An Eparama Navale try five minutes from fulltime ensured the Wentworthville Magpies a thrilling 16-14 win over the Glebe-Burwood Wolves in their Ron Massey Cup match at Ringrose Park last Sunday.
In a high-quality contest, Glebe-Burwood started the match in dominant fashion with the strong south-westerly breeze at their backs in the first half – making full use of Newtown Intrust Super Premiership (ISP) players Wes Lolo, Malakai Houma, Addison Demetriou and Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga coming into their line up on the Jets’ bye weekend.
Powerful centre Lachlan Stein finished a left side raid for his first try on Glebe-Burwood’s first attacking set in just the second minute, and then completed an early double when he finished off another left sided attack in the 13th minute for an 8-0 lead after Demetriou missed both of his early conversion attempts.
The visitors could not convert their first half dominance into points for the next 15 minutes, and against the run of play Wentworthville got a critical try into the stiff breeze 12 minutes from half time when versatile back rower Jack Miller – shifted out to the backline after winger Eli Roberts went off with concussion in the first half – finished off a left sided spread to score in the corner.
Beau Henry landed a superb conversion from touch into the wind to pull Wentworthville back to 8-6.
Glebe-Burwood finally made the most of their dominance on the stroke of half time when a clever Ben Marschke cross field kick saw Aufaga-Toomaga leap above Miller to take the overhead catch, then pass as he was going to ground inside to back rower Ryan King for the try. Demetriou converted from wide out to give the visitors a 14-6 half time lead.
A superb 60 metre burst from Wentworthville centre Atini Gafa in the opening set of the second half set up Wentworthville to go on immediate attack with the breeze at their backs. From a repeat goal line drop out set six minutes into the second stanza, Henry put back rower Jack Morris into a hole down the right, before the Ron Massey representative back rower fed an inside ball for Jordan Latham to score.
Henry converted to set up a tight second half with Glebe-Burwood’s lead cut to 14-12.
The second half then became a real arm wrestle played between the 20 metre lines with little or no errors and few stoppages as both sides probed for the opening.
Demetriou broke free of the shackles the home side defence placed on him all day when he charged clear of a Jesse Marschke pass down the blind side with seven minutes left. Lebanon and Ron Massey representative fullback Abbas Miski made the vital tackle that held Demetriou up and turned the ball over.
From the turnover set, Wentworthville made their way down field for a sweeping right side raid that Navale finished in the corner to give the home side the lead for the first time with five minutes left at 16-14.
Glebe-Burwood could not make the most of their last sets in the closing stages – allowing Wentworthville to run down the clock to secure their hard-fought win.
St Marys turned in easily their best display of the season so far with a hard fought 17-10 win over competition leaders Guildford at a fog covered St Marys Leagues Stadium last Saturday Night.
In scenes more akin to a northern English winter instead of outer Western Sydney, the light mist that had formed during the latter stages of the earlier Sydney Shield match became a full blown ‘pea soup’ fog by kickoff – reducing vision from one side of the field to the other and in each of the four corners of the field to nearly zero.
St Marys shrugged off the foggy conditions to open the scoring in the fifth minute – when hooker Soni Luke put through a neat grubber for prop Tom Romer to score the opening try. Robert Vai converted for a 6-0 lead to the home side.
Guildford replied immediately on their first attack of the night in the eighth minute when a perfectly weighted Josh Lewis cross field kick found winger Daniel Lotu who scored in the right corner to cut the St Marys lead to 6-4.
There was no further addition to the score in the first half as both sides’ formidable forward packs – minus Guidlford’s Taniela Lasalo who did not play – fought an even battle through the middle. Both halves Lewis and St Marys’ Lazarus Brown also having steady games on their respective returns from. injury in the foggy conditions.
Guildford fullback Dominic Reardon made the only decent break before half time when he made a 50-metre bust eight minutes before the interval.
Three minutes into the second half, Reardon again made his presence felt when he finished off a sharp break and support movement behind the S Marys Marker defence with a brilliant 30 metre dash to score sunder the posts. Lewis added the extras and Guildford had the lead for the first time at 10-6.
The match then became a long arm wrestle as both sides – particularly the St Marys defence – held firm against the other.
After St Marys worked into field position in the 57th minute, a high Brown mid field bomb on the last tackle saw backrower Siosifa Talakai come through on chase, snatch the ball from Latu and dash 25 metres to score to score near the posts. Vai converted and St Marys regained the lead at 12-10.
Guildford had chances as the match moved into the final quarter – hooker Daniel Vasek being stopped just short of the goal line – before the fog remarkably lifted with 15 minutes to play.
After weathering the storm, St Marys mounted their own pressure on the visitors in forcing a repeat set from a goal line drop out in the 69th minute. From the drop out set, a right-side shift through quick hands sent winger Ethan McPherson away to score what became the match winning try near the right corner for a 16-10 lead.
Makeshift five eighth Shanan Wood then calmly slotted a 28-metre field goal with five minutes left to secure St Marys’ 17-10 victory.
Mounties moved into third position on the Massey Cup ladder with a grinding 22-6 win over Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles in the rain at Aubrey Keech Reserve last Friday Night.
After a tight start, Massey Cup representative winger Jordan Martin opened the scoring with his first try in the 16th minute. Maurice Kennedy added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
As the match became a slog through the middle, the home side extended the lead 10 minutes before half time when hard working back rower Rusty Bristow scored wide out for a 10-0 advantage – a lead Mounties held to the half time break.
