Written by: Rebecca Westlake
It was an ‘on the edge of your seat’ type match last Sunday when Western Suburbs Magpies claimed two competition points after defeating the North Sydney Bears, slotting them into third place on the ladder and winning the 2018 Jason Taylor Cup.
An early mistake from the home side that North Sydney an opportunity to amount enormous pressure, however the Magpies succumbed and built their own momentum through some gutsy defence and strong attacking sets.
A favourable kick collection from Luke Garner, gave the captain room to march up field and position his team for their first try with Jacob Liddle skimming through the Bears defensive line almost untouched.
North’s were soon to react with a right to left shift, ending in Curtis Johnston diving over in the corner for his side’s first try of the afternoon. Mawene Hiroti’s conversion attempt was very unsuccessful as a result of an unforgiving breeze.
Back to back penalties set up the Magpies for their second try with Harry O’Toole scoring in the corner, after an overlap left the Bears defence short.
After winning a goal line restart, the Bears received a penalty 30 metres out and gave them perfect range to set up for another responsive try. Billy Brittain dived through his opponents to get the four points, with Hiroti adding the extras.
Entering the second stanza leading by two points, the Magpies had to act quickly to secure their lead. A few close calls saw Wests build momentum while staying strong in defence, holding their line and remaining in front.
Losing Bayley Sironen to a suspected HIA meant a shuffle in the halves and the addition of JJ Felise and new comer Kurt Aldridge who would each play a large part in their side’s attack and defensive efforts. Tui Lolohea stepped up and lead the side, having assisted in two close calls for the Magpies.
With only 5 minutes remaining, it seemed that O’Toole was in for his second after assistance from halfback Pita Godinet, but was disallowed by officials, leaving the full time score no different with Wests defeating Norths 12-10.
Western Suburbs Magpies 12 (Jacob Liddle, Harry O'Toole tries; Tui Lolohea 2/2 goals) def. North Sydney Bears 10 (Curtis Johnston, Billy Brittain tries; Mawene Hiroti 1/2 goals)
Written by: Keith Topolski
Early domination laid the platform for Wentworthville to escape with a 26-18 victory over a plucky Western Suburbs outfit.
Three consecutive penalties and a knock-on greeted the visitors after their first set of the match, Wentworthville eventually taking possession back after five straight minutes of pure defence as Wests found themselves out of space on the left flank.
As is the fashion in the modern game, the team under early pressure took advantage of taking possession back, Wenty sending the ball on a right shift to see Eparama Navale open the scoring as the clock hit double digits.
Wentworthville used the momentum shift to establish territorial advantage in the ensuing ten minutes and almost went over when Kurt DeLuis poked his head through off a short ball from Magnus Stromquist, but Blake Cook made up for the shortfall with a dummy half burrow off the ensuing play the ball.
The physicality threatened to simmer over on the half hour after the visitors pushed the envelope with a little extra effort on Brendan Waters after a Crossfield bomb, Haimona Hiroti and James Mirceski both dispatched for a spell as the most aggressive members of the melee.
The home side were fuming after Wenty received back to back penalties courtesy of a charge down which the referee deemed late with Beau Henry stepping through a staggered line to put the visitors ahead by three converted tries
Wests reduced the halftime deficit to an even dozen four minutes before the interval as Daniel Petralia burrowed over for his first try of the season, the home side unable to reduce the deficit further despite a break from the restart.
Wests began the second half with a sour mixed bag as they allowed the kick off to go dead, broke away off their first set to almost score and then allowed Beau Henry to grab his second all within the first seven minutes of the second stanza.
Wests began to gain some ascendancy in the ruck and registered their second try in the 51stminute as David Minute stormed on to a delightful short ball close to the Wenty line, the home side having to wait another 17 minutes before posting another as James Mirceski marched through a gap the size of Sydney Heads to bring Wests back to within an even dozen.
Desperation forced Wests into some risky plays, and a penalty for hands on the ball six minutes from time allowed Beau Henry to push the margin back to eight with a penalty goal from alongside the uprights, Wentworthville taking the points in a physical encounter.
WENTWORTHVILLE 26 (Beau Henry 2, Eparama Navale, Blake Cook tries; Beau Henry 5 from 5 defeated WESTERN SUBURBS 18 (Daniel Petralia, David Minute, James Mirceski tries; Kelsey Coakes 3 from 3)