CABRAMATTA STAY IN SHIELD TOP EIGHT
The Cabramatta Two Blues stayed in the Sydney Shield top eight when they overcame an ill-disciplined Hills District Bulls to win 28-12 at New Era Stadium.
The match started off well enough for the home side when halfback Jayden Yates put through a neat grubber kick for winger Siaosi Keates to score his first try.
Yates then burrowed over from close range himself after more sustained Cabramatta pressure in the 14th minute to double the home side’s lead to 8-0.
The Bulls then put together their best attacking period of the match – starting in the 21st minute when hooker Joel Bradford snatched an intercept and dashed 50 metres to score the visitors’ first. Brock Pelligra converted to cut the Cabramatta lead to 8-6.
A long break by Bulls back-rower Ben Valu in the 27th minute led to Cabramatta conceding a goal-line dropout. At the end of the ensuing set, the Bulls switched play back to the left for winger Liam Walker to score in the corner. Pelligra converted to give the Bulls a 12-8 lead.
The Bulls then absorbed tremendous Cabramatta pressure for the rest of the first half, during which lock JP Hannawe was sin-binned by referee Tim Hannon for a professional foul. It was the first of six sin bins that Hannon was forced to deal out, in a sign of things to come in the second half.
The Bulls, nonetheless, held out until half-time to lead 12-8 at the break.
The Bulls did themselves no favours when turning the ball over in the opening set of the second half. From there – just as Hannawe we returning from the bin – a clever switch back to the left channel by Cabramatta saw Matt Tomkins send Keates away for his second try to level scores at 12-all.
The Bulls were reduced to 12 men again when referee Hannon sent interchange forward Will Mitchell to the sin bin for alleged repeated infringements at the ruck on Cabramatta’s next attacking set.
From the ensuing penalty, Cabramatta forward Kakapuna Futu was held up short of the line – before Tomkins barged over from dummy-half on the next tackle to regain the lead at 16-12.
After forcing another repeat set in the 50th minute, Cabramatta extended their lead to 20-12 when Keates scored his second try wide out for the home side’s third in the first 10 minutes of the second stanza.
Just as Will Mitchell was returning from the bin, his brother and Bulls back-rower Jack Mitchell became the next player binned by referee Hannon for starting a melee under the Cabramatta posts.
Cabramatta made the most of another one-man advantage presented to them during the second half when an in-goal Yates grubber kick in the 58th minute was allowed to bounce by the backpedalling Bulls cover. Yates pounced on the bouncing ball to complete his hat-trick for a 24-12 Cabramatta lead.
Another flare-up started just as Jack Mitchell returned from the bin after the Bulls got an offside penalty – with Tomkins and Bulls centre Sam Shepherd the next players to be banished by referee Hannon to the sin bin for starting that melee.
Both sides then kept their cool for long enough for the last 15 minutes to be completed without any further flare ups. With two minutes left, Cabramatta launched one last attack down the left for centre Jason Jana to score near the corner.
Jack Mitchell allowed his frustrations to get the better of him when he was sin binned for dissent in the aftermath of the try – his second stint in the bin in the second half, and the sixth and final sin-binning of the match.
After Yates and five-eighth Pat Dumont missed the first six conversion attempts between them, Mustapha El Oueik hit the upright with his conversion attempt to close out the 28-12 Cabramatta win.
Magpies Put Away Eagles
High-scoring wins were a feature of the rest of the round.
Wentworthville stayed on top of the Sydney Shield ladder on percentage with a 44-10 win over Belrose at Ringrose Park.
After lock Adam Spicer scored the opening try for Wentworthville in the fourth minute, Belrose came back when interchange back Liam Christensen got their reply in the 10th minute to pull scores back to 6-4.
Wentworthville winger Rameses Tuipulotu extended the home side’s lead with his first try in the 16th minute, before interchange player Inoke Vunipola’s first try 15 minutes from half-time built a 16-4 lead with Brendon Newton’s second conversion.
Belrose worked hard to stay in touch and were rewarded in the 10 minutes leading up to half-time when centre Beau Abrahams leapt high to score five minutes from the interval. Christensen converted to cut the Wentworthville lead back to 16-10 at the break.
When hooker Matt Collins burrowed over to score two minutes into the second half on Wentworthville’s first attack of the second stanza, the home side had a 22-10 lead after Newton added the extras.
Belrose fought hard in defence, and did well to hold the competition leaders for nearly 20 minutes until Tuipulotu bagged his second try midway through the second half for a 26-10 lead.
Spent with all the defence they had to complete, Belrose could not take the half-chances that came their way in the second half. Wentworthville then broke the Belrose resistance with Tuipulotu’s hat-trick try in the 70th minute.
The home side then went on with the job in the closing stages, with Vunipola completing his double and winger Arthur Tupou scoring in the last minute to complete the 44-10 win.
Former Lebanese international five-eighth James Boustani marked his first starting game in black and white colours in four years with two of the last three conversions.
Moorebank Ram Home with Big Win
The Moorebank Rams maintained their place in the top eight with a 56-20 disposal of the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles at Hammondville Oval.
Blacktown got off to the perfect start when second-rower Sione Kaivelata got the opening try in the second minute.
That was as far as the visitors got as the Rams then clicked into gear, with winger Ky Tak Chan’s first 12 minutes later.
Playing the free-flowing attack that has seen them become the biggest surprise packet of the season, the Rams went on a scoring spree for the rest of the first half against a token Blacktown resistance.
Tries from backrower Dalton Smith (16th minute), winger Alvin Maungaati (20th) and fullback Josh Wilkinson (26th) gave the Rams a comfortable lead, before Chan completed a first-half hat-trick with two tries in three minutes from successive sets to virtually decide the match.
