Sunday, July 31, 2011

Match Review - NSW Cup - Rnd 21 Wests v Bulldogs

Some may have thought this game would be a cake walk for the Dogs who are sitting alone in first place after a string of strong performances.  They fielded a very strong team with most having first grade experience whilst another had represented Australia.  They deserved to be favourites, pretty daunting, yes but those who prepared the boys were confident they could cause a major upset, and they almost did.

The Magpies pressured the Bulldogs try line for almost fifteen minutes, but the home team held firm.  When given the ball in the 16th minute they charged down field.  The Dogs prop forward Mickey Paea ran the ball up on the last tackle but he was held up over the try line.  The ball came loose, but the Magpies were penalised for a strip in goal.  The Dogs took a quick tap before using their big forwards to pepper the try line.  The Magpies scrambled to hold out the Dogs, but Mickey Paea, running at an angle, barged his way in for a four pointer.  Bryson Goodwin's conversion put the Dogs up 6 points to 0.

The momentum of the game swung from one team to the other, with very strong defence being the highlight.  In the 28th minute, after receiving a penalty close to the Dogs try line,  Wests second row forward Josh Davis switched the point of attack from the open to the blind side, wrong footing the defence.  He appeared to be held before slipping a great pass to his mate, five eight Marc Russell who crossed for a well rehearsed try.  David Fifita's extras put them back on even terms with the Dogs, 6 points all.

In the closing minutes of the half, the Dogs put on another try after they feigned to kick on the last tackle.  The ball was passed along their backline to wing three quarter Junior Tia Kilfi who crossed untouched in the corner.  The conversion was waved away.  Dogs 10 Magpies 6.  This try came against the run of play and certainly showed how dangerous the Dogs are.

The Magpies re started play with seconds left on the clock.  The ball was kicked deep, but a Dogs player knocked the ball forward.  It bounced to interchange player Chris Tuatata-Morrison who had chased the kick hard.  He drew three players to him before throwing a miracle pass behind his back to centre three quarter Andrew Everingham who outpaced the defence to the try line.   The hooter sounded as the conversion attempt was waved away.

The second half got under way in similar terms as the first half.  Both teams were trying to crack the opposition and gain the ascendancy.  In the tenth minute a clean break was made by Wests second row forward Leivaha Pulu.  He sprinted some 25 metres before off loading to centre three quarter Taqele Naiyaravoro who continued the charge deep into the Dogs territory.  A quick play the ball followed before Andrew Everingham crossed in the corner for his second try.  The conversion from David Fifita was worth the admission fee.  With the wind blowing, and from an acute angle, he guided the ball over the black dot to put his side in front 16 points to 10.

The Magpies continue to play their best football of the year and went close to scoring on a couple of occasions.  They received a penalty in front of the Dogs uprights and David Fifita made no mistake claiming the two points.  Magpies 18 Dogs 10.

The score line remained unchanged until the 36th minute when luck deserted the boys in black and white.  A pass went to ground near the Magpies forty metre line.   It was picked up by a Dogs player before he ran down the side line to score his teams third try of the afternoon.  Bryson Goodwin made good with his kick, reducing the Magpies lead to just two points.

Both sets of supporters were on the edge of their seats, urging their team on - could the Magpies hold on or would the Dogs come from behind in the dying seconds and ruin the day.  Unfortunately for the Magpies, the latter happened.  After receiving the ball from the kick off, the Dogs made good metres deep into the Magpies territory.  Throwing caution to the wind, the Dogs threw the ball around, eventually finding a gap in the Magpies defence to score the match winning try.  Goodwin ensured the victory by kicking the goal.  Dogs 22 Magpies 18.

Whilst the Magpies were unlucky, the Dogs hung in there until the end, eventually claiming the win.  All associated with the Club can certainly be proud of the boys performance.  They tried hard all day and in the end a couple of errors proved to be the difference.  With only a few games remaining in the regular season the form shown by the Magpies in this game will certainly cause the opposition teams to be cautious when they take the field.

Scorers for the Magpies - Andrew Everingham 2 tries and Marc Russell 1 try.  David Fifita kicked 2 conversions and 1 penalty.

Leos best three - Mitch Achurch, David Fifita and Troy O'Sullivan.

