Author: Rebecca Westlake
A second half comeback saw the Western Suburbs Magpies suffer a narrow first loss of the 2019 season, going down to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26-24 in front of a vocal Campbelltown crowd.
Wests Magpies were the first to find themselves on the scoreboard after Watson Heleta, who was on the receiving end of the Bulldog’s fifth tackle kick, slipped through his defence and sprinted down field, positioning his team for a shot at the line. A classy kick from halfback Josh Reynolds was collected by Sam McIntyre who would claim the side’s first four points of the afternoon.
The Bulldogs next try would set the scene for a first half arm wrestle, responding 7 minutes later with Morgan Harper reaching out to ground the ball just over the line. An unsuccessful conversion left a two point margin after 18 minutes of play.
Three repeat sets allowed the Magpies to keep the ball within Bulldogs territory and eventually add to the scoresheet again through Braden Robson, who ducked out from dummy half to score his first try of the afternoon. Tyson Gamble’s kick gave the hosts a 6 point lead moving into the second quarter.
An error from Wests gave the Bulldogs a repeat set and built momentum which sent them over for their second try thanks to an unmarked Christian Crichton who dived over to send his side into the sheds trailing by 4 points.
Robson found himself over the line again just one minute into the second half after a fortunate double kick was dived on by the fast-acting hooker who scored under the posts. An easy conversion for Gamble, added the extras bringing the score to 18-8.
Moments later, Robson claimed a hat-trick after receiving a perfectly timed offload and diving under the Bulldogs goal-line defence. Gamble extended the lead to 24-8 with 35 minutes of play remaining.
The homeside’s strong lead didn’t last long with the Bulldogs scoring back to back tries through Tuipulotu Katoa and Bronson Garlick who took advantage of an unsuspecting Wests defensive line, bringing the margin to four points entering into the final quarter of the game.
A string of penalties awarded to the visitors would set them up for their final try, maintaining possession in the remaining 10 minutes. A line break from the Bulldogs saw the game’s final points scored by five-eighth Jesse Marschke who converted his own try left the full time score 26-24.
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 26 (Morgan Harper, Christian Crichton, Tuipulotu, Bronson Garlick, Jesse Marschke tries; Jesse Marschke 3/5 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 24 (Sam McIntyre, Braden Robson 3 tries; Tyson Gamble 4/4 goals)