The Magpies were quietly confident they could cause an upset in their game
against the equal competition leaders and with a positive week of training behind
them, they declared they were ready. All that was required was putting the
positives together on the field, easier said than done.
The Dogs gave the Magpies first use of the ball and at the end of the first set
half Rhys Lenarduzzi put in a clearing kick which forced the Dogs to carry the ball
back from their ten metre line. The Magpies resistance was solid from the first
tackle but when the opposition put up a towering bomb it was knocked on close
to the home teams try line. After winning the scrum, the Magpies scrambling
defense cut down the Dogs attack, eventually forcing the ball to ground.
In good field the position, the Magpies fed the ensuing scrum, but on the third
hit up, the ball went to ground, giving the Dogs the ball in good field position
and with a full set at their disposal, they charged forward. At the end of their
set they tested the Magpies last line of defense with another attacking kick. It
was taken on the full, but when attempting to spread the ball, it was knocked on
which presented the ball to Dogs centre three quarter Jonathan Wright who ran
to the line for a four pointer. The conversion went astray and after eight minutes
of play the Dogs lead 4 points to nil.
The game settled into a bruising contest until the Dogs were penalised for an
infringement in a tackle, but after taking a quick tap a home player to knock on.
The error was compounded when the Dogs were given a penalty. After claiming
plenty of yards, the Dogs took a tap on the Magpies 45 metre line. The ball was
spread wide before it was carried close to the Magpies try line. Seizing on a
quick play the ball, Dogs hooker Shane Pumipi surged over for his teams’ second
try. The conversion from Chris Armit sailed between the posts increasing the
score line to 10 points to nil.
After the re start in play, Wests held the Dogs deep inside their own half, but
this did not prevent Joel Romelo from claiming a 40/20 kick. After winning the
scrum, the Dogs spread the ball wide, bringing their fullback Trent Cutler into
play. With an extra man on hand an overlap ensued before wing three quarter
Junior Tia-Kilifi dived the over the line. With twenty minutes left in the half, the
Dogs led 14 points to nil after the conversion attempt was waved away.
In the twenty fifth minute, the Magpies were perched on the Dogs try line.
Wests half Rhys Lenarduzzi feigned to run left before kicking to the right corner.
His wing three quarter partner Taqele Naiyaravoro jumped high before patting
the ball back to centre three quarter Ryan Millard who reached out with one hand
before slamming the ball over the line. Lenarduzzi missed the kick from the side
line. Dogs 14 Wests 4.
The Dogs replied almost immediately. They put in a deep kick off which landed
near the home teams dead ball line. After catching the ball on the full, a Magpie
player put his foot on the boundary line, forcing a drop out. After a couple of
settling runs, opposition fullback Trent Cutler showed good foot work on his way
to scoring his teams fourth try. With the missed conversion, the Dogs skipped
away to a 18 points to 4 lead which was extended a few minutes later after a
successful penalty kick to Trent Cutler. As the teams left the field for the minor
break, the Dogs led the Magpies 20 points to 4.
The second half got under way with the Dogs continuing to go forward. After
completing their first set they kicked down field. Showing plenty of pace, the
Magpies ran play back to the Dogs twenty metre line before the opposition was
penalised for off side play. The tap was taken centre field before coming into the
hands of five eight Evander Waitoa who sprinted through a gap to score a fine
try. Rhys Lenarduzzi claimed the extras and with only two minutes gone, the
Dogs lead was reduced to 20 points to 10.
The next fifteen minutes saw scrappy play from both teams that was until a
scuffle broke out close to the Magpies try line resulting in one player from each
team having a rest for ten minutes. The referee declared the Magpies were at
fault, awarding the opposition team a penalty. During the set, a well placed
bomb was put up close to the Magpies goal posts before it was claimed by Dogs
prop forward Martin Taupau. His try was converted by Trent Cutler. Dogs 26
The remainder of the game saw both teams go tit for tat in terms of scoring
points. In the twenty third minute, in what was probably the try of the day,
Dogs hooker Shane Pumipi made a clean break down field and with players
around him he presented a sensational pass to centre three quarter Daniel
Rauicava who sprinted away to score. Chris Armit added the two points to the
Dogs score line, 30 points to 10.
Next it was the Magpies chance to show their skill when half Rhys Lenarduzzi
put in a grubber kick behind the defensive line. It rolled in goal before being
dived on by Ryan Millard who capped off a good game with his second try of the
afternoon. Dogs 30 Magpies 14.
The Dogs hit back in the thirty third minute after being presented with a ‘six
again’ call from the referee fifteen minutes out from the Magpies line. The ball
was carried forward at pace by interchange player Conrad Taakmoeaka to claim
his teams last try of the afternoon. After the conversion from Chris Armit, the
Dogs took their lead to 36 points to 10.
In the last minute of play, Wests were awarded a scrum feed on the Dogs
20 metre line. With ball in hand they ran towards the black dot before a flat
ball was delivered to fullback Gus Aiga who put the ball close to the posts.
Lenarduzzi’s conversion put an end to the days play. Canterbury Bulldogs 36
Wests Magpies 20. Whilst the Dogs got away with the first half, it was a sixteen
points all draw in the second, unfortunately the two competition points can not
Scorers for the Magpies – 2 tries to Ryan Millard and 1 each to Evander
Waitoa and Cassiano Jr Aiga. Rhys Lenarduzzi kicked 2 goals.
Scorers for the Dogs -1 try each to Jonathan Wright, Shane Pumipi, Junior Tia-
Kilifi, Trent Cutler, Martin Taupau, Daniel Rauicava and Conrad Taakmoeaka. 2
conversions each to Trent Cutler and Chris Armit
Leos best – Josh Davis, Mitch Achurch, Troy O’Sullivan and Leivaha Pulu.
Players player medallion shared between – Josh Davis and Troy O’Sullivan.
Next game – Wests Magpies vs. Balmain Tigers, Round 14, 3pm Saturday 11