The Magpies traveled to the home of the North Sydney Bears at North Sydney
Oval for their Round 8 clash. Both teams had recorded only one win so far
this season and were looking to turn things around. North Sydney fielded a
strong team headed by Rhys Wesser and Fetuli Talanoa who are regulars in the
Rabbithos NRL team whilst Wests Magpies included several new players due to a
long list of injuries.
The game got off to a slow start due to poor ball control and costly penalties,
but it was the Bears who took the advantage after a repeat set on the Magpies
try line. Live wire half Malcolm Webster stepped through a couple of attempted
tackles to score under the posts. He converted his own try for a 6 points to nil
lead after 10 minutes of play.
The Magpies, as in recent games, put on several promising raids, but too many
dropped balls again proved to be their achilles heel. In the 20th minute, they
showed what they could do when they controlled the ball. After pressing the
Bears try line for a couple of sets and with good field position, the ball was
quickly spread across the back line to fullback Cassiano Aiga who had chimed
into the backline. Showing good strength he forced his way over the try line
close to the corner post. The conversion attempt shaved the wrong side of the
uprights, Bears 6 Magpies 4. Twenty minutes to go in the first half.
The play moved from one end of the field to the other; however neither team
could capitalise on a number of opportunities, that is until the 30th minute when
Bears five eight Jay Florimo set sail for the try line after his team received a
relieving penalty. He put the ball down alongside the posts with Webster adding
the extras. Bears 12 Magpies 4.
The Bears pressured the Magpies line relentlessly, but to the boy’s credit, they
repelled those attacks. This defensive effort took a lot of energy out of the
Wests outfit and in the 37th minute, after gathering in a clearing kick, North’s
fullback Rhys Wesser weaved his way through the opposition. When caught,
he passed a fine ball to a support player who off loaded to hooker Beau Falloon
who sprinted away to score his teams third try of the half. Webster’s conversion
increased his teams lead to 18 points to 4. This score remain unchanged as the
players left the field for the first half.
The second half was only four minutes old when the Bears recorded their fourth
try. In what was a well rehearsed move, the ball was carried across field by half
Webster who picked out a hard running Deon Apps who crashed over near the
posts. Webster continued his fine kicking display claiming the extras. Bears 24 Magpies 4.
Three minutes later, Bears replacement Jake Shearer crossed for fine
try which was converted by Webster. Bears 30 Magpies 4.
It looked like the score might blow out even further, but the Magpies showed
they were not going to give up.
In the 11th minute, Wests rolled the ball into the Bears in goal. Showing good
pace, Wests fullback Cassiano Aiga beat the Bears cover defence to score his
second try of the afternoon. The successful conversion from Rhys Lenarduzzi
left the Bears leading 30 points to 10.
The Magpies lifted further in the 15th minute when, on the last tackle, second
row forward Josh Davis collected the ball from dummy half before forcing his
way over the try line. The conversion was unsuccessful. Bears 30 Magpies 14.
Wests had all of the running for the next fifteen minutes or so, but they could
not get across the line. Shortly after they found themselves in good field
position following a penalty kick. Magpies half Rhys Lenarduzzi called for the ball
after spotting a break in the Bears defense. He accelerated through the gap to
score his team’s fourth try of the day. Five eight Joshua Murray took the extras,
reducing the Bears lead to 30 points to 20.
The rest of the game was a dogged affair with neither side being able to add to
their points tally. In the end, the Magpies gave too much start to the Bears who
ran our winners.
Scorers for the Magpies: Cassiano Aiga 2 tries, Josh Davis 1 try, Rhys
Lenarduzzi 1 try and 1 goal and Joshua Murray 1 goal.
Scorers for the Bears: Malcolm Webster 1 try and 5 conversions, with tries to
Jake Shearer, Beau Falloon, Jay Florimo and Deon Apps.
Head coach - Leo’s best three – Troy O’Sullivan, Cassiano Aiga and David Fifita.
Wests players’ player – Troy O’Sullivan.
Next game – Wests Magpies vs. Newtown Jets, Campbelltown Stadium
3pm Saturday 7 May 2011.