Rolling coverage of the second week of finals in the Canterbury Cup NSW.
Match: Bears v Jets
Finals Week 2 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Newtown Jets have booked themselves a spot in the Canterbury Cup NSW Preliminary Finals after hanging on for a thrilling 30-28 win over the North Sydney Bears at Leichhardt Oval today.
The Jets looked to be in all sorts of trouble after the Bears scored three unanswered tries to take a 12-0 lead to start the match but came home strongly.
The Bears had a chance to send the match into extra time after centre Billy Smith scored a late try but halfback Drew Hutchison missed a simple conversion attempt from right in front.
It was a tough day with the boot for Hutchison who only managed two goals from six attempts even though the Bears outscored the Jets six tries to five.
“I thought he was going to slot it for sure and we were going to have to go for a field goal but he missed it and so that was it,” Jets forward Billy Magoulias told nswrl.com.au
“It always helps when the other team misses their goal kicks. It gave us a chance to stay in touch so it definitely worked in our favour.”
Magoulias, who had a taste of NRL experience this season, was one of the standout players for the Jets after running for 132 metres and proving too strong for the Bears defence.
He helped spark a crucial try in the first half to reduce the deficit to 20-12 after charging through a gap before offloading for Tyrone Phillips who in turn found Jack Williams in support.
He saved an even better play for the 70th minute after combining with Sione Katoa to score a long range try to put the Jets in front 30-24 and on track for an unlikely win.
“We started off slow and we kind of got into the groove with things and played with a bit more shape and played a bit more football which helped us get down the field a little bit better,” Magoulias said.
“Then we came home which was good.”
The Bears started the match strongly after scoring three tries in the first 12 minutes but the lead stayed at 12-0 with Hutchison unable to land a conversion.
The Bears extended their lead to 14-0 on the back of a penalty goal before winger Tyrone Phillips scored a long range try to get the Jets on the scoreboard.
Bears backrower Sitlili Tupouniua, who had a huge game for the losing team, grabbed his second try of the game to extend the lead to 20-6 before Williams scored to give the Jets hope.
Fullback William Kennedy, who was another hero for the Jets after running for 180 metres, then scored a double to put the Jets in front for the first time 24-20.
Bears winger Asu Kepaoa returned serve to lock the scores up at 24-all – Hutchison’s conversion bounced off the uprights – to set up a grandstand finish.
The Jets, who lost last year’s Grand Final to Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, will now face Minor Premier St George Illawarra Dragons at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium for a spot in the 2019 decider.
“I don’t know who’s going to run out for them, during the year is different because you’ve got first grade and stuff,” Magoulias said.
“(As for us) we kind of did the same thing last year. We fluffed around too much during the season and then we came home strong.
“We need to turn it on and when we do turn it on we’re a good side.”
Match: Bulldogs v Magpies
Finals Week 2 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
The Wentworthville Magpies have booked a spot in the Preliminary Finals after they fought off last year’s premiers in a 26-20 thriller.
The Magpies raced away to a 20-0 lead but the Bulldogs fought back to lock the scores up, before some handy work from George Jennings broke the deadlock in the dying minutes.
Wenty were on the board first when they received a penalty in front of the posts and took the gift two points, before Tim Mannah powered his way through to push their lead out to 8-0.
Will Smith earned a dropout for the Magpies and Peni Terepo wound up for the opening hitup of the following set, charging at the Bulldogs defence at full pace and bending them backwards. It was Smith who finished what he started when he stepped his way through and reached out for a try.
Rhys Davies burrowed over from dummy half and converted his own try to blow the lead out to 20-0.
The Bulldogs needed something before half-time to stay alive, and a freakish effort by Morgan Harper got them on the scoreboard when he somehow caught the ball behind his head before he weaved through the defence to score.
A unfortunate error from George Jennings gave the Bulldogs the first real chance of the second half when he caught the ball but stepped onto the sideline. A Mannah penalty gave them another set and eventually the Magpies succumbed to the pressure when Jesse Marschke threw a perfect cut-out ball to Jayden Okunbor, who scored in the corner.
The try of the afternoon followed. Dalton Smith burst through and passed to a supporting Connelly Leumelu who looked like he would go the distance, but as he was about to be caught he threw an overhead pass to Christian Crichton who then gave it off for John Olive to score in the corner.
After being 20-0 down, Toa Mata’afa bullied his way through to lock the scores up and suddenly it was game on.
Strong defence from Wentworthville trapped the Bulldogs inside their own half for a majority of the opening 10 minutes, but they were unable to convert that field position into points.
Jennings won the game for the Magpies when he pounced on a loose ball and sprinted away for a 55-metre dash to score under the posts and book a spot in the Preliminary Finals.