Blacktown suffered a serious blow 14 minutes into the second half when class fullback Jake Pickering had to leave the field with a leg injury – severely hampering the visitors’ attack as both sides worked hard to maintain control in the wet and slippery conditions.
Despite losing Pickering, Blacktown got back into the match with stand in five eighth Denzal Tonise’s try in the 57th minute. Kamren Cryer converted to cut the Mounties lead back to 10-6.
However, a turnover shortly afterwards allowed Mounties to respond with Martin’s second try four minutes later for a 14-6 lead. The home side then ground their way to victory in the final 15 minutes as Blacktown made more errors in the conditions.
Kennedy landed a penalty goal with nine minutes left for an 16-6 lead, before centre Tony Satini finally sealed the win with his try in the final minute, which Kennedy converted for their 22-6 win.
Cabramatta kept their place on the edge of the Top Four with a comfortable 38-8 win over Hills District Bulls at New Era Stadium last Saturday.
In a tight opening period, the Bulls lost class half Nick Holliday in the fourth minute with a serious left wrist injury that set the visitors’ attack back on their heels.
Cabramatta then broke the early stalemate in the 19th minute when a well-placed Jake Butfield cross kick was taken well by centre Isaiah Tass for his first try and a 4-0 lead.
The home side then applied the pressure to the Bulls defence, forcing a turnover in the 29th minute for star recruit Frank Prtichard to pick up a loose ball and burst over almost untouched under the posts. Butfield converted for a 10-0 lead.
The Bulls looked to have struck back five minutes from half time when winger Will Butler looked to have taken an intercept and dashed 60 metres to score – only for the try to be disallowed by referee Daniel Luttringer for dropping the ball in goal when attempting to score the try.
From the 20-metre restart set, a Butfield stab kick in goal was fumbled by the Bulls cover straight to Tass who scored his second try. Butfield converted to give Cabramatta a handy 16-0 half time lead.
The Bulls applied sustained pressure to start the second half and were rewarded when winger Aaron Weston scored their first try wide out to get the visitors on the board at 16-4.
Recent Bulls recruit Ben Falcone then brilliantly followed his own in goal grubber kick from close range in the 55th minute to score his first try for the club. Mitch Hyde missed his second conversion – but the Bulls had cut the margin back to 16-8.
A Bulls turnover and subsequent Cabramatta penalty then swung the match back to the home side, with interchange centre Moses Manu scoring from the penalty set to keep the Bulls at bay with a 22-8 lead after Butfield converted.
From the restart set, Manu then burst clear and dashed 50 metres down the left side to score his second try in three minutes to virtually put the game to bed at 28-8 with Butfield’s conversion.
After more Cabramatta pressure forced a line drop out in the 67th minute, hooker Tom Harris burrowed over from close range at the end of the line drop out set to make sure of the win at 34-8 after Butfield landed his fifth conversion.
A spectacular length of the field movement was then finished off by winger Jamon Wormleaton with three minutes to play to close out Cabramatta’s 38-8 win.
Finally, a late Brendan Waters field goal was just enough for Western Suburbs to edge out a gallant Penrith Brothers 23-22 at Hickeys Lane, Penrith last Sunday.
Wests fired out of the blocks with early tries from centre Kelsey Coakes and then Waters for a 12-0 lead after just eight minutes with Kurt Aldridge converting both early tries.
Brothers then stemmed the flow when five eighth Kurt Falls scored their first try in the 13th minute which he duly converted to cut Wests’ lead to 12-6.
Wests again threatened to run away with the match when winger Jesse Allan scored his try in the corner for a 16-6 lead after 20 minutes.
Brothers again came back late in the first half with opposite winger Geoff Duku’s try two minutes from half time cutting the Wests lead to 16-10 at the break.
The home side’s comeback was then completed when backrower Quinn Ma’aelopa finished off sustained pressure with his try 10 minutes into the second half. Falls converted to level scores at 16-all.
The match became then became a real battle for most of the second half as both sides could not crack the others’ defence, with the deadlock being carried into the final 10 minutes.
Waters then landed the critical field goal with eight minutes to play to regain Wests the lead. From the restart set, Coakes scored his second try with five minutes to play. Aldridge concerted to give Wests a 23-16 buffer.
Brothers had the last word when hooker Alec Leitch scored from close range out of dummy half in the final minute. Falls converted to cut the Wests lead back to 23-22, but the final siren sounded before a possible restart and any hope of a Brothers miracle.
Asquith enjoyed the bye.
Despite their defeat, Guildford still lead a tight Massey Cup table on for and against percentage from Wentworthville on 14 points, with Mounties move up to third on 13, with Glebe-Burwood on 12. Cabramatta and Asquith are next on 11 and St Marys on 10.
Wests’ win moves them into the Top Eight on seven points, while Brothers are at the foot of the table with their four points.
Round 10 starts on Friday Night when Wests and Cabramatta have an all-Magpies clash at Campbelltown Stadium, then continues Saturday with the Glebe-Burwood meeting with Mounties at Henson Park and the much-anticipated Blacktown Workers match with Asquith at Norford Park, Sefton.
The round concludes on Sunday with the local derby between St Marys and Penrith Brothers at St Marys, and the annual Nathan Gremmo Memorial Shield match between Hills District Bulls and Guildford at Crestwood Reserve.
Tony and HHH FM cover the Ron Massey Cup and the Sydney Shield each weekend – and will be at Lionel Watts Reserve this Sunday for the Sydney Shield match between the Belrose Eagles and Moorebank Rams from 3:00pm on 100.1FM and via web streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au.