Dominant performances from North Sydney Bears-contracted forwards Denzal Tonise and Kieran Hayman - and a two-try performance from Henry Raiwalui - helped Hills District Bulls to a 27-20 comeback win over Kaiviti Silktails at North Sydney Oval last Saturday.
At lock, Tonise showed why he was playing The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup with Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles last year with a tireless performance, making plenty of tough metres with the ball under his arm.
And second-rower Hayman was fearless in defence, often shooting out of his team’s line to whack Silktaiks ball-carriers.
The Silktails were highly competitive in the first half, enjoying more possession and field territory.
But Hills District dominated the second half on the back of two Raiwalui tries, after a tight contest saw the Silktails take a 14-12 lead into the break.
The Silktails scored first in the 11th minute.
A Sitiveni Ravono cross-field kick was brought down in fine athletic fashion by centre Ratu Temesia Jilivecevece, planting the ball down despite multiple defenders on him.
The Bulls were quick to respond after a movement started by Tonise led to a try to winger Maile Li in the left corner.
Another former Blacktown Workers player, Brad Keighran who was solid all game at hooker, converted from the sideline.
Keighran played his part in a Bulls try in the 27th minute, scooting out from dummy-half to find fellow Bears contracted second-rower Tyler Cassell, who spun out of the Silktails defence to score.
The massive body of Silktails front-rower Watisoni Waqanisaravi levelled the score in the 32nd minute, proving too powerful for the Bulls’ goal-line defence.
A Silktails penalty goal then put them ahead 14-12 at halftime.
The hosts’ attack wasn’t done with yet.
A long break from Silktails fullback Timoci Bola led to a try to winger Viliame Tutuvili, giving the Fijian outfit a 20-12 lead in the 51st minute.
But that was where the Silktails’ attack stopped, with the Bulls going on to dominate the match.
A movement started by Tonise led to a great putdown in the corner by Bulls winger Leva Li - despite heavy contact - for the Bulls to trail 20-16 after 51 minutes.
Raiwalui then registered his double, his second from a classy show-and-go to put his side up 26-20 in the 65th minute.
His field goal in the 78th minute sealed an impressive comeback victory for the Bulls.
The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.
The NSWRL receives funding from the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to support the Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup.