Monday, March 21, 2011

Round 2 Match Report - NSW Cup - Wests v Newtown

This game was a match up between two foundation clubs and with both teams
recording a win in the first round each camp was keen to take away the two
competition points.

Although rain was a factor in the lead up to this game, Campbelltown Sports
Stadiums curator presented a very good playing surface.

The game got off at a cracking pace and it was the Magpies who took full
advantage of a repeat set after half Rhys Lenarduzzi put in a well weighted kick
into the Jets in goal area. From the ensuing line drop out, the Magpies forwards
attacked the Jets line. On the last tackle, Wests fullback Ben Jeffery saw the
Jets defense come up quickly which gave him the opportunity to kick behind
their line. Wide running second row forward Josh Davis seized this chance,
outpacing the Jets players before diving on the ball for a four pointer. The
conversion attempt was waved away. With 8 minutes on the clock, the Magpies
led 4 points to Jets 0.

The score line remained unchanged for the next twenty minutes or so during
which time both teams turned over possession, but dogged defense prevented
the other from gaining the ascendancy.

After being held up on the Magpies line for a number of sets, the Jets went to
the air with an immediate result. Several players contested the ball, but it was
the Jets who came up trumps to level the score at 4 all.

This was set to be the only points of the first half, but with 10 seconds left on
the clock, Jets half Mark Kheirallah put in a ‘banana kick’ which was taken by
fullback Rhys Pritchard who put the ball down under the Magpies black dot.
With the conversion attempt being successful, the Jets went into the minor break
leading 10 to 4. Dropped ball and a penalty count 6 to 3 against did not assist
the Magpies.

The second half was 9 minutes old when Jets half Kheirallah put in a 40/20 kick.
After winning the scrum, a Jets play carried the ball forward before sliding over
the line for their third try of the afternoon. The conversion attempt was again
waved away. Jets 14 Magpies 4.

A few minutes later Wests set up play on the Jets 10 metre line after receiving
a relieving penalty. After going close on a couple of times, it was replacement
forward David Harris who got his team back into the game after he forced his

way over the line. Lenarduzzi took the two points. Jets 14 Magpies 10.

On the back of a penalty, the Jets were in good field position close to the
Magpies try line. On the last tackle they decided to run the ball. After passing it
along the backline their wing three quarter forced his way over the try line. With
the failed conversion attempt, the Jets increased their lead 18 to 10.

With ten minutes left on the clock, the Magpies still had time to come up with
the win and when a Jets player fumbled the ball close to his try line they got
their chance. Jolly on the spot was Magpies five eight Ryan Millard who picked
up the loose ball and in one motion dived over for a great try. Lenarduzzi guided
the ball between the posts from a wide angle. With the score line reading
Jets 18 Magpies 16, the crowd sensed the Magpies could pull off the win, but
time was against the boys and as the hooter rang, it was the Jets who claimed

Scorers for the Magpies – tried to Josh Davis, David Harris and Ryan Millard
with Rhys Lenarduzzi kicking three goals from four attempts.

Leos best – Andrew Everingham.

Players’ player – Cassiano Jnr Aiga.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Fibro’s vs. Silvertails - Rnd 1 Match Report

The Magpies got off to a flying start for the 2011 NSW Cup season with a hard fought
win over Manly at Leichhardt Oval. The game was in the balance until the final
minutes, however despite Manly having repeat attacking sets on the Magpies
line, the black and whites held firm to take the two points.

The team that took the field contained only five players from the 2010 season,
but head coach Leo Epifania recruited well during the off season to ensure the
Magpies would be more than competitive this year.

The game was only 3 minutes old when Manly caught the Magpies defense short
on the blind side of the ruck. Quick hands saw the ball move to Manly’s wing
three quarter Michael Oldfield who crossed in the corner for a well constructed
try. Centre Scott Blanch kicked a fine conversion from a wide angle. Manly 6
Magpies 0.

