WRAP | Sydney Shield Finals Week 1
Elimination Final - Cabramatta v Guildford Owls
St Marys Leagues Stadium
Saturday 1 September, 11am
The Guildford Owls have stormed into week two of the Sydney Shield finals with a commanding 30-4 victory over Cabramatta at St Mary's League Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was a sense of deja-vu for Guildford after they claimed bragging rights in the first week of the 2017 finals series against Cabramatta, with their comfortable 26-points victory today also their first since Round 18 this season.
Their defiant defensive effort from start to finish was just as impressive as their clinical attacking raids - keeping Cabramatta to just one try throughout the entire 80 minutes.
Winger Josh Deleiloa starred with three tries on the right-wing while Robert Longbottom showed his class with plenty of involvement and Captain Daniel Vasek worked tirelessly on either side of the ball.
Guildord raced out to a comfortable 16-0 lead after they built significant pressure in the early exchanges, with Cabramatta unable to withstand their threatening attacking raids.
Josh Deleiloa was the first beneficiary after the winger pounced on a loose ball following a ricochet in hte in-goal area, before David Oxley extended their lead after he was on the receiving end of a pin-point Robert Longbottom grubber.
Deleiloa grabbed his second try with a powerful surge close to the line - brushing off a host of defenders to cross for their third unanswered try.
But despite conceding three tries within a relentless eight minute period, Cabramatta eventually broke their deadlock after a classy grubber from Barry Rutley landed in the arms of Mustapha El Quiek.
With Cabramatta trailing by two converted tries, Guildford fullback Jaydn Field gave his side some breathing space when he burst onto a perfectly timed short-ball before racing 30 metres to score.
Troy Errington was unable to convert as Guildford took a 20-4 lead into half-time.
Deleiloa completed his hat-trick early in the second-half after a some slick hands from Oxley sent the unmarked winger over in the right-hand corner.
Guildford were unable to take advantage of valuable field position as Cabramatta held strong in defence, but their chances of a comeback victory seemed unlikelier by the minute.
With just 10 minutes remaining in the contest, Mohammad Soulton put the icing on the cake when he finished off a classy backline movement to well and truly put the game beyond doubt.
Guildford Head Coach Todd McKeown praised his sides discipline in defence after enduring some tough losses in recent week, while also hailing the potency of his side in the crucial stages.
"I'm trhilled with the performance, this has been the best 17 players I've been able to field all year and it was only six weeks ago I was playing with 14 players so a really great performance," McKewon told NSWRL.com.au.
"Especially [because] we've been conceding points, we've always been able to score...but we only conceded one try today and that's the most pleasing factor."
Guildford will now eagerly await the result of tomorrow's Qualifying Final between St Marys and Moorebank as they will face the losing side in the semi-final next weekend.
GUILDFORD 30 (J Deleiloa 3 D Oxley J Field, M Soulton tries; Errington 3 goals) def CABRAMATTA 4 (M El Quiek try).
Elimination Final - Asquith Magpies v Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles
St Marys Leagues Stadium
Saturday 1 September, 3pm
The Asquith Magpies have ended a three-game losing streak in emphatic style, recording a 54-14 victory over the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles on Saturday afternoon.
The clinical nine-try performance galvanised the Magpies from start to finish - with the Workers unable to halt their momentum despite their best efforts in the second stanza.
It was Blacktown who got off to the perfect tart when they opened the scoring through Shaun Fiztgerald in justt the fourth minute of play, but their lead would be short-lived when Magpies fullback Alex Nicholls-O'Neill crossed just 10 minutes later.
The floodgates opened after Vincent Ngaro sliced through in the 20th minute, before Andrew Oughtred was on the end of a floating cross-field kick to help the Magpies to a 14-point lead.
They continued to be relentless with the ball-in-hand when Jayden El-Jalkh scored their fourth unanswered try, with Treymaine Brown continuing his perfect record with the boot to set a 24-4 scoreline.
Caleb Campbell capped off the Magpies faultless first-half performance with their fifth try just moments before half-time, but a determined finish from Pattyloma Aupuua ensured the Workers a strong finish to the first-half.
Asquith continued to threaten in the opening stages of the second-half a golden chance to continue their dominance, and after a series of offloads it was Robert Williams who added his name to the scoresheet with a try adjacent to the uprights.
With a wave of momentum behind them, the Magpies continued their rampage through Luke Hodge after he barged his way over from close-range before Blacktown hit-back through Skippy Lipano.
Although the Workers had a short burst of confidence in the ensuing set, Robert Tuilatu took it upon himself to continue the Magpies surge towards the preliminary with a try in the 60th minute, before setting up one just three minutes later with a barnstorming run and offload for El Jalkh.
The Magpies finished the match with some resilient goal-line defence - making a strong statement to the rest of the competition before their semi-final clash at Kogarah next Saturday.
ASQUITH 54 (El-Jakh 2 A Nicholls O'Neill V Ngaro A Oughtred Caleb Campbell R Williams L Hodge R Tuilatu tries' T Brown 9 goals) def BLACKTOWN WORKERS 14 (S Fitzgerald P Aupaau S Lipano tries; C Keating goal).
