Round 20 opens up with the battle of the west on Friday night as the Parramatta Eels take on the Penrith Panthers. The round will be closed out with just three games on Saturday due to four teams on the bye.
Match: Eels v Panthers
Round 20 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
NSW Cup Highlights | Eels v Panthers - Round 20
Panthers stave off brave Eels challenge
Second-placed Penrith have moved into top spot of The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup having come away from CommBank Stadium with a fortuitous 25-24 win over the Eels courtesy of a 78th-minute Trent Toelau field goal.
The Eels fought valiantly despite finishing the game with just 12 men after interchange forward Wiremu Greig was sensationally sent from the field for an off-the-ball incident on Panthers hooker Soni Luke.
Missing the likes of Charlie Staines, Kurt Falls and Sean O’Sullivan, the Panthers got off to a terrific start when Luke from dummy half, feigned to the right to score from close range and with Cole’s conversion, the visitors led 6-0 after eight minutes.
The Eels hit back soon after when Nathan Brown went to the line to put Ky Rodwell over from close range to level the scores after a successful Jordan Rankin conversion.
Two minutes later and the Panthers were unable to defuse a Rankin cross-field kick and Greig, who had only been on the field for no more than 90 seconds, scored a simple try underneath the posts to put the Eels ahead 12-6 midway through the first half.
The Panthers missed several opportunities inside the Eels’ 20, before they finally scored when soon-to-be Eel, J’maine Hopgood crashed over from close range to level the scores. With momentum on their side, the Panthers scored in the very next set when fullback Isaiah Iongi made a break and found five-eighth Jack Cole in support.
With Penrith leading 18-12 at halftime, a controversial incident at the start of the second half saw Greig sent from the field for an indiscretion involving Soni Luke, while Panthers winger Christian Crichton was sent to the sin-bin following his retaliation to the incident.
The Panthers skipped out to a 12-point lead soon after when Liam Henry and Luke combined to put Iongi over from close range.
Despite being down to 11 men after Brown was sent to the bin, the Eels would somehow be the next to score when Mitch Rein scored from close range to put the home side within six points with plenty of time remaining.
The Eels’ comeback continued, managing to level the scores with just seven minutes remaining when back-rower Toni Mataele crashed over from close range following several repeat sets inside Penrith’s 20.
With the game in the balance, Trent Toelau iced a field goal from 25m out giving the visitors a one-point win in a fiery clash.
Mitch Rein and Wiremu Greig coming off the bench gave the home side a formidable look when compared to Penrith’s youthful looking side which included Under 19 stars Isaiah Iongi (Qld) and Jack Cole (NSW) having come in for the likes of Charlie Staines and Sean O’Sullivan.
Eels will be sweating on the outcome of the match review committee and perhaps with the judiciary with Wiremu Greig sent off on the first play of the second half for an off the ball incident on Panthers hooker Soni Luke while five-eighth Jack Williams was placed on report earlier in the game.
Panthers winger Christian Crichton was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes for his reaction to the Greig-Luke incident. Nathan Brown was also given 10 minutes in the sin-bin shortly after to give the Panthers a 12 then 13 on 11 on-field advantage. Despite the two-man advantage, the Eels were the only team to score during this period.
Having just levelled the scores moments earlier, the Panthers went coast-to-coast in spectacular fashion to reclaim the lead on the stroke of halftime when Queensland Under 19s fullback Isaiah Iongi broke the line before setting up Jack Cole to score out wide.
The Panthers return to BlueBet Stadium to take on Western Suburbs Magpies next Saturday as they look to press their claims for the NSW Cup minor premiership, while the Eels will be looking to regroup the next day when they travel to HE Laybutt Stadium to take on Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles.
Match: Mounties v Magpies
Round 20 -
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
Mounties edge past Magpies in battle of attrition
Mounties bounced back from last week’s loss to beat the Western Suburbs Magpies 36-24 in Round 20 of The Knock-on Effect NSW Cup at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Despite the final score-line, it wasn’t a true reflection of the contest considering the tough task the home side had to overcome early on.
The Magpies started strongly and opened scoring with a try courtesy of winger Trey Peni, who crossed over near the western touchline. Peni, a late inclusion for Storm-bound David Nofoaluma, put the ball down in acrobatic fashion after fullback Israel Ogden delivered a pinpoint floating pass.
The visitors scored once again but this time through center James Roberts, who barged his way over the line. Roberts produced some of his trademark blistering pace to dummy and score after the Magpies once again shifted the attack down Mounties’ right edge.
It was a tough start for Mounties winger Watson Heleta, who was peppered with aerial kicks by opposition halfback Zane Camroux as the Magpies threatened to break the game wide open.
