WRAP | Sydney Shield Finals Week Two
Semi-Final - East Campbelltown Eagles v Asquith Magpies
Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
Saturday 8 September, 11am
The East Campbelltown Eagles have booked a Preliminary Final showdown with Moorebank Rams after a convincing 38-4 victory over Asquith Magpies on Saturday afternoon.
In what was a dominant 80 minute performance from the Eagles, their clinical attacking raids and defiant defensive efforts ignited the seven-try to one rout, with Alapati Ptoifara and Amanono Tovio each crossing for two tries.
Magpies Hooker Treymaine Brown gave his side a blistering start when he kicked a 40/20 out of dummy-half in the early exchanges, but they were unable to take advantage as the Eagles defence held strong.
On the back of their brick-wall defence, they reaped the rewards with three tries within just nine minutes of play to race out to a commanding 14-0 lead despite the Magpies dominating field position.
John Da Silva was the first beneficiary when he barged his way over from close-range, before Aaron Teariki followed suit with a determined effort and Theodore Leato sliced through after a slick left-to-right shift.
The Magpies were unable to capitalise on their own respective chances thanks to some resilient defence from the Eagles, and they struck a crucial blow right on half-time when Potifara latched onto a perfectly placed chip-kick for their fourth unanswered try.
Edwin Connor converted from out-wide to give his side a 20-point buffer at the break.
Asquith came out with point to prove in the second stanza with some brutal efforts in defence, and they earned themselves their maiden try of the contest through Samuela George.
But their short-burst of momentum would come to a halt just five minutes later when Potifara grabbed his second try of the afternoon, with Connor converting to extend the lead to 22 after 58 minutes.
Despite the Magpies best efforts to salvage some pride late in the second-half, two tries to Tovio, including a four-pointer against the run of play, put the result well beyond doubt and capped off a powerful victory.
EAST CAMPBELLTOWN EAGLES 38 (A Tovio 2 A Potifara 2 J Da Silva T Leato A Teariki tries; E Connor 4, B Lahey goals) def ASQUITH MAGPIES 4 (S George try).
Semi-Final - St Marys Saints v Guildford Owls
Jubilee Oval, Kogarah
Sunday 9 September, 1.30pm
The Guildford Owls have stormed into the Sydney Shield Preliminary Final with a 34-26 victory over St Marys Saints in an entertaining contest on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides enjoyed their share of dominance with the lead changing on four exchanges throughout thh high-scoring affair, which included St Marys taking a 12-point lead in the 55th minute before a stunning finish from Guildford saw them race in three tries within a relentless 10-minute period.
Halfback Nathan Masima proved influential for Guildford with three tries in an outstanding individual display - one of which being match-defining 60m intercept right on the half-time siren.
St Marys hooker Peter Nay proved potent out of dummy-half with two first-half tries, while five-eighth Isaac Thompson also proved dangerous with a try of his own.
Guildford got off to a flying start when Masima pounced on a neat grubber into the in-goal in just the 4th minute, but St Marys earned a quick reply after Nay shot out of dummy-half and caught the defence napping for a classy try of his own.
The Saints' defence held strong on the ensuing set as tempers flared following some brutal defensive efforts, but on their back of their resilience they snatched the lead through a rampaging Alan Niulesa in the 20th minute.
Neither side were able to continue their respective momentum swings as they both earned valuable field position in the period following, and it was Guildford who would take advantage when Julian King crashed over from close-range.
Masima converted from out-wide to take a 12-10 lead after 25 minutes of play.
Nay was proving unstoppable out of dummy-half with some darting runs causing plenty of havoc for the Guildford defence, and he repeated the efforts of his first try with another just shortly after conceding their second
St Marys looked threatening with the ball in their last attacking raid of the first-half, but an intercept from Masima proved crucial as it drew the game level at 16-all.
Guildford were unable to continue their momentum into the second stanza, however, as St Marys had an early chance to hit the lead as a try looked all but certain when Michael Ross surged through, but he was denied by an incredible 'ball-and-all' tackle from fullback Jaydn Field.
Although saved by a desperate Field, he was unable to replicate his efforts on the ensuing play when five-eighth Isaac Thompson poked his nose through before reaching out to plant the ball down.
They would quickly extend their lead in the following set-of-six after a strong kick-chase from Jesse Abbott – the centre pushing through to pounce on a loose-ball after a miracle bounce into the in-goal when it looked as though it would go into touch.
Although trailing by two converted tries, Mitchell Buttfield took it upon himself to spark the comeback with a powerful surge towards the try-line, before Saimone Lasalo barged his way over adjacent to the uprights just three minutes later.
Masima converted to take a 28-26 lead with just 15 minutes remaining.
Masima was the beneficiary of some Robert Longbottom magic to seal the victory for the Magpies – after the dynamic five-eighth broke through the line before drawing the fullback with a deft grubber for Masima's third try of the afternoon.
Guildford have now cemented a place in the Preliminary Final against the Wentworthville Magpies next weekend at Leichhardt Oval.
GUILDFORD 34 (N Masima 3 J King M Butfield S Lasalo tries; N Masima 5 goals) def ST MARYS 26 (P Nay 2, A Niulesa I Thompson J Abbott tries; P Nay 3 goals).