Kaiviti Silktails have fallen short in what would have been a gutsy victory with 12 men, going down 18-16 to St Mary's at St Mary's Leagues Stadium.
The pulsating match had just about everything with the physicality and muddy pitch making it reminiscent of 1980s rugby league. Both sides were aggressive from the outset and it never faltered from either team with fatigue refusing to play a factor.
Joe Vaegaau opened the scoring when he crashed over after five minutes for the home side, before a barnstorming run from Osea Natoga resulted in the winger offloading to his centre, reducing the margin to 6-4.
St Mary’s extended the lead when Anthony Layoun cut out his centre for Chris Ausene-Scanlon to cross, but the Silktails stayed close in the contest, receiving a reward when Watisoni Waqanisaravi crashed over close to the line.
With Silktails halfback Mosese Qionimacawa being sent off for his part in a melee and St Mary's prop Atonio Tauilili being sent to the bin for a high tackle, both sides needed to dig deep. The Silktails then punished St Mary's when winger Viliame Tutivuli embarked on a scintillating 50-metre run down the left flank to put the Fijian's back in front for the first time in the game.
Eventually consistent goal line pressure took its toll with David Fale scoring in the corner, and Jake Rafferty-Butfield nailing the sideline conversion for the win.
St Mary’s are seven from eight in 2022 but the Kaiviti Silktails will be proud of their efforts in what could go down as one of the games of the season.
The Silktails face the Sea Eagles at Mascot Oval next week with St Mary’s hosting Mounties St Mary's Leagues Stadium.
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.