Qualifying Final - St Marys v Moorebank Rams
St Marys Leagues Stadium
Sunday 2 September 11am
The Moorebank Rams have stormed into the Sydney Shield Preliminary Final with an ominous 36-8 victory over St Marys on Saturday afternoon.
The last time these two sides met in 2018 was back in Round 12 – playing out an enthralling try-fest that saw Moorebank claim bragging rights with a 36-32 victory.
With the game not panning out as the sea-sawing affair that most expected, it was Moorebank's energetic start to either side of the half-time break that proved the major difference.
They took a 10-0 lead early in the first 15 minutes of play before St Marys hit-back with a try in the latter stages, before a carbon-copy effort in the second stanza saw them score three unanswered tries to take a comfortable 24-4 lead.
The 28-point win means they are just 80-minutes away from a Grand Final berth, with St Marys set to lock horns with Guildford at Jubilee Oval next weekend.
Moorebank raced out to an early 10-0 advantage after Logan Hauff brushed off a would-be defender to sneak his way over the try-line, before Kytak Chan crossed in the left-hand corner just five minutes later.
A try loomed for St Marys when a series of offloads saw a break through the middle-third follow, with Peter Nay desperately chasing a neat kick into the in-goal only for the ball to ricochet off the goal-post.
On the back of a dynamic Nay run through the middle, St Marys capitalised on the momentum shift thanks to a powerful surge from Jesse Abbott with just 10 minutes remaining in the first-half.
Holding onto their handy six-point buffer, Moorebank started the second-half just as they did in the first, with a brilliant pass from Jaek Horton putting Jonty Timoti on the outside of his counterpart before he offloaded to an unmarked Alvin Maungaati.
In a relentless three-minute period, Moorebank scored two rapid-fire tries through Amose Manu and Josh Wilkinson – the pair crossing on either side of the field after some nice lead-up play from their forwards gave them a wave of momentum.
A classy left-to-right shift saw Abbott snatch his second try of the afternoon with Isaac Thompson unable to convert from out-wide – setting a 24-8 scoreline with just 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Although Abbott's try sparked some life into St Mary's, the result was put well beyond doubt when Zac Saddler barged his way over from close-range before he repeated his efforts just three-minutes later to seal the victory.
MOOREBANK 36 (Z Saddler 2 L Hauff K Chan A Maungaati A Manu J Wilkinson tries N Williams 4 goals) ST MARYS 8 (J Abbott 2 tries)
Qualifying Final - East Campbelltown Eagles v Wentworthville Magpies
St Marys Leagues Stadium
Sunday 2 September 3pm
The Wentworthville Magpies have booked their place in the second Sydney Shield preliminary final with a resounding 32-10 victory over a gallant East Campbelltown Eagles outfit on Sunday afternoon.
It will be the second year in a row the Magpies will play in the Grand Final play-off, after a heartbreaking loss to the Mounties in 2017.
They flexed their premiership muscles at stages throughout the contest, however, some poor handling errors in the second-half was their achilles heel.
Not all hope is lost for the Eagles, however, with a chance to bounce back against the Asquith Magpies next weekend.
Kauri Apouri gave his side a blistering start with two tries in the opening 15 minutes, the first showcasing his ability to sneak through the smallest of gaps when he snuck over out wide, before his second followed a dynamic run from fullback Eparama Navale as he sliced through just a few tackles later.
Neither side could do any further damage to the scoreboard despite their respective efforts to capitalise on their chances, but the Eagles would finally make their mark on the game when Mason Talolua scored in the 31st minute.
Although conceding a try late in the contest, they responded with a try of their own in the latter stages of the first-half through Navale - the fullback bursting through from just 5m out from the line before reaching out to plant the ball down.
The resulting try saw a scuffle follow, with both sides having players sent to the sin-bin for striking in Christopher Standing and Jermaine Lati-Lefi.
Despite the misdemeanour, Brendan Newtown converted adjacent to the uprights to take a 16-4 scoreline at half-time.
An intercept try from Newtown proved to be a significant momentum changer after the Eagles were moving into enemy territory, as the halfback converted his own try to extend the lead to 18 after 45 minutes.
Solomone Lasalo added salt into the wounds of the Eagles when he crashed over 10 minutes later, as the Magpies continued to dominate field position throughout a majority of the second-half.
Pressure was mounting on Wentworthville's goal-line defence with continuous errors out of their own, end, and the Eagles looked to have taken advantage when Craig Moustakas dived over in the right-hand corner, only for the touch judge to have ruled he was out of play.
Talolua eventually grabbed his second try with a determined effort close to the line, before Authur Tupout put the icing on the cake for the Magpies with a try right on full-time.
WENTWORTHVILLE 32 (K Aupouri 2 E Navale B Newtown S Lasalo A Tupou tries Newtown 4 goals) bt EAST CAMPBELLTOWN 10 (M Talolua 2 tries S Gallant goal)