Powerful centre Uala Salia scored his first try five minutes from half-time to give the Rams a remarkable 38-4 lead at the break. Nikau Williams landed five first half conversions for Moorebank.
When Salia completed his double five minutes into the second half to bring up the Rams 40 points, the match threatened to become a Moorebank procession at 42-4.
Blacktown then came back to add some respect by taking advantage of Moorebank’s habit of releasing pressure in second halves this year.
Interchange players Mark Griffiths (50th minute) and Tekaiatia Taia (56th) got the visitors into double figures at 42-14 after Jackson Whitby converted Taia’s try.
The Rams then re-asserted their dominance with Wilkinson’s second try. Lock Logan Hauff then brought up Moorebank’s half century with his try in the 63rd minute for a 52-14 lead.
Blacktown fullback Tom Menzies got a late consolation try for the visitors, before Wilkinson completed his hat-trick with two minutes left to close out the Rams’ big win.
Saints Make Light Work of Owls
Defending Premiers St Marys easily accounted for an undermanned Guildford 50-6 at St Marys Leagues Stadium.
With the visitors only having a two-man interchange bench and a 15-man rotation for various reasons, it was always going to be difficult against the defending premiers.
The early exchanges bore this out when St Marys took an early 12-0 lead after 18 minutes with tries to Dylan McBain (10th minute) and Marlon Ritchie (16th) that were both converted by Aiden Glanville.
Guildford fought gamely with their reduced complement and got their reward when five-eighth Nathan Masima scored in the 24th minute and duly converted to cut the St Marys lead to 12-6.
St Marys’ extra numbers in bench strength then told in the last five minutes of the first half – with interchange players Ben Cartwright and Ryan Pritchard scoring critical tries that Glanville converted to give the home side a comfortable 24-6 half-time lead.
With a mist descending on the surface that would develop into a full-blown fog for the Ron Massey Cup match that followed, St Marys slowly but surely ground Guildford down – who still made the Premiers earn their tries.
Another bench player in James Owen got the first try for the home side just six minutes into the second half before Glanville burst over through an already-tiring Guildford defence 10 minutes later.
St Marys winger Etuate Qionimacawa then made sure of the two competition points with his try with 18 minutes to play for a 38-6 lead.
Winger Allan Fitzgibbon then finished off the premiers’ win with a late double in the last 10 minutes against a spent Guildford defence. Glanville converted both tries to bring up the St Marys half century at 50-6 and finish with a personal tally of 18 points.
East Campbelltown Overcome Stubborn Penrith
Finally, a 12-man East Campbelltown Eagles outfit had to work hard to overcome stubborn Penrith Brothers resistance before a flood of late tries closed out a 42-22 win at Hickeys Lane, Penrith last Sunday.
The early exchanges seemed to be going as per the form book with winger Daniel Muir scored his first try in the second minute, and hooker Vinny Ripepi burrowed over from close range after more sustained attack shortly afterwards for an 8-0 lead.
Brothers then came back when lock Nathan Douet finished off an attacking movement to get the home side on the board, before East Campbelltown half Sean Connor snatched an intercept and dashed 80 metres to score in the 20th minute for a 12-4 lead.
Eagles five-eighth Chris Standing was then sin-binned to reduce the visitors to 12 men for the first time – inviting the home side back into the game. The invitation was accepted whilst Standing was in the bin, when giant centre Michael Tuavao scored his first try to pull the margin back to 12-8.
East Campbelltown then held firm until Standing returned, before Muir bagged his second try in the shadows of half-time to take a 16-8 lead into the break.
The flash point came 13 minutes into the second half when East Campbelltown interchange player Adam Soultan was sent off for a dangerous high shot – reducing the visitors down to 12 men. Masi Paul Fidow slotted the penalty goal from the dismissal to reduce the East Campbelltown lead to 16-10.
Brothers then took control for the next 10 minutes against the rattled 12-man East Campbelltown outfit.
Tuavao competed his double to level the scores, before Fidow scored a superb solo try to give the home side the lead for the first time at 22-16 with 19 minutes to play after the five-eighth converted both tries.
However, just as the upset of the Sydney Shield season loomed large, the 12 men on the field for East Campbelltown showed why they co-lead the competition with a devastating burst of attack to blow the home side away.
Pint-sized winger Craig Moustakas scored wide out to get the visitors back to 22-20, before centre Amanono Tovio scored to put the Eagles back in front after Connor landed the visitors’ first conversion from six attempts for the day.
Centre partner Alapati Potifara then scored a brilliant double in the space of five minutes to extend the lead to 36-22 after Shannon Gallant converted his second try.
Muir finished off the stunning blitzkrieg of five tries in 18 minutes against the shell-shocked Brothers defence when he completed his hat-trick in the final minute. Connor converted to complete the stunning 42-22 win for an East Campbelltown side that played 37 of the 80 minutes with 12 men.
Asquith Magpies enjoyed the bye to finish their three-week mid-year break.
Wentworthville, East Campbelltown and St Marys still hold their three-way tie for the ladder lead on 16 points, maintaining the four-point gap to Asquith and Moorebank on 12 points.
Brothers’ defeat still sees the Penrith based outfit last on percentages with their four points.
Round 10 commences on Saturday with the highly-charged match between the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles and Asquith Magpies at Norford Park – with the other four games set down for Sunday.
Joint runaway leaders East Campbelltown and Wentworthville square off in the annual Ben Stevens Memorial Cup game at Waminda Oval as the standout Sunday fixture.
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 3pm on 100.1FM and via web streaming at www.triplehfm.com.au.