26 (B Robson 3 T Gamble H O'Toole tries Gamble 3 goals) bt BLACKTOWN 18 (J Lussick T Funa FJ Muala tries J Hastings 3 goals)