Written by: Dan Talintyre
Western Suburbs Magpies have gone down 32-12 in disappointing fashion to the Newtown Jets in the final game of the Intrust Super Premiership regular season.
Given Mounties' loss to the Dragons earlier in the day, the result sees Western Suburbs finish the regular season in fifth position and will play in an Elimination knockout final at Panthers Stadium next weekend.
With all the early ball and a 6-0 penalty count inside the opening 15 minutes, Newtown unsurprisingly took the lead through Sione Katoa despite the winger appearing to have put the ball down on the sideline.
Aaron Gray would double the Jets lead after 18 minutes when he crashed over out wide, and with a weight of possession against them, Western Suburbs were simply doing well to hang on in the contest.
Nine first half errors from Newtown kept the visitors in the fight, and as the half wore on, Wests looked more and more threatening with the ball in hand. However, poor execution and communication — coupled with four kicks running dead — ensured the visitors were unable to build any pressure of their own.
Katoa looked to have grabbed a double just before the half-time break, but he was controversially denied by the officials — ruled to have produced a double movement after a stunning try-saver from Dylan Smith.
As both sides walked off the field at Henson Park at half-time, Coach Hodgson labelled it as "a half to forget in a hurry", with the Magpies not showing any of the urgency or tenacity with the ball in hand that had them on the brink of securing a top four finish in the Intrust Super Premiership competition.
With poor ends to their sets to start the second half as well, Western Suburbs fell further behind in the 45th minute when William Kennedy found his way through three cover tackles before racing away to score under the posts. His 90m effort in front of a vocal Henson Park crowd allowed Jesse Marschke a simple conversion for his first goal of the day and the Jets the chance to extend their lead further to 14-0.
When Jack Williams crossed untouched seven minutes later to put the score to 20-0, it looked like Newtown were going to run away with a commanding victory as Wests struggled to get in the contest.
However, Smith would ensure that the Magpies had something to show for their efforts with a determined run just seeing the fullback get to the line, with Tuimoala Lolohea converting to cut the score to 20-6.
Rueben Rennie would restore the Jets healthy lead when he proved too strong from close range, with Marschke's conversion pushing Newtown back out to 26-6 with 15 minutes still to play.
Wes Lolo and Kurt Aldridge would trade late tries, but it would matter little in the end as Newtown posted a commanding victory and consolidated a top four spot on the Intrust Super Premiership ladder.
Newtown Jets 32 (Katoa, Gray, Kennedy, Williams, Rennie, Lolo tries; Marschke 4/6 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 12 (Smith, Aldridge tries; Lolohea 2/2 goals) at Henson Park
Written by: Steve Reeves
I am sure those supporting Wests Magpies would have hoped for a better result for their last game of the regular season. I certainly didn’t expect to be writing my final report of the year summarising Wests Magpies defeat at the hands of Brothers Penrith. I am not going to make excuses, but when things go against you before the match even gets underway this outing was always going to be challenging.
We took the field missing four of our original line up and only had three players fit to sit on the bench. Things soon got even worse when very early in the first half one of our players was sent off. Couldn’t get much worse! Well it did when Va’Enuku Vatuvei dislocated his shoulder and Temata Rangi injured his ankle. This left Coach Nathan Waters with one fit reserve to call upon. Yes a tough day ahead for the team in black and white.
Wests Magpies looked certain to score the first try in the opening minute when Va’Enuku Vatuvei showed good strength to carry three defenders over the try line, but to everyone’s surprise the try was disallowed and Wests Magpies were penalised for an obstruction. Va’Enuku Vatuvei struggled to get to his feet before leaving the field injured. He did not return to the action.
After receiving the ball from a high kick, Wests Magpies were ruled to have floated a pass forward giving Brothers the scrum feed in great attacking position. Within the space of two hit ups, Brothers prop forward Penita Tuavao received a perfectly timed pass from half and captain Kurt Falls which put him into space to score alongside the posts. With the successful conversion from Falls Brothers led 6 points to Wests Magpies 0.
It wasn’t long before Wests Magpies fullback Kieran Wyld found himself in the action when called upon to take a twisting bomb on his 10 metre line. He ran wide and outpaced the cover defense before being tackled on Bothers 30 metre line. Play continued to within a couple of metres of the visitors try line before David Minute pushed his way over from acting dummy half to score his 7th try of the season. Five eight Kelsey Coakes conversion from the eastern corner locked the scores up at 6 points all. Unfortunately when things were looking good, Wests Magpies were reduced to 12 men when a player was sent off.
After receiving the ensuing penalty, Brothers wing three quarter Simon Lewis took full advantage of the home side being a man short. Falls spread the ball across the backline to Lewis who crossed for a four pointer untouched. Falls conversion put the visitors in front 12 points to 6.
The Magpies remained competitive and even with a man short, they registered their second try. Brothers had the scrum feed, but a quick thinking Joshua Davis stripped the ball from the attacking half in a one on one tackle. Brothers tried to pull the ball loose but were penalised for their efforts. After a couple of settling runs, Joshua Davis darted down the blind side to score a well-deserved try. Coakes missed the conversion attempt. Brothers 12 Wests Magpies 10.
In the dying stages of the first half, Wests Magpies went close to scoring again when Joshua Davis pushed through the defensive line before flicking a pass to wing partner Jack Gibbons who was unable to take it cleanly whilst receiving plenty of attention. The players left the field for the half time break with only two points separating them.
There was a positive vibe around the ground, but with so many on the injury list and a player down, it was always going to be a big ask.
Without going into too much detail, Brothers ran away with the game in the second half, eventually winning 46 points to 14. Our final try came after half and captain Brendan Waters stepped around his opposite number to score in the western corner. Coakes shot at goal fell short of the cross bar.
Recapping the day’s play: When Wests Magpies made an error with 12 men on the field, Brothers took full advantage, but when the shoe was on the other foot, the home team struggled due the amount of energy they expended trying to make up for being a man short. Wests Magpies will no doubt recruit well to bolster some of the talent they already have in their squad in readiness for the 2019 season.
Credit where credits due: It’s been a long year for players and staff, especially when you take into account the preseason. I acknowledge we didn’t realise our potential but it wasn’t due to the lack of effort from:
Head Coach: Nathan Waters. Assistant Coach: Kevin Montgomery
Manager: John Harbon and Assistant Manager: Nick Viterale
Trainers & Strappers: Dave and Valerie Mc Ewan, Nathan Pickering, Rob Dewaal and Sam Gazaniti.
Ground Announcer: Keith Topolski.
Media and reports: Colin Ison.
Gate Attendant: Steve Hartas.
Change Room Managers: Bluey Schafer and Swinging Doors Jeff Aplitt.
Medical Staff: Dr Peter Di Michiel and PRIME Physiotherapist John.
Ball Boys: Luke and Cooper.
Wests Magpies. Tries to David Minute, Joshua Davis and Brendan Waters with Kelsey Coakes kicking 1 goal from 3 attempts.
Best for the Magpies. Joshua Davis, Avia Minute, Junior Mapesone, Temata Rangi, Brendan Waters, Kilifi Tia-Kilifi, David Harris and Luke Williams.
Brothers. 2 tries each to Joshua Peacock and Simon Lewis with tries to Harrison Coskerie, Quinn Ma’Aelopa and Penita Tuavao. Jason Cookson scored 1 try and kicked 1 goal from his only attempt with Kurt Falls kicking 6 goals from 7 attempts.
Best for the Brothers. Kurt Falls, Tautitpau Marsters, Penita Tuavao, Harrison Coskerie, Alex Leitch and Gray Viane.