Written by: Rebecca Westlake
Western Suburbs Magpies continued their top eight finals campaign with a 32-26 win over Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles last Saturday at Lottoland.
After a scoreless first quarter, it was Pita Godinet who broke the stalemate, scoring under the posts after Jacob Liddle saw a gap and burst out from dummy half. Tyson Gamble added the extras nicely, giving the visitors a six-nil lead with 13 minutes to go until the break.
Blacktown Workers responded minutes later with a left-side combination which saw Tom Wright into a gap and John Folau eventually over the line. A successful conversion brought the score to six-all.
Tom Wright would play his part in the Sea Eagles next try after the five-eighth slipped through the Wests defensive line and sprinted down field, linking up with Lewis Brown and ending with Jono Wright giving the home-side a 6 point lead at the end of the first half.
Just minutes into the second half, the Sea Eagles continued their scoring, putting 6 more points on the Magpies when Jono Wright collected an intercept in his own half, passing it to Tom Wright who showed his speed once again.
The Magpies shadowed by Wright and his troops soon put a stop to the Sea Eagles scoring rampage with Godinet over the line after collecting Tyson Gamble kick and grounding it with his chest. The halfback converted his own try, bringing the margin to 6-points.
Building momentum from their last try, the Magpies went close to line again, with Braden Robson denied by a strong left side defence.
A Blacktown knock sent the Magpies on the attack from close range, with Tyson Gamble diving over the line from dummy half, injuring himself in the process.
The scoring continued for the Magpies after Liddle took advantage of one less marker and slotted through untouched to score under the posts. Godinet added the extras to bring the score to 24-18 in favour of the visitors.
Wests continued to run riot at Lottoland with Malakai Watene-Zelezniak collecting a short ball from Watson Heleta and scoring despite a 4-man tackle attempt.
It was a bit of magic that followed with Harry O’Toole collecting a Tom Wright kick in perfect timing to run the length of the field and score his side’s last try of the afternoon.
Blacktown, determined to stay in the contest would score two late consolation tries through Folau and Vai Toutai, thanks to the fancy ball work from playmakers Wright, Anderson and Brown which would leave the full time score 32-26 and a win for the Magpies.
Western Suburbs 32 ( Pita Godinet 2, Tyson Gamble, Jacob Liddle, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Harry O'Toole tries; Tyson Gamble 1/1, Pita Godinet 3/4, Kurt Aldridge 0/1 goals) def. Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 26 (John Folau 2, Jono Wright, Tom Wright, Vai Toutai tries; Tevita Funa 3/5 goals)
Written by: Jake Tonitto
In what was regarded a must win fixture for the Magpies, it was St Marys who came out firing, recording a dominant 44-18 win over the home side.
It took St Marys just 4 minutes to post first points, with veteran Nathan Smith slicing through some would be middle defence to score right beside the uprights, making Robert Vai's goal kick a breeze.
St Marys centre three-quarter Marli Sini found his way to the line in the 16th minute, and whilst the conversion was unsuccessful, St Marys were well in control at 10-0.
The second St Marys try seemed to spur the Magpies into action, with Tom Morrison taking on St Marys' right edge defence and strolling over for a four pointer. Kelsey Coakes added the extras and it was game on.
Wests doubled down in the 23rd minute, courtesy of Luke Williams, following a very effective 15 metre scoot from David Minute. All of a sudden it was Wests 12 - St Marys 10, with 17 minutes remaining in the first half.
Not to be outdone, St Marys returned serve with back-to-back tries of their own before half-time, which saw the visitors lead 20-12 at the break.
The second-half couldn't have started worse for the Magpies, with Captain Brendan Waters being sin-binned only 2 minutes in, following back-to-back penalties for a strip and professional foul respectively.
St Marys cashed in on Wests' personnel shortage only a minute after the sin-bin, with interchange forward Tevita Mapapalangi steaming onto a short dummy half pass to barge his way over the try line.
The visitors began to stamp their authority on the game through hooker Shanan Wood, who played part in laying on the next two tries, both from short kicks into the in-goal, with Veta Henry Seamanu the beneficiary of both four pointers.
The Magpies were determined to finish the game strongly, but so too were the visitors, with five-eighth Jake Toby scoring a 60m intercept try against the run of play with 12 minutes remaining. Thomas Romer added the extras for St Marys to lead 44-12.
Daniel Petralia scored a consolation try for the black and whites in the 72nd minute, which was successfully converted by David Minute.
ST MARYS 44 (Veta Henry Seamanu 2, Nathan Smith, Jake Toby, Marli Sini, Robert Vai, Allan Fitzgibbon, Tevita Mapapalangi tries: Robert Vai 5 from 7, Thomas Romer 1 from 1) defeated WESTERN SUBURBS (Tom Morrison, Luke Williams, Daniel Petralia tries: Kelsey Coakes 2 from 2, David Minute 1 from 1)