Written by: Steve Reeves
Vale Mr Steve ‘Bear’ Hall. Mid way through today’s match both Wests Magpies & Dubbo CYM’S players & staff received very sad news, the passing of rugby league stalwart, Mr Steve ‘Bear’ Hall. Steve had been battling ill health for the past couple of years during which time he was supported by his loving wife Margaret, children, extended family & friends. Steve had a long association with both Wests Magpies & Group 11 team Dubbo CYM’S, a team he captain coached to the 1986 premiership, beating Forbes 56 points to nil. As a sign of respect, a minutes silence was observed at half time of this match. On behalf of Wests Magpies& all involved in rugby league I offer my condolences to Margaret, Michelle, Stephen & their extended family. Bear had a positive impact on the lives of many people & he will be sadly missed. RIP mate.
Today’s game saw Dubbo CYM’S travel from the bush to take on Wests Magpies in round three of the NSW Challenge Cup. Dubbo were Group 11, 2018 grand finalists & as such they are certainly a team to be respected. The game was played at Henson Park, Newtown before a willing crowd of onlookers. A reasonable breeze would favour Wests Magpies for the first 20 minutes of play.
The early exchanges saw both teams testing each other out in what was to be a preview of an entertaining game of rugby league. Dubbo were the first to record points when in the 5th minute they put up a towering kick on the last tackle which bounced on Wests Magpies 20 metre line. The chase from Dubbo was good and the luck of the bounce was with them when the ball was collected by second row forward Alex Ronayne who had a short run to the line to claim his team’s first try. Fullback Brad Pickering made sure he claimed the extras which put his team up 6 points to 0.
From the restart in play, Dubbo forwards carried the ball back into Wests Magpies territory before a strong tackle from second row forward Adrian Ha’angana forced the ball loose. After winning the scrum Wests Magpies surged downfield. A quick play the ball was followed by a nice pass to Ahmed Ellaz who dived over in the western corner to score a great try. The conversion attempt from half Mania Rudolph from a difficult angle was waved away. Dubbo CYM’S 6 Wests Magpies 4.
Over the next few rucks, both teams committed a number of handling errors, but it was Wests Magpies who would take the lead into the first break of the game. Once again their forward pack, led by the Adrian Ha’angana, the Minute brothers, TJ Carter & Josh Daley carried the ball deep into the opposition’s end of the field. After being awarded a penalty, hooker Josh Daley took the tap before picking out David Minute who carried three Dubbo players over the line with him. Mania Rudolph successful kick put Wests Magpies in front 10 points to 6.
The 2nd twenty minutes got under way after Dubbo’s fullback Brad Pickering put in a deep kick. It was taken by centre three quarter Joshua Davis who made it back to the 20 metre line. Keeping the momentum going, Magpies dummy half Josh Daley sprinted 40 metres down field. In the next play, prop forward Avia Minute hit it up through the centre of the ruck & with players hanging off him he got a sensational pass away to fullback Omar Slaimankhel. With plenty to do, he stepped left & right as he evaded a number of attempted tackles on his way to placing the ball under the black dot. The run brought warm applause. Wests Magpies 16 Dubbo CYMS 6.
Whilst this was to be the final score after the completion of two quarters of football, Dubbo went close to scoring. After receiving a penalty, Dubbo five eight Matt Tool read the defense well & switched play to the eastern side of the field. In what was a close call, wing three quarter Aiden Lake was tackled into touch just short of Wests Magpies try line. Not to be outdone and when the opportunity presented, Wests Magpies replacement prop forward Harrison Leonard was held up over the line after a damaging run. Unfortunately, scrappy play put an end to promising attacking raids from both sides.
The third quarter saw Dubbo put the Magpies under a great pressure. They controlled field position & at the end of three sets in a row, they forced Wests Magpies to take a line drop out. To their credit, Wests Magpies defended their line stoutly & when given an opportunity with the ball they looked certain to score a try on the western side of the field, but the final pass went to ground.
Dubbo applied further pressure by keeping the Magpies deep in their own territory & in the 12th minute that pressure paid dividends when fullback Brad Pickering got his team back into a game by scoring in the eastern corner after a weaving run down the touchline. He was called upon to convert his own try; making no mistake he put the ball through the uprights. Wests Magpies 16 Dubbo CYM’S 12.
Wests Magpies got play under way again but were penalised for tackling a player in the air. At the end of their next set, a rolling ball was put into Wests Magpies in goal area forcing another line drop out. After receiving the ball Dubbo pushed forward. On their last tackle, they decided to run the ball. Five eight Matt Tool switched the point of the attack to the short side before passing the ball onto second row forward Billy Sing who scored his team’s third try of the day. With the score all locked up, it was up to Brad Pickering to put his team into the lead. From almost the identical position as his last kick, he stuck the ball cleanly & added the extras. Dubbo CYMS 18 Wests Magpies 16.
The final quarter was played at a furious pace. Dubbo were defending their lead with Wests Magpies trying to score a match winning try. It wasn’t to be but as the full time hooter sounded, Wests Magpies were given a penalty! A chance to level the game. With the wind in his face, Wests Magpies half Mania Rudolph placed the ball
on the western sideline, right on half way. He struck the ball well but it fell short. In what was certainly a game of halves, Wests Magpies controlled the game for the first 40 minutes, but Dubbo CYM’S came home strongly to claim the win. Three tries each but fine kicking from Brad Pickering got his team over the line. Pickering’s kicking in general play also gained plenty of metres for Dubbo. It was good to see that a number of CYM’S supporters made the trip to Newtown to cheer on their charges. On behalf of Wests Magpies, we wish them well in the final.
Wests Magpies: Tries to Ahmed Ellaz, David Minute & Omar Slaimankhel. Mania Rudolph kicked 2 conversions from 4 attempts.
Dubbo CYM’s: Tries Alex Ronayne, Billy Sing & Brad Pickering who also kicked 3 conversions from as many attempts.
Best for Wests Magpies: Josh Daley, Omar Slaimankhel, Adrian Ha’angana, Joshua Davis, Avia & David Minute, Edward TJ Carter, Harrison Leonard, Jerimiah Leasi & Mania Rudolph.
Best for Dubbo CYM’S: Brad Pickering, Corey Cox, Matt Tool, Tom Yeo, Nacewa Nalagi, Jayden Merritt, Ben Marlin, Hamish Astill, Billy Sing & Jordan Reynolds.