Trailing by eight points, Mounties kept the pressure on themselves with some poor ball handling which kept them on the backfoot for the opening 20 minutes. The hosts’ defence, however, remained resolute to stay in the fight and prevent the Magpies from stretching the early lead.
Heleta then managed to score in the 26th minute to get Mounties back into the contest. He kicked for himself on last tackle, getting a friendly ricochet off a defender before putting the ball down and reduce the deficit to four points.
Mounties equalized a short time later with a try to Jamon Wormleaton, who scored down the Magpies’ left edge after a line-break from Tim Simona. It gave Mounties the momentum they needed heading into halftime.
Mounties aimed to pick up where they left off in the first half by dominating field possession early, yet the Magpies were first on the scoreboard in the second half. Back-rower Henry O’Kane scored off the back of a penalty for crowding the ruck, taking the score-line to 14-8.
It would be last time the Magpies had the lead as Mounties replied with 22 unanswered points to seal the win for the home side.
Tim Simona bagged two tries in the space of five minutes after scoring his first at the 50-minute mark. Then rampaging back-rower Dane Aukafolau was rewarded for his efforts with a four-pointer to improve the lead to 12.
Halves Brad Abbey and Jarrett Subloo each scored a try of their own to extend the margin to 22, while Western Suburbs managed a pair of consolation tries through Triston Reilly and Oliver Gildart.
Mounties exposed the Magpies’ defence with some well-executed second phase play to help turn the momentum of the game.
They produced an impressive 15 offloads compared to a mere three from their opposition.
Behind 20-14 the Magpies had a chance to level the scores when Israel Ogden made a line-break down the eastern touchline as play advanced into the attacking red zone. But a crucial error on fourth tackle in the ensuing set gave possession back to Mounties, who went on to score three unanswered tries.
Mounties will be back at Aubrey Keech Reserve next Sunday to take on the Newcastle Knights, while the Magpies will be on the road for their Round 21 clash against Penrith Panthers at BlueBet Stadium on Saturday.
Match: Raiders v Dragons
Round 20 -
Venue: Raiders Belconnen, Canberra
Match: Jets v Rabbitohs
Round 20 -
Venue: Henson Park, Sydney
Jets overcome slow start to keep top spot
The Newtown Jets overcame a slow start to their match on Saturday afternoon, defeating the South Sydney Rabbitohs in a convincing 42-18 victory at Henson Park.
The Rabbitohs began the game strong, scoring two tries in the opening ten minutes through Izaac Thompson who dived over on the end of a Jack Campagnolo grubber, and Tyson Hodge who crashed over to double his side’s lead.
The Jets responded however through Luke Metcalf, who slipped his way through the Rabbitohs’ line to score between the posts to get his side back in the game.
Newtown followed up with back-to-back tries to end the first half, with Caleb Uele finding himself on the end of a Braydon Trindall offload to dive over, before Charbel Tasipale barged over off a short ball to take his side into half time, 18-12 in front.
The visitors were eager for a much-needed try to begin the first half, and it came through a second four-pointer for Izaac Thompson, who again scored from a Campagnolo kick, this time however collecting the ball from the air before planting it down in the corner. A successful conversion attempt from Blake Taaffe levelled the scores at 18-a-piece.
It was all the Jets for the remainder of the game however, with Matt Ikuvalu touching down in the corner following a brilliant cut-out ball from Braydon Trindall.
Trindall was the star of the show at Henson Park as he set up another try, this time for Mawene Hiroti, before the centre returned the favour to his halfback, streaking away and selflessly handing the ball over to Trindall to score under the posts.
Rhys Davies finished the Rabbitohs off with a sneaky try of his own, putting a mini grubber through the opposition line from dummy half, before regathering and scoring adjacent to the posts. A perfect seven from seven conversion attempts from Braydon Trindall saw the Newtown Jets seal the victory, 42-18 at Henson Park.
Braydon Trindall starred in Saturday afternoon’s clash, controlling the game well, securing a hattrick of assists, scoring a try of his own and kicking a perfect seven from seven conversions.
The competition leaders are showing they deserve to sit in top spot as they secured their fifth win in a row.
The Rabbitohs need to focus on closing out their next few games, as they look to hold their top 8 spot, with the Knights and Mounties hot on their heels.
After the Rabbitohs levelled the game just three minutes into the second half, Matt Ikuvalu’s try from a pin-point Braydon Trindall cut-out pass completely turned the momentum of the game back towards the Jets. The home side went on to score three more tries to secure a comfortable victory.
The Jets return to Henson Park next week to face the St George Illawarra Dragons, while the Rabbitohs head to Canberra to try and overtake them on the ladder.