Written By: Steve Reeves
Possibly the blusteriest, coldest day for years greeted the Magpies when they arrived at the ground today. When volunteers turn up on days like this it demonstrates their total commitment to the ‘Mighty Wests Magpies’. Well done ladies and gents. A big thank you and a pat on the back from me and I am sure many others.
Down to today’s game, the team was very competitive for a majority of the game, but errors ruined many chances. In the early exchanges, a Wests player was penalised for an incorrect play the ball. After gaining good ground with the penalty kick, Blacktown attacked the centre of the field before they went close to scoring in the western corner. A quick thinking dummy half, Joseph Tramontana spotted an unmarked player on his outside. He threw a flat pass to Leva Li who placed the ball over the line untouched. With a strong wind blowing from the south west, the attempted conversion by Veiru Mapesone flew wide of the mark. Blacktown 4 Wests Magpies 0.
Wests made sure they did not fall further behind on the score board. After receiving a penalty for offside play, Wests lock forward Inno Inosesio charged at the defensive line. Displaying a fleet of foot and strength, he broke through several attempted tackles as he ran deep into Blacktown territory. Five eight Kurt Aldridge kept the momentum going and at the end of an elusive run, he dived over in the eastern corner from a well-constructed try. Kelsey Coakes guided the ball over the black dot. Wests Magpies 6 Blacktown 4.
After the resumption in play, Blacktown forced an error from Wests Magpies. The visitors defended the set before Blacktown put a kick into the in goal which was played dead by centre three quarter Junior Mapesone. After receiving the ball, Blacktown carried the pill back to Wests 20 metre line. Once again the boys defended their territory before the referee singled out a Magpie player and placed him on report for what seemed to be an innocuous tackle. Veiru Mapesone called for the ball before claiming an easy two points. Wests Magpies 6 Blacktown 6. It was around this time that the penalty count favoured Blacktown 7 to 2.
In the 31st minute, the wind certainly picked up which forced passes from both teams to go astray. After an error from the home team, the referee caused the scrum to pack on their 10 metre line. After winning the feed Wests half and captain Brendan Waters spread the ball wide. It soon reached the hands of wing three quarter Va’Enuku Vatuvei who pushed past his opposite player to score a strong try in the eastern corner. Kelsey Coakes attempt at goal fell just short of the cross bar. Wests Magpies 10 Blacktown 6.
Play remained an even affair with both teams finding it difficult to control the ball in the prevailing conditions. In the 37th minute Blacktown took possession after the visitors lost the ball in a loose carry. Again, Joseph Tramontana saw room on the short side before he picked out five eight Veiru Mapesone who carried defenders over the line with him to score the first of his two tries of the afternoon. He was unsuccessful with his attempt at goal and as the half time break was called the scores were locked at 10 points all. The second half saw the Magpies take the field without hard working lock forward Inno Inosesio who was injured late in the first stanza.
Early in the second half it was first Blacktown then Wests Magpies who made errors whilst playing the ball. The deadlock was broken in the 5th minute when a penalty was awarded to Blacktown right in front of the sticks after a second Magpie player was placed on report. Veiru Mapesone took his team to the lead 12 points to 10 after converting the penalty into points.
In the 11th minute, Wests Magpies carried the ball from their line. It was spread wide but unfortunately the ball came loose near the side line. A bit of push and shove followed before Wests were penalised. Blacktown took the tap and looked like they had scored, but the referee ruled the player had been held up over the line. After resuming play on Wests ten metre line, the ball was given to Veiru Mapesone who feigned to kick before he cut inside two defenders to score alongside the posts. He converted his own try to take Blacktown to 18 points to 10 lead.
Unfortunately, when in good field position Wests were caught in possession of the ball on the last tackle. The changeover gave Blacktown the chance to regroup after Wests had dominated the attack. When reaching the end of their set, the ball was kicked to the in goal area. It sat up perfectly for Leva Li who claimed his second try of the afternoon. Veiru Mapesone was unable to convert the try but the lead increased to 22 points to 10.
As had happened to both teams throughout the game, a Wests player was penalised for an incorrect play the ball. Blacktown steadied on the visitor’s 10 metre line. After switching their point of attack the ball was passed to fullback Peter Scanlan who had chimed into the backline. He evaded the defense and recorded his team’s last points of the day. The conversion attempt was held up in the wind before being blown back towards the kicker. Blacktown 26 Wests Magpies 10. Penalties at this time favoured the home team 14 to 6.
To their credit, Wests Magpies kept playing an attacking style of rugby league and in the final minutes they were rewarded with their third try of the day. The move which led to the try was started by Wests Magpies fullback Kieran Wyld who made a determined 35 metre run into Blacktown’s half. Seeing the defense still getting back into the line, half and captain Brendan Waters put in a well-placed chip kick. He regathered the ball and put in a second kick which was collected by his partner Kurt Aldridge who grabbed his second try. Kelsey Coakes conversion would see an end to the game. Blacktown 26 Wests Magpies 16.
Even after the hooter sounded Wests fullback Keiran Wyld was not going to let any chance for further points slip away. He received the ball on his own ten metre line before weaving through Blacktown’s defense. Showing great acceleration he ran well over half way before putting in a clearing kick which was carried over the side line by a player from the home team. He could have taken an early tackle, but took his chances which brought the spectators to their feet. Keiran started at Wests Magpies as a half. After returning from an injury sustained during the St Marys game he was slotted into fullback, a position he had not played in since juniors. He has remained a constant thorn to opposition sides. Whilst players have been selected as best on the day for the Magpies, not one of the seventeen who took the field stopped trying to grab the win.
Interestingly Veiru Mapesone is a Wests Magpies junior and played for our Club. He played for Wests Tigers 20’s and NSW Cup before being signed by Manly.
Wests Magpies. Kurt Aldridge 2 tries, 1 try to Va’Enuku Vatuvei with Kelsey Coakes kicking 2 goals from 3 attempts.
Best for the Magpies. Brendan Waters, Tom Morrison, Zane Elsley, David Harris, Luke Williams & Keiran Wyld.
Blacktown. Veiru Mapesone 2 tries & 3 goals (6 attempts) Leva Li 2 tries & Peter Scanlan 1 try.
Best for Blacktown. Veiru Mapesone, Francis Laloua-Tui, Leva Li, Joseph Tramontana, Jordan Hall & Sukamanu Raki.