Written by: Rebecca Westlake
Falling from grace last weekend and losing their first place position on the Intrust Super Premiership ladder, the Western Suburbs Magpies were unsuccessful once more in their Round 10 clash against the St George Illawarra Dragons at Jubilee Oval on Sunday morning.
After two close attempts at the try line from Western Suburbs, it was St George Illawarra who were the first to put points on the board with hooker Joe Lovodua over the line, throwing a convincing dummy after the play the ball after 11 minutes of play.
A grubber from Patrick Herbert collected by Jordan Pereira who would score to the left of the posts would see the Dragons extend their first half lead to 10-0.
Losing Gus Garzaniti for the afternoon to a suspected dislocated shoulder with 15 minutes to go in the first half saw a shuffle to the Magpies halves with the addition of Braden Robson who would assist in his side’s first points of the afternoon with Luke Garner getting his fifth try of the season. Tyson Gamble’s conversion would narrow the margin to four points.
Off the back of a Magpie’s mistake, a sideline sprint from Reuben Garrick and a flick pass to Pereira who claimed his second try of the afternoon gave the Dragons a 10-point lead at the break with Jai Field successfully converting in the aftermath.
The Dragons began the second half no different to the first, putting pressure on the Magpie’s defensive line moving the ball through the hands, ending with Jack Payne who escaped the arms of his opponents and crashed over for his first try of the afternoon.
Trailing by 16 points, the Magpies saw hope when Lucas Price sprinted up field, but was unfortunately tackled into touch, seeing the Dragons on the attack again. Shortly after, Pereira was in for another try, completing his hat-trick on the back end of a Herbert pass.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, the Dragons attacked the Magpie’s right side defence with Garrick spinning through and crashing over the visitors line, adding 6 more points to his team’s comfortable margin.
Herbert didn’t seem to think his team had finished, scoring an individual try after he was on the receiving end of a Magpie’s final play kick. Pereira joined Herbert, scoring his forth in the final minutes after sprinting down the sideline sweeping past his defence. Field added the extras to make it 42 points to 6.
In the dying minutes, the Magpies produced their only second half points after a Toni Tali offload sent Lucas Price over, with Gamble making it 42-12 at the bell.
St George Illawarra Dragons 42 (Josaia Lovodua, Jordan Pereira 4, Jack Payne, Reuben Garrick, Patrick Herbert tries; Jai Field 5/8 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 12 (Luke Garner, Lucas Price tries; Tyson Gamble 2/2 goals)
Written by: Steve Reeves
Wests Magpies had extra time to prepare this game after a bye in the previous round. I am sure the question was on everyone’s mind leading up to this clash, ‘Can the boys turn things around.’ Reports from inside the camp; the players trained well & there was a positive vibe amongst them. Head Coach Nathan Waters was acutely aware that his team needed to find a way to cope better without possession so when the opportunity arose they could go on the attack. Was today going to be that day?
The kick off was delayed by half an hour due to an unfortunate injury to a St Marys player in the lead up game. On behalf of Wests Magpies, we wish the young man a speedy recovery. Coach Waters kept the boys mind on the job whilst the injured player was being treated. His manner kept them focused.
The 1st half got under way with a furious start from both sides. Those early exchanges set the standard for what was to follow. They traded strong defensive sets as each strived to gain the upper hand. The writing was on the wall, Wests Magpies were there to play. It wasn’t until the 37th minute that Wests Magpies gained a slim advantage when five eight Kurt Aldridge put up a towering bomb which was knocked on by St Marys about 20 metres from their line. After winning the scrum, half & captain Brendan Waters probed both sides of the field but St Marys repelled each raid. The last tackle saw the Magpies perched right on the oppositions try line. The ball was thrown to five eight Kurt Aldridge who put in a grubber kick behind the defensive line. The ever present hooker Luke Williams followed through at pace & dived on the rolling ball. Kurt Aldridge gladly claimed the extra 2 points giving the Magpies 6 points to 0 lead as they headed into a well-earned half time break.
The 2nd half continued at a frantic pace. St Marys threw everything at the Magpies but their line remained intact. In the 10th minute, Wests Magpies received a penalty when St Marys were in possession of the ball! Captain Brendan Waters threw the pill to Aldridge & told him to have a shot. Aldridge placed the ball on the tee some 45 metres out & slightly towards the side line. He only took a couple of steps before he booted the ball straight over the black dot. Wests Magpies 8 St Marys 0. The extra 2 points gave the boys a bit of breathing space, but not for long. In the 12th minute St Marys responded with a try. After 3 repeat sets deep in Magpie territory, St Marys hooker Peter Nay dived over adjacent to the posts. Fullback Chad O’Donnell’s conversion reduced the deficit to just 2 points. With 28 minutes left on the clock it was anyone’s game; the only question was who would take home the points. It wasn’t until the 24th minute that Wests Magpies found themselves in another try scoring position. On the last tackle, five eight Kurt Aldridge drove a flat ball into the oppositions in goal. The chase from the Magpies was good, forcing a St Marys player to take the ball dead in goal. The line drop out was taken by Aldridge on the 40 metre line, he feigned to pass causing the opposition to hold off. He quickly accelerated & took the ball to the 20 metre line. A darting run from Daniel
Petralia almost resulted in a prize, but he was tackled short. The next play saw a rampaging run from prop James Mirceski who carried defenders over the line before wrestling the ball to the ground. With the extras from Aldridge the Magpies went ahead 14 to 6.
Wests were called on to once again dig deep when the opposition forced 2 line drop outs in a row. With the crowd urging both teams on, the stage was set for a nail biting finish. In the 37th minute & on the 3rd tackle Waters ran down the short side before throwing a cut out pass to wing three quarter Jesse Allan. Allan, showing good pace evaded the first line of defence & when confronted by St Marys fullback he stabbed kicked the ball which rolled into touch. To the cheers of the Magpie fans, the referee awarded the visitors a 40/20. After taking the tap, the Magpies surged. Sensing an opportunity, Waters took the ball & weaved his way through the defense to score a sensational try. Aldridge took the 2 points & as he headed back to his mates fulltime rang out. The final score read Wests Magpies 20 St Marys 6. Man of the Match: Every player gave their all. NB. Both teams ability to play at a fast pace for 80 minutes with heavy defence was impressive. A great rugby league spectacle.
Wests Magpies. Tries to Luke Williams, James Mirceski & Brendan Waters. Kurt Aldridge kicked 3 conversions & 1 penalty goal form as many attempts.
Best for the Magpies. Every player who took the field backed up by the coaching staff, volunteers & supporters.
St Marys. 1 try to Peter Nay with Chad O’Donnell adding the extras.
Best for St Marys. Aiden Glanville, Peter Nay & Soni Luke.