Players player medallion - Mitch Achurch.

Next game - Round 22 Wests vs Manly 3pm Saturday 6 August 2011 Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Friday, July 29, 2011

RIP Denis Meaney

The Wests Magpies is currently mourning the death of former player Denis Meaney, who passed away suddenly but peacefully at Lismore Base Hospital on Monday 25 July, aged 74.

Denis played a total of 132 first-grade matches with Wests in his seven seasons with the Club and this included two Grand Final appearances in 1962 and 1963. 

He was a tough no-nonsense prop on the field, but a true gentleman off it. Born in Manly, Denis made his first grade debut with the Sea Eagles in 1957 and played in their Grand Final loss to St.George that year. 

He picked up his first top grade try at Brookvale against Wests on 1 June, 1957 in the 21-15 victory. While with Manly, Denis represented NSW Colts against Great Britain in 1958 and in 1959 and he also played in a Possibles versus Probables match, which was a trial game for selection in the Kangaroo touring party of that year. After three seasons and 41 top grade matches for Manly, he joined Wests in 1960.

During his time with Wests, Denis played in the 1962 and 1963 Grand Finals, against St.George. Both of these matches were tight affairs with the Saints winning 9-6 in 1962 and 8-3 in 1963. Including his three Grand Finals, Denis played in 13 end-of-season play-off games. At the end of the 1960 regular season, Wests were locked together with Easts, Balmain and Canterbury in equal second place. Only three of these four Clubs could move into the semi finals with St.George and so extra qualifying games had to be played midweek. Balmain was the team to miss out and on 9 August 1960 at the Sports Ground, Denis scored two good tries for the Magpies in their 28-10 defeat of the Tigers. The following year, Denis represented City Firsts against Country at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

After his playing career had ended, Denis and his wife Barbara went into the hotel business in Gunnedah. Their next move was to Lennox Head where they ran a motel. Denis began coaching Lismore Marist Brothers in 1985 while at Lennox Head and the next year he took the team to the Premiership. In 1987, with Denis still coaching, Brothers were unbeaten in winning the Premiership and were rewarded with the Clayton Cup, which is awarded to the best performed team in Country Rugby League competitions. 

A few years later, Denis became a director of the Ballina Seagulls Rugby League Club and in 2010, Ballina and Marist Brothers honoured him with the introduction of the Denis Meaney Shield, which is played annually between the two Clubs. 

Denis was a Country Rugby League selector for 17 years and a former NSW Residents selector. He also worked to help form the Northern Rivers Branch of the Men of League. 

Denis' great mate, Noel Kelly, while at the recent Denis Meaney Shield day in Ballina, said "He was a big, blond bombshell, who was too nice to be a front rower. I'd be knocking blokes to the ground and Denis would go over and help them back to their feet."

Chairman of Wests Magpies, Paul Dillon added, “Wests Magpies lament the passing of former great player Denis Meaney, a gentlemen who epitomised the Magpie spirit on and off the field. Denis was as tough as any man that pulled on the famous black and white jumper and he will be remembered with great affection by those who knew him and those who saw him play. Wherever there are ‘clouds of dust and buckets of blood' Denis will be there in spirit. Wests Magpies football Club extends its condolences to his wife Barbara and their children Shane, Damon and Tiffany.”

Wests Tigers Rugby League Club will pay their respects to Denis and his family by wearing black arm bands on Friday 5 August for their match v St George Illawarra at the Sydney Football Stadium.

DENIS MEANEY 1 October, 1936- 25 July, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Match Report - NSW Cup - Round 20 - Wests v Central Coast

The pitch at Campbelltown Sports Stadium held up beautifully despite the heavy
rain in recent weeks. Two senior games were scheduled for the day, the first
being Wests Tigers Toyota NYC 20’s against the Roosters which was followed by
Wests Magpies vs. Central Coast Centurions. Unfortunately, Wests Tigers went
down 30 points to 10 in an entertaining game of rugby league.

The Magpies, who are sitting at the wrong end of the competition ladder were
up against an inform Central Coast outfit who are equal 6th with Balmain Ryde
Eastwood Tigers and North Sydney.

The game got underway and it wasn’t long before the Magpies showed they
were up for the challenge. Strong forward play with solid defense was the
highlight of the early encounters.

In the 15th minute, after putting together several determined runs, the ball was
moved to outside back Kevin Naiqama who evaded the cover defense to score
in the corner. The attempted goal flew wide but the visitors still held an early 4
points to 0 lead.

In the 20th minute the Magpies hit back through centre three quarter Andrew
Everingham. After the forwards advanced down the centre of the paddock, the
ball was swung wide to Everingham who showed good pace and strength to
force his way over the try line. Prop forward David Fifita accepted the extra two
points giving the Magpies the lead 6 points to 4.

Within minutes, Fifita’s front row partner Aaron Sweeney barged over the line to
increase his teams lead. He looked like he was going to be stopped short of the
line, but he stretched his arm out to firmly plant the ball on the grass surface.
Fifita’s conversion saw the lead extend to 12 points to 4.

Play steadied over the next stanza, but with the Magpies having an excellent
completion rate, it seemed likely they would soon add to their early points tally
and that’s what they did in the 36th minute. With their forwards doing the
hard yards it gave the backs a chance to shine. Centre three quarter Taqele
Naiyaravoro received a clever pass after he followed hooker Troy O’Sullivan who
had broken the first line of defense. Showing a good turn of speed for a big
man, Naiyaravoro claimed a try of his own. Fullback Rhys Lenarduzzi took over
the kicking duties and he did not let his team down. Wests Magpies 18 Central
Coast 4. There were no further points scored in the first half.

During the break, head coach Leo Epifania emphasised the need to maintain
their good completion rate, be patient and stick to the game play. He stated if
they followed these simple instructions, they could get away with the win.

With fifteen minutes gone on the clock Fifita, standing wide of the ruck, collected
the ball at pace before carrying players over the try line with him. His conversion
put the home team further ahead. Wests Magpies 24 Central Coast 4.

Utility Josh Davis then made his way onto the field from the interchange
bench. He received warm applause for making his return to the paddock after
recovering from a nagging injury. Within minutes he sprinted to the line after
prop forward Jay Maseuli had made a damaging 25 metre. The conversion
attempt gave the Magpies a handy 30 points to 4 lead.

In the 22nd minute, Fifita was in for his second try. He again positioned himself
outside the halves. He received a flat pass from five eight Marc Russell, who had
held up the ball perfectly which allowed Fifita to score under the black dot. He
converted his own try which put the Magpies ahead 36 points to 4.

The next try came three minutes later when centre three quarter Andrew
Everingham scored again. The backs, capping off a fine all round performance,
quickly spun the ball to Everingham. He threw a dump pass before straightening
to score alongside the posts. A great backs try. Fifita’s conversion took his
teams tally to 42 points to 4.

Not to be outdone by his mates on the opposite side of the field, wing three
quarter Amanono Tovio darted from the ruck before running hard down the
side line. At the end of a 60 metre run, he grapped his teams last four pointer.
Fifita’s kick was unsuccessful. Magpies 46 Central Coast 4.

In the dying minutes of the game, Dan Phillips scored a good try for the boys
from the Coast. Fullback Peter Mata’utia successful would bring an end to the
game. Wests Magpies ran out worthy winners 44 points to 10.

Scorers for the Magpies – 2 tries each to Andrew Everingham and David
Fifita with tries to Josh Davis, Amanono Tovio, Taqele Naiyaravoro and Aaron
Sweeney. David Fifita kicked 6 conversions (personal tally 20 points) with Rhys
Lenarduzzi claiming one.

Scorers for Central Coast – Tries to Kevin Naiqama and Dan Phillips with
Peter Mata’utia grabbing one conversion.

Player’s player – Mitch Achurch. Leos best three – Mitch Achurch, Marc
Russell and Amanono Tovio.

Next game – Round 21 The Crest Stadium 3pm Saturday 30 July 2011 Wests
Magpies vs. Canterbury Bulldogs

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NSW Cup Round 19 - Match Report - Wests v Wentworthville

The form guide went out the window in this fixture.  In the previous round Wests Magpies recorded a strong win against Windsor Wolves whilst Wentworthville did it hard against Manly.

