Written by: Rebecca Westlake
A second half rampage saw Western Suburbs Magpies go down to Minor Premiership winners the Penrith Panthers last Sunday at Penrith Stadium in a 38-10 win, despite a close half time score.
Liam Martin put the Panthers on the board after just a minute and a half of play when he dodged his defence and sprinted up the middle. Adam Keighran quickly added the extras to get his side off to a strong start.
Wests hit back with some strong defence, which pressured a Penrith mistake. A stray ball from Kurt Aldridge collected by Braden Robson found the hands of an unmarked Harry O’Toole who slipped over the line untouched.
A string of penalties in favour of the Magpies gave the advantage for their next try with Kurt Aldridge darting out from dummy half and muscling his way over the line, beating multiple players to the turf. Tyson Gamble kicked his only successful conversion to make it 6-10.
A Wests mistake at the restart almost let the Panthers even the score but was ruled a knock on against Christian Crichton. Another close call soon followed putting the Magpies under pressure with 20 minutes to go until the break.
The pressure continued in to the next attacking set when a dropped ball was collected by halfback Liam Coleman who steamed up field, with a left shift eventually landing in the hands of winger Maika Sivo who scored to advance his team to a 2-point lead.
Wayde Egan was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements which although gave Wests a 12-man advantage, neither team was able to come up with any points leaving the half time score 12-10 in favour of the homeside.
Another Wests mistake at the kick-off gave the Panthers perfect positioning to put pressure on early in the second half, which resulted in a 4-pointer award to Sivo extending his teams lead to 6.
The Panthers rampage continue with Keighran scoring a solo try just left of the posts and his conversion widened the margin to 12 with just over 30 minutes remaining.
Kurt Aldridge gave his side a chance at the line after a 40/20 but would soon head south when a stray grubber was picked up by Billy Burns who offloaded to Tyrone Phillips who ran 70 odd metres to score under the posts.
Leading by 18, the Panthers continued to put pressure on the Magpies in both attack and defence, being the cause of some unfortunate errors which set Penrith up for yet another try in the hands of Liam Coleman with Keighran taking the margin out to 24.
Winning the restart for the second time in a row, Wests were hopeful for points, but were unable to take control and concede, opening the doors for another Penrith try. Sivo got himself a hatrick, catching a fly ball on the run and scoring in the corner despite strong defensive attempts from O’Toole.
An altercation in a tackle saw Cowen Epere sent off for the remainder of the game, giving the Panthers an advantage over an already damp-spirited Magpies. Playing with one man down, the Magpies lifted, defending their line despite multiple attempts.
As the full time siren sounded, the Penrith Panthers celebreated a 38-10 win over the Western Suburbs Magpies, as well as the 2018 Intrust Super Minor Premiership.
Penrith Panthers 38 (Sivo 3, Martin, Keighran, Phillips, Coleman tries; Keighran 5/7 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 10 (O'Toole, Aldridge tries; Gamble 1/2 goals)
Written by: Steve Reeves
The game got off to a flying start for the Magpies when Captain and half Brendan Waters put in a clever kick over top of the defensive line. Centre three quarter Josh Davis followed the ball through at speed before he scooped the ball up and sprinted 45 metres to score in the western corner. Wing thee quarter Kelsey Coakes attempt from the sideline was waved away. Wests Magpies 4 Hills Bulls 0.
Both teams then completed their respective sets before Wests Magpies were penalised for a strip. Hills took the tap and quickly spread the ball across their backline. When their fullback William Butler chimed into the attack he caught the defense short as he dived across the line for a 4 pointer. Second row forward David Baumann was unable to convert from out wide. After only 6 minutes of play, the score read Wests Magpies 4 Hills Bulls 4.
The Magpies started to gain the ascendancy with their big men hitting the ball up the middle. Not to be outdone young wing three quarter Jack Gibbons charged at the opposition making valuable ground. This was followed by an equally good run by prop James Mirceski which saw the boys set on Hills 10 metre line. After calling for the ball, hooker Luke Williams ran to the blind side before putting in a perfectly weighted kick which was pounced on by Gibbons who scored his first try for Wests Magpies. Coakes shot at goal fell short. Wests Magpies 8 Hills Bulls 4.
