Author: Rebecca Westlake
Western Suburbs Magpies went down to the Wentworthville Magpies 20 points to 6 last Sunday, in a second half comeback from the visitors. Despite being level at the break, Wests couldn’t quite hold onto what would have been a memorable win.
After a hard couple of weeks, the boys from Western Suburbs kept their heads high in a game full of passion, determination and effort, such that has not been seen yet this season.
The game got off to a rough start for the hosts with the ball fumbled over the line after the opening kick off. Despite a repeat set and the Wenty playmakers giving Wests a run for their money, they were held scoreless. Isaac Rabuatoka caught the Wenty winger offguard, stripping the ball and sprinting into enemy territory.
Rabuatoka would star in another heart racing moment chasing down his opponent and tackling him into touch. As the crowd cheered, Wests momentum grew and with the help of two repeat sets, the home side were able to gain control of the game.
As their confidence heightened, so did their efforts, with strong defence lead by captain Josh Daley supported by Andy Fiagatusa, Kieran Wyld and Harrison Leonard.
A head high tackle on Harrison allowed Wests to continue their hunt for points with Manaia Rudolph kicking for touch and advancing his side closer to the try line. Jack Gibbons, Corey Daley and Josh Davis proving just as strong in attack, making metres for better position at the line but couldn’t get across.
A favourable penalty gave Rudolph the opportunity to take a shot at goal, bringing the score to 2-nil entering into the second quarter of the match.
An overlap on the left edge saw Wenty take the lead, with winger Eparama Navale diving over the line with 10 minutes to go in the first half.
With minutes remaining in the first stanza, Wests lost Ahmad Ellaz for the afternoon, failing a HIA assessment. After receiving a penalty, Wests marched down to level the score through Rudolph who stepped his defence and dived over. Unable to convert his own try, Rudolph sent his side into the break all locked up 6-all.
Returning to the field, Wenty were quick to score a controversial try through Henry Raiwalui after a knock on was missed by officials. A missed conversion left the score margin to just four points.
A strong Wests defensive pack proved stronger, forcing an error by the visitors and in turn received 3 repeat sets due to lack of discipline from Wenty. Harrison Leonard was almost rewarded for his efforts diving under the posts but ruled away by officials.
A penalty in favour of Wenty for a head high tackle gave them six more tackles, setting up Eli Roberts to widen the score to 14-6 with 18 minutes remaining.
After a strong attacking set, Wenty attempted to kick the ball into touch, but the ball was swiftly collected by Rabuatoka who worked his way up field. A poor last tackle option from Wests soon redeemed itself with a relentless Wests defence forcing a Wenty error in their first tackle of the next set.
A slip up in the hosts' defensive line allowed Wenty to slide straight through, finishing with Josh Bergamin over for his team’s final try the afternoon, Rydge Smith added the extras leaving the score 20-6 at full time.
Wentworthville Magpies 20 (Eparama Navale, Henry Raiwalui, Eli Roberts, Josh Bergamin tries; Beau Henry, Rydge Smith goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 6 (Manaia Rudolph try, Manaia Rudolph goal)
Author: Rebecca Westlake
Western Suburbs Magpies bounced back after two straight losses, beating the Penrith Panthers 32-12 at Leichhardt Oval last Sunday afternoon.
After last weekend’s tough loss to Mounties, Brett Hodgson increased his side’s senior experience with the late edition of Elijah Taylor, Paul Momirovski and David Nofoaluma who would star in his first game of the season.
Penrith Panthers were the first ones on the board after Kauri Aupouri-Puketapu dropped the ball straight off the kick off, giving the visitors prime position for points, eventually scoring through Caleb Aikins after only a few minutes of play.
A string of penalties awarded to the hosts gave them plenty of possession and level the score after Sam McIntyre charged through his defence to score his third of the season.
Penrith gave away another penalty and Gamble decided to kick for touch, setting up the Magpies next try with a right side raid and a quick ball to Kane Bradley, Momirovski added the extras bringing the score to 10-4, with 16 minutes to go in the first half.
Penrith found themselves in a bit of trouble after a player was put on report for a dangerous tackle on Bradley with the penalty putting the Magpies on the board again after Gamble busted through the Panthers defensive line and scored just right of the posts.
Frustration got the best of the Panthers with a head high tackle on Momirovski sent Brent Naden to the sin bin for the remainder of the first half. Although they were one man down, the visitors bounced back, creating an overlap and scoring out wide through Brian Too sending his side into the sheds trialling by 6 points.
The Magpies kept their level of pressure consistent entering the second half, with the hosts dragging Aekins back into the in-goal area after he was on the receiving end of the kick off. Aupouri capitalised and found a gap, diving over next to the posts with an easy conversion for Momirovski widening the margin to 12 points.
Moments later, David Nofoaluma, who had been impressive throughout, got a quick inside ball away to Gamble who slipped through his defence with Dylan Smith in support who would eventually score.
With a steady lead, a kick on the forth took to Panthers by surprise, as did the strong kick chase who would win the kick. The Magpies with momentum behind them went through the hands to Gamble who put up a kick that bounced off Penrith and luckily found the hands of Aupouri. Momirosvki was successful in conversion extending the lead to 32-6.
Wests got a little too comfortable in the final minutes of the game, with Penrith taking advantage of a penalty and Ratu Tuisese scoring his team's only points of the second half.
Western Suburbs Magpies Magpies 32 (Sam McIntyre, Kane Bradley, Tyson Gamble, Kauri Aupouri-Puketapu, Dylan Smith tries; Paul Momirovski 4/6 goals) def. Penrith Panthers 12 (Caleb Aekins, Brian Too, Ratu Tuisese)