The Magpies went into the game without utility Josh Davis whilst Wentworthville fielded a very strong team with the likes of Daniel Mortimer, Jeff Robson, Chris Hicks and Carl Webb coming into the starting line up.

The game was evenly balanced for the first fifteen minutes with both teams trying to crack the defensive line but it was to be the home team who would break through for the first points.  The ball was carried forward by centre three quarter Karl Filiga who picked out Matthew Ryan who was backing up on the inside.  With cover defense coming across, he dived over in the corner to score the first of his two tries of the afternoon.  With the failed conversion attempt, Wentworthville took an early lead 4 points to 0.

Within minutes Wentworthville were in again when Karl Filiga threw a dummy before running untouched to the try line.  This time Joseph Paulo took the extras to increase his teams lead to 10 points to 0.

In the 26th minute, Wenty claimed their third try under similar circumstances.  This time it was fullback Henry Raiwailui who would cause problems out wide.  He stepped inside his opposite number before scoring midway between the corner post and the up wrights.  Paulo’s conversion attempt went close but still his team held a handy 14 points to 0 lead.

The Magpies responded almost immediately.  After kicking off, a strong tackle forced the ball from Wenty’s grasp.  After a couple of settling runs, Magpies fullback Jay Bonnell rolled the ball into the in goal area.  It was caught by wing three quarter Amanono Tovio who advanced the ball towards the posts.  Jay Bonnell’s conversion reduced the deficit to eight points.

The Magpies lifted in the 30th minute after they received a penalty for a stripping offence.  After taking the kick, second row forward Leivaha Pulu gained good ground.  In the next play, lock forward David Harris broke through the first line of defense before getting a sensational pass away to hooker Troy O’Sullivan who showed a clean pair of heals as he scored his team’s second try.  The conversion attempt was missed.  Wenty 14 Magpies 10.

In the final ten minutes of the half, the Magpies made a couple of crucial mistakes which led to tries.   The first was scored by Matthew Ryan who had

supported Ken Sio who had made a 50 metre break and the last try of the half was scored by centre three quarter Troy Savage who received a perfect pass from five eight Jeff Robson.  Junior Paulo converted both to help his side take a 26 to 10 lead into the sheds at half time.

The second half did not start well for the visitors.  After pressuring Wenty’s try line, the ball was kicked into the defensive line.  It was picked up by half Daniel Mortimer who ran 90 metres to the try line.  Paulo took the extras to increase his teams lead to 32 points to 10.   Within minutes, Mortimer was in the thick of things again.  This time he ran from dummy half before evading a couple of tackles during a thirty metre sprint to the line.  Paulo’s successful kick put Wenty further ahead 38 points to 10.

With 20 minutes left on the clock Leivaha Pulu charged down a kick on the half way line.  It bounced up perfectly for him before he ran 50 metres to score alongside the posts.  Prop forward David Fifita’s conversion saw the score line drop to 38 to 16.

Wentworthville hit back when they attacked the Magpies short side.  The ball traveled through several sets of hands to wing three quarter Ken Sio who capped off a good game by scoring one of his own.  Wentworthville 42 Magpies 16.

Showing plenty of spirit the Magpies fought on.  In the 34th minute, after some good lead up work, prop forward Mitch Achurch crashed over under the up wrights.  Rhys Lenarduzzi added the extras.  Wentworthville 42 Magpies 22.

In the 36th minute Wests forwards made good ground up the centre of the ruck.  After just scoring a try of his own, prop forward Mitch Achurch charged down field before passing the ball onto his front row partner, David Fifita.  After advancing further, Fifita passed onto centre three quarter Andrew Everingham.  Everingham looked like scoring before he wisely passed the ball to Aaron Sweeney who displayed a good turn of speed for a big man to score under the black dot.  Fifita’s conversion reduced Wenty’s lead to 42 points to 28.

With time running out, Wenty received two penalties on the Magpies try line.  They tried hard to hold Wenty out, but as the hooter sounded Henry Raiwailui dived onto the ball after Daniel Mortimer had rolled it over the Magpies try line.  Paulo converted the try from the sideline.  The final score was Wentworthville Magpies 48 Wests Magpies 28.

It was a disappointing end to the day for Wests Magpies.