The Magpies pressured Manly from the kick which caused the ball to be turned
over, giving the boys good field position. After attacking both sides of the field,
the ball was sent onto a hard running Andrew Everingham who split the defense
to score close to the posts. Magpies half Rhys Lenarduzzi added the extras to
level the score at 6 all.

Both teams put on a fine display of attacking and defensive football during the
remainder of the first half, but were unable to add to the score line.

During the half time break, head coach Leo Epifania reminded his team that they
had to remain patient and stick to the game plan. He told them he was happy
with their defensive effort.

Those words of encouragement certainly paid dividends. Within one minute
from the kick off the Magpies scored an inspirational try. Manly attempted to put
in a clearing kick inside the Magpies half but the play was quickly read by second
row forward Rocky Trimarchi who charged the ball down before gathering it in
close to the half way mark. Showing good speed, he outpaced the opposition in
a 50 metre run to the try line. The conversion attempt shaved the wrong side of
the posts; however the Magpies took the lead 10 points to 6.

The Manly team demonstrated they were not giving up with out a fight when
they scored their second try of the afternoon through replacement James

Cunningham. Scott Blanch took the extras on offer, putting his team back in
front 12 points to 10.

The hot and humid day certainly tested the mettle of both teams but they
continued to entertain the fans through well rehearsed plays and outstanding

In the 27th minute Wests received a penalty 40 metres from the Manly try line.
Epifania sent out a message to take the two points. Rhys Lenarduzzi responded
to the call to level the scores at 12 points all.

Manly surprised the Magpies when they re gathered the ball from a short kick
off. With good field position, Manly carried the ball close to the Magpies line, but
steadfast defense put paid to Manly’s attacking play.

With time running out, the Magpies showed they were desperate to take the
win when they found themselves 25 metres from the Manly line. Big second row
forward Matt Achurch received the ball in traffic. He stepped around a couple of
Manly defenders to carry the ball to the black dot for a fine individual try. Rhys
Lenarduzzi guided the ball between the uprights to put the black and white team
in front 18 points to 12.

In the dying stages of the game, Manly threw everything at the Magpies. Their
five eight Liam Foran put in a kick which landed in the Magpies in goal. With
plenty chasing, Magpie wing three quarter Dayne Craig evaded the opposition to
carry the ball back into the field of play.

With time almost up, the Manly team was penalised for being offside which
ensured the Magpies run out winners.

Scorers for the Magpies – Andrew Everingham 1 try, Rocky Trimarchi 1 try
and Mitch Achurch 1 try with Rhys Lenarduzzi kicking 3 goals.

Manly – Michael Oldfield and James Cunningham scored a try each with Scott
Blanch kicking two goals.

Players player match ball – shared between Puna Rasaubale and Rocky

Leo’s best three – Troy O’Sullivan, Puna Rasaubale and Andrew Everingham.

Next game – 3pm Saturday 19 March 2011 Wests Magpies play
Newtown Jets at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Group 6 Rugby League 2011 Season Preview

The Group 6 rugby league season officially kicks of this weekend (march 12-13th) with the annual pre season competition. Many sides are coming together well and this year could be one of the strongest & even competition in many years. After the combined competition was abandoned last year two of the strongest Campbelltown clubs, City & Eagles affiliated with group 6 and were accepted, a newly formed team will also join the 3rd grade competition called the Macaurthur Bulls. Easts are now known as the Campbelltown Eagles and have pulled out of bundy cup to concentrate on their group 6 campaign. The comp will comprise at this stage a 10 team first & reserve grade , 8 team 3rd grade comp and possibly two divisions of u/18s. The first round of the season proper will also feature local derbies which will create enormous interest.
The U/18s comp is still unknown but with the inclusion of the Campbelltown sides it will make the comp alot stronger, traditional group 6 clubs such as Mittagong,Camden & Picton will as always feature strongly throughout the year.

Reserve Grade if you look at the previous season the top 4 teams remaining in the finals with the exception of Collegians were Easts, City, Moss Vale & Thirlmere. These clubs have alot of depth and it looks like these clubs have recruited well and will be as strong this year so it may be likely these teams will be the front runners in reserve grade. City are the defending reserve grade premiers.