In the 23rd minute Waters put in a rolling ball which was picked up by Hills fullback William Butler. The Magpie chase was good preventing Butler from getting into the field of play. The subsequent line drop was taken by Mirceski who got up a good head of steam. He broke through a number of tackles before being brought down on Hills 30 metre line. The good work was continued by prop Avia Minute who was gang tackled near Hills line. Before he hit the deck he was able to pass a flat ball to the ever present five eight Thomas Morrison who claimed a vital try. Waters attempt was waved away. Wests Magpies 12 Bulls 4.
It wasn’t long before Wests again found themselves deep in Bulls territory. A kick by Waters on the last tackle was taken by Hills centre three quarter Sean Walpole. He showed good speed for a big man and advanced from his try line to Wests Magpies 40 metre line. He then slowed to look for support and was half tackled by second row forward Inno Inosesio, but to his credit he was able to slip a pass to Jayson Gerecs who was backing up on the inside. Somehow Inosesio was able to drag himself up from the turf and make the tackle on Gerecs. His effort in saving a certain try was certainly a memorable moment and brought warm applause from the crowd. Continuing with the ball, Hills put in a grubber kick which was played dead by Keiran Wyld. As in previous games, Wests went for the short kick off and it paid dividends when second row forward David Minute leapt high to grab the ball. As soon as his boots hit the ground he sprinted down field. It was then Morrisons turn to carry the ball through the ruck before offloading to Coakes who was tackled 10 metres out. On the last fullback Keiran Wyld kicked the ball along the ground. He chased through before kicking it a 2nd time. Showing good agility, he regathering the ball to score a fine try. Waters kick at goal hit the upright. Wests Magpies 16 Hills Bulls 4. These were the final points of the first half.
Hills Bulls came out in the second half full of determination. It was a see sawing match up until the 15th minute when the Bulls received a mystery penalty. The Magpies scrambled to defend their line before receiving a similar penalty. The ensuing tap was taken by Waters who picked out lock forward David Harris who charged through a gap. He bounced off several attempted tackles in a 40 metre run. As he was about to hit the turf he threw a great ball to centre three quarter Junior Mapesone who looked a special to score before he was brought down in a great tackle by prop forward Tim Robinson. Attempting to slow the play down cost Robinson a 10 minute break in the sheds. Waters decided to take the 2 points which saw the Magpies now leading 18 points to Hills Bulls 4.
Within minutes, the Bulls showed that they were not a done force when they scored their 2nd try of the afternoon. After receiving another 2 mystery penalties play was set 25 metres out from Wests line. A quick backline movement was finished when wing three quarter Jacob Curran crossed for a 4 pointer. Replacement Hayden Mc William made sure he grabbed the extras. Wests Magpies 18 Hills Bulls 10. Game on with plenty of time left. In the 27th minute Hills went close to cutting Wests lead when Robinson carried players across the try line, but fortunately for the Magpies he was ruled to have been held up.
In the closing stages of the game, Wests Magpies packed a scrum on Hills 10 metre line after the ball was knocked on. After winning the scrum, Waters ran across field before stepping inside a Hills player to score a well deserved try. Again the conversion attempt was waved away. Wests Magpies 22 Hills Bulls 10.
With a couple of minutes left on the clock, the Bulls were forced to take a line drop out. They went for a short kick which was knocked on by one of their players. After winning the scrum Hills were penalised. On their 3rd hit up hard working Wests Magpies hooker Luke Williams was rewarded with a 4 pointer of his own. Mirceski’s conversion would see an end to the game. Wests Magpies 28 Hills Bulls 10.
Wests Magpies. Tries Josh Davis, Jack Gibbons, Thomas Morrison, Keiran Wyld, Brendan Waters and Luke Williams. Brendan Waters kicked 1 from 4 attempts; James Mirceski kicked 1 form 1 whilst Kelsey Coakes missed his 2 shots at goal.
Best for the Magpies. Mick’s best 3: David Minute, Thomas Morrison and Jack Gibbons. Snapping at their heels were Brendan Waters, Luke Williams, Avia Minute, David Harris, James Mirceski, Kilifi Tiakilifi whilst Keiran Wyld continues to impress at fullback.
Hills Bulls. 1 try to William Butler and Jacob Curran. Hayden Mc William kicked 1 from 1 whilst David Baumann missed his only shot at goal.
Best for Hills Bulls. Tim Robinson, the Walpole brothers, Jake Brennan and Ben Golding