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Saints and Magpies in Grand Final rematch

St Marys Saints and Wentworthville Magpies lock horns in Sunday’s inaugural Leagues Clubs Australia Ron Massey Cup ‘Magic Round’, with a couple of familiar names in each side.

Saints winger Christian Crichton, brother of Canterbury-Bankstown’s Stephen, and Magpies winger Lorenzo Mulitalo, brother of Cronulla-Sutherland speedster Ronaldo, are playing in the 4pm match on Sunday 21 April at St Marys Leagues Stadium.

It all adds to the rivalry between the two clubs.

“It’s really like a local derby because we’re both from the same areas around western Sydney and we both have a very high respect for each other,” said St Marys coach Darren Baker.

Saints won their first Ron Massey Cup in 2023 with a convincing 40-12 win over the Magpies.

“It’s not so much about revenge,” said Magpies coach Brett Cook.

“We’ve always had a good rivalry with St Marys. We beat them in a couple of finals and they got us last year.

“It’s that sort of game that you look for in the draw because you know it will be a good test of where you stand.

“There’s been such a turnover of players there hasn’t been much talk of revenge. We just know St Marys are the yardstick of the competition and we want to put our best foot forward.”

Gauging where they stand in this Round Five match is particularly relevant for the Magpies, who only have a handful of their 2023 Grand Final team left.

“We had a couple of retirements. We also lost a player (prop Niko Apelu) to St Marys, we have two guys playing NSW Cup for Parramatta (Menai Luke, Reece Alderton) although they’re still in our system, so that’s caused a bit of a shake-up in personnel,” Cook said.

They have picked up brothers Kruz Niutili-Schmidt at hooker and Felix at second row.

“They trialled well and really work hard and tough for the team. They’ve added a bit to our side,” Cook said.

“I had Lorenzo in a Junior Reps team and he’s a guy always looking for an opportunity to get further up the ladder.”

Wenty actually sits top of the Ron Massey Cup table with two wins, a loss and a bye after four rounds, while St Marys is second on points differential with two wins also.

A washed-out game in Round Three and a bye last week means Saints could be a bit rusty.

“True we haven’t played a lot of footy recently but we know how to play,” Baker said.

“It’s about a high completion rate so we can keep the ball in our hands, plus icing the opportunities when they come – don’t let those slip by.

“We’ve retained a lot of our 2023 squad, including key players like our halfback Zac Greene and hooker Reece Goldsmith (pictured above, Photo: Bryden Sharp)

“But we’re still feeling our way a bit this year and trying to work out where other clubs are at too.”

Both coaches agree the first Ron Massey Cup Magic Round to coincide with the annual Licensed Clubs Round can only benefit everyone.

“It’s a great idea because it helps promote our competition and also says thanks to the Leagues Clubs for putting in some hard yards for us,” Cook said.

Fans can catch all matches of the Ron Massey Cup Magic Round on NSWRL TV by purchasing the Magic Round Pass. Click here for details.

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