3rd grade will be an interesting grade to watch this year especially with the new team Macaurthur Bulls who will be based at Oakdale this year. The bulls recently were runners up in this years Kiama nines tournament going down to strong group 8 club Queanbeyan roos. Robertson have returned back to Group 6 after a few years in the wilderness with their grade side, their u/18s were in the combined comp last year and made it to the u/18 div 3 grand final. Appin are defending 3rd grade premiers winning their 2nd premiership in 3 years. Warragamba always feature in the finals and will probably be in the top 5 again this year. Mt Annan will probably struggle for quality especially if the rumoured reports that nearby Narellan will also field a 3rd grade side as well. Bowral will be competitive but cant see them troubling the top sides especially with quality of teams in the competition.

Defending 1st grade premiers Moss Vale are still a strong outfit and have recruited well in the off season. Willie Mcdonald is once again captain coach .Former local junior Aaron Dejager who has been playing for Kiama recently will return to the club as well as Matt Wortz. Also the return of Josh Saunders from overseas will bolster their backline as well as Bret Clarke. They’ve only lost Jess Micaleff and Rhys Lennaduzzi who is trialing with the West Magpies NSW cup team.

Picton finished 5th at 2010 seasons end and were hardly a consistent team last year like the Oakdales ,Easts and Moss Vale .Picton had a ordinary first half of the 2010 season but came home with a wet sail towards the grand final. Momentum & confidence plus the leadership from Gary Dowse got them thru last year, unsure if they can replicate that again this year especially with a new coach at the helm. Last years effort kinda reminded me of the Parramatta Eeels run to the grand final in 2009 .Unsure what player movements have occurred at the club but reports say they look strong again.

Oakdale will be a force again this year and have veteran journeyman half Ron Jones returning to the club. They had an impressive 20-10 trial win over bundy cup side Sydney Bulls so it shows how much quality they have and how well drilled ,coach Brendan Reeves has the side. Definately a top 3 finish for the workers this year.

Mittagong are in a rebuilding phase at present and will trouble some sides this year. They’ve recruited former Thirroul hardman Ryan Powell as capt/coach who is also a former west magpie & St George player. Because they are a young side ,experience may be a telling factor in some of their games this year but could spring a few upsets this year.

Thirlmere are one of the more experienced teams in the comp and most succesfull clubs in recent times. They are reportedly in the player market once again and usually recruit some big name and/or good quality players. Regardless if they do they will be hard to beat once again this year.

The Oaks will be the Darkhorse of this year comp as they have recruited well picking up several players. Unsure where they will finish up but they definitely wont finish bottom of the ladder like they have the past few seasons.

Campbelltown city missed out on the play offs last year but should have won more games than they lost . I’m sure their resolve will be hardened by the signing of Drew Dalton as the clubs first grade capt/coach. Dalton has played around mainly lower grades at Parramatta as well as West Magpies also. A good player but will need to be supported by the rest of the team , can make the top 5 but will need to work on shutting out their opposition when in winning positions something they failed to do last year.

Campbelltown Eagles have ditched their bundy cup side to soley concentrate on their group 6 campaign this year. Due to the points system they have had to be careful of what players to retain from their bundy side. They will give teams headaches this year and have plenty of depth. Tip ,top 3 finish.

Narellan coached by Dane Wooden are relatively unknown at this stage. They have played a trial against The Oaks but no glowing reports about the jets performance would suggest they’ll trouble any teams this year. With other teams recruiting well and looking stronger than last year , the jets may just get left behind.

Camden have retained the bulk of last years squad plus notably added 2009 group 6 player of the year in Chris Browne. He returned to the club but even his inclusion will improve the rams chances slightly ,but with every other club stepping up and recruiting well in the off season, Camden will be competitive but can’t see them in the top 5.

As mentioned before, this year is a very close and even competition and anyone of 6 teams could win on the day. Hopefully the pre season competition may give us a little more insight on how the teams are progressing this year