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Finals Week One wrap: Sydney Shield

Penrith Brothers will meet Minor Premiers St Mary’s in next week’s Major Semi-final for a spot in the 2023 Sydney Shield Grand Final, after running in six tries for a 34-16 win over Hills Bulls at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium today.

Next week’s game will be a rematch of the 2022 decider, where St Marys triumphed 36-12.

Saints will be wary of their western Sydney neighbours after they turned on some razzle-dazzle in overcoming the third-placed Bulls today.

Qualifying Final: (2nd) Penrith Brothers 34 def. (3rd) Hills Bulls 16

Three quick tries in the opening 11 minutes of the second half sealed the win for Penrith Brothers.

It was still anyone’s game at halftime, with Brothers only slightly ahead 16-6.

But Brothers five-eighth Donovan Boney created a wave of momentum almost single-handedly.

He scored an 80-metre intercept try in the 42nd minute, set up his fullback Joshua Peacock six minutes later with a short pass at the line, then kicked for a leaping Byron Donovan to fall over the line in the 51st minute. Suddenly the scoreboard had blown out to 34-6.

Consolation tries to Bulls winger Joseph Jaber and hooker Kruz Niutili-Schmidt in the final seven minutes were too little, too late.

“It’s the best side we’ve been able to put on the field for a little while, so we benefited from that,” said Penrith Brothers coach Darryl Hamilton.

“We’ve been working hard all season so it was refreshing to see them perform so well.

“But we’ve got to get our discipline right and make sure we work for one another all 80 minutes.”

Discipline issues were shown across both sides as Brothers winger Kylak Chan and Bulls forward Damon Smith were sent to the sin-bin in the 63rd minute.

The Bulls stay alive in Week Two of the finals as they face Ryde-Eastwood Hawks, who won the earlier Elimination final over Cabramatta at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium today. 

RESULT: Penrith Brothers 34 (Kylak Chan, Mitchell Owen, Baley Borthwick, Donovan Bailey, Joshua Paeacock, Byron Donovan tries: Boney 5 goals) def. Hills Bulls 16 (Matthew Newlyn, Joseph Jaber, Kruz Niutili-Schmidt tries; Josh Rizk 2 goals)

Elimination final: (5th) Ryde-Eastwood Hawks 16 def. (4th) Cabramatta 12

It was a torrid affair with scores locked at 6-6 at halftime then 10-10 midway through the second half.

The lead changed four times in the match as both sides fought hard to keep their season alive.

Cabramatta poked their noses 12-10 in front in the 60th minute when halfback Riley Lack kicked a penalty from in front.

But with 14 minutes left on the clock, a barging 10-metre run from his opposite Hawks number Nicholas Ferris, proved the difference.

Ryde-Eastwood Hawks five-eighth Matthew Curl. Photo: Bryden Sharp
Ryde-Eastwood Hawks five-eighth Matthew Curl. Photo: Bryden Sharp

The Hawks have one concern going into next week, with centre and goal-kicker Jacob Wright placed on report in the 21st minute for a high tackle.

“Our courage … we were courageous today,” said Hawks coach Derek McVey, when asked what won it for Ryde-Eastwood.

“We had a lot of guys play today who came up through our A Grade this year, so that tested our depth.”

He didn’t want to single out players but couldn’t go past his hooker Moussa Kabalan.

“He makes around 50 tackles a week and he did the same today. Not a lot of people notice (No.9s) but the coach notices.”

RESULT: Ryde-Eastwood Hawks 16 (Matt Curl, Malie-J Townsend, Nicholas Ferris tries; Jacob Wright 2 goals) def. Cabramatta 12 (Josh Tudehope 2 tries; Riley Lack 2 goals)


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