Written By: Rebecca Westlake
St George Illawarra Dragons have put Western Suburbs Magpies winning streak to rest after a bold win last Sunday in front of a very vocal Leichhardt Oval crowd.
With just two points between them on the Intrust Super Premiership ladder, it was clear that this Round 16 clash would see a lot of gutsy attack and defence from both teams, as they fight to remain in the top four.
Two quick tries from Pio Sokobalavu and Jordan Pereira, gave St George an early lead over the home side in just 10 minutes of play. Jai Field successfully converted both tries, despite the glary afternoon sun.
Wests soon responded with Tyson Gamble crashing over the line in his return from first grade, no thanks to Luke Garner who saw opportunity in their last tackle play. Gamble added the extras, closing in on the Dragons 12-6.
A short side play gave the Dragons 6 more points with Shaun Sauni-Esau scoring in the corner after a nice flick pass from Steven Marsters. Soon after, Jacob Liddle was in after a short side raid of his own, coming out from dummy half to dive over the try line. An unsuccessful conversion from Gamble left the Magpies trailing by 6 at the break.
Back from the sheds, and desperate to maintain their half time lead, the Dragons set sights on the Magpies try line. After a string of penalties, and a few mistakes in attack from the Magpies, Adam Clune capitalised and saw Jackson Ford over the line for the Dragons final try of the afternoon.
With 28 minutes remaining, St George extended their lead to 12 points with a penalty goal from Field, giving them a crucial margin equalling two converted tries. Lucas Price reduced the lead to just 8 when he dived over in the corner.
Still determined and with just under 5 minutes left of play, Price added another 4 points on the board with the winger collecting a Gamble cross field kick. Gamble was unable to convert from the sideline, leaving the fulltime score 22-18.
St. George-Illawarra Dragons 22 ( Pio Sokobalavau, Jordan Pereira, Shaun Sauni-Esau, Jackson Ford tries; Jake Field 3/5 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 18 (Lucas Price 2, Tyson Gamble, Jacob Liddle tries; Tyson Gamble 1/3 goals)
Written By: Steve Reeves
Wests Magpies secured the services of one of their favourite sons David Harris for the remainder of the season. David would be making his return to the Magpies from the interchange bench after not playing since late in 2017.
The Magpies were starved of possession for long periods in the first half after they made a number of errors, but being on the wrong side of the penalty count certainly gave Asquith plenty of possession. As you would expect, when presented with good field position, Asquith made the most of their try scoring opportunities. In the 4th minute, after taking a tap on Magpies 40 metre line the ball was spread to five eight Riley Travers who showed good pace when he ran through a gap in the Magpies defense. He drew the fullback before passing a flat ball to second row forward Jackson Williams who was backing up on the inside. Williams ran some 15 metres to score his team’s first try the afternoon. Horton converted from in front of the posts. Asquith 6 Wests Magpies 0.
After a run of penalties Asquith played the ball deep in Magpie territory. Five eight Riley Travers switched their point of attack from the open to the blind side which caught the Magpies out, allowing centre three quarter Kurt Horton to dive over in the eastern corner. His conversion attempt was waved away and in the 8th minute Asquith increased their lead to 10 points to 0.
In the 13th minute, after attacking the Magpies line for a number of sets, Asquith prop forward William Selway forced his way over the line. Horton’s conversion from in front of the sticks saw their lead move out to 16 points to 0.
When the opportunity presented, the Magpies threw everything at Asquith. They came close to scoring on two occasions but were pulled down short of the try line. Replacement forward, David Harris came onto the field and certainly put a sting in the Magpies defense. He combined firstly with Luke Williams then Tom Morrison in making strong tackles which forced the ball loose but the referee ruled that Wests players had knocked the ball on and gave the resulting scrum feed to Asquith. After winning the scrum, Asquith again spread the ball wide to centre three quarter Kurt Horton who crossed for his second try. Once again the conversion attempt flew wide of the mark. Asquith 20 Wests Magpies 0.
In the closing stages of the first half the Magpies again went close to scoring, but were tackled tantalising close to the try line. On the last tackle the Magpies put in a grubber which was collected by wing three quarter Alex Nichols-O’Neil who cracked the defense wide open when he ran from inside his own in goal area. After advancing towards half way, he offloaded to replacement forward Niko Apelu. In traffic, Apelu threw the ball to half back Mathew Place who in turn picked out five eight Riley Travers who showed good speed on his way to the try line. With the unsuccessful conversion attempt, Asquith went into the sheds at half time leading 24 pints to 0.
The first 20 minutes or so of the second half was a very even affair with neither team able to break through the defensive line. Unfortunately that changed in the 22nd minute after Asquith’s centre three quarter Jake Maizen chased down a rolling kick to give his team their first points of the second half. Again the conversion attempt was waved away. Asquith 28 Wests Magpies 0.
Asquith took full advantage after a Wests Magpies player was sent to the sin bin for a ten minute break. From the ensuing penalty, Asquith five eight Riley Travers found his way across the line for his second try of the afternoon. Mathew Place took over the kicking duties, but he was unable to claim the extra two points. Asquith 32 Wests Magpies 0.
The Magpies responded a few minutes later when captain and half back Brendan Waters threw a long cut out pass to centre three quarter Inno Inosesio who displayed good strength to force his way over the line. Waters conversion attempt shaved the posts. Asquith 32 Wests Magpies 4.
In the 36th minute, after winning the scrum on the Magpies 40 metre line, a flat ball was thrown to wing three quarter Alex Nichols-O’Neil who outpaced the defense to score in the western corner. Place missed with his shot at goal. Asquith 36 Wests Magpies 4.
In the final minute of the game, wing three quarter Kelsey Coakes put in a grubber kick which he chased hard to score the final points of the game. Waters added the extras which would see the final score read Asquith 32 Wests Magpies 10.
Wests Magpies. One try each to Inno Inosesio & Kelsey Coakes with Brendan Waters kicking 1 goal from 2 attempts.
Best for the Magpies. Brendan Waters, Tom Morrison, James Mirceski, David Harris & Keiran Wyld.
Asquith. Kurt Horton & Riley Travers 2 tries each with 1 try to Jackson Williams, William Selway, Jake Maizen and Alex Nichols-O’Neil. Kurt Horton 2 goals.
Best for Asquith. Mathew Place, Riley Travers, Kurt Horton & William Selway.