Scorers for the Magpies.  Tries to Amanono Tovio, Troy O’Sullivan, Leivaha Pulu, Mitch Achurch and Aaron Sweeney.  Conversions to David Fifita (2) and Jay Bonnell and Rhys Lenarduzzi.

Scorers for Wentworthville.  2 tries each to Matthew Ryan, Daniel Mortimer and Karl Filiga with 1 try to Troy Savage, Henry Raiwailui and Ken Sio.  Junior Paulo kicked 6 conversions.

Player’s player medallion – Shared between David Harris and Amanono Tovio.

Leo’s best three – David Harris, Mitch Achurch and Amanono Tovio.

Next game – Round 20 3pm Saturday 23 July 2011 Wests Magpies vs. Central Coast, Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Match Report Round 18 - NSW Cup - Wests v Windsor

The Wests line up suffered a blow in the minutes leading up to the kick off with
the withdrawal of representative utility player Josh Davis. A reshuffle took place
with Jay Bonnell coming into the starting team at fullback, Cassiano Jr Aiga
moving to centre three quarter and Taqele Naiyaravoro taking up his customary
position on the wing.

The game started badly for the Magpies when the Windsor Wolves scored a
converted try in the 2nd minute through prop forward Duan Poaneki, a former
Magpie player. Poaneki crashed over close to the posts after an attempted
clearing kick from the visitors was charged down. Harry Siejka converted the try
to take maximum points.

The Magpies quickly re gained their composure, putting pressure on the Wolves
who were kept pinned down deep in their territory. Despite having several
opportunities to even the score, the Wolves defense rallied to hold them out.

Both teams then started to make unforced errors when chances were presented
to gain extra points. It must have been frustrating for both camps to see the
number of passes going to ground when their respective team was in good
attacking position.

The chances seemed to swing in the Magpies favor after lock forward David
Harris charged down a kick on half way. The ball bounced perfectly for him
before he strode towards the Wolves try line. He drew a couple of players
before off loading to second row forward Leivaha Pulu who looked certain
to score but a terrific tackle from fullback Coedi Towney put an end to the

In the 30th minute Leivaha Pulu found himself in the thick of things again. After
breaking the line and making good ground his forward motion was halted by
three Windsor defenders. The play appeared to end there but Pulu got a pass
away to centre three quarter Cassiano Aiga who sprinted to the line. Rhys
Lenarduzzi’s conversion locked up the scores at 6 all.

The Wolves hit back in the 36thminute when Ryan Walker, showing good speed
outpaced the cover defense to score his team’s second try. The conversion from
a wide angle was unsuccessful. The score line of 10 points to 6 would see the
end of the scoring in the first half.

The first half showed that both teams were more than capable of taking the two
competition points. The Wolves backline though Ryan and Cody Walker looked


dangerous whilst Junior Paulo, Yileen Gordon and their mates kept the middle
tight. Both teams attack was certainly exciting to watch and brought the crowd
to their feet on several occasions but there was one obvious question, who
would be the first to cut out the errors.

In the sheds at half time, Wests head coach Leo Epifania certainly left the
players in no doubt what he expected of them in the second half. His focus was
on ball security.

The second half was only 6 minutes old when lock forward David Harris rolled
the ball over the Wolves try line to gain a repeat set. After a towering line drop
out was caught on the half way, Magpie forwards Aaron Sweeney, David Fifita
and Leivaha Pulu took turns to carry the ball hard downfield. The ball was
played on the opposition’s ten metre line before being collected by David Harris
who stepped off his right foot before diving under the black dot. Lenarduzzi’s
conversion put the visitors in the lead 12 points to 10.

The Magpies play certainly changed in the second half. They guarded the ball
when in attack and defended stoutly when the Wolves threatened. Their effort
paid off in the 23rd minute when David Harris put in a relieving kick which was
knocked on by the Wolves. Leivaha Pulu dived onto the loose ball before his
team received two quick penalties, giving them easy metres. Pulu backed up
with another strong run before claiming a try of his own. With Lenarduzzi
adding to his total, the Magpies increased their lead to 18 points to 10.

The Magpies forwards continued to run strongly up the middle of the ruck and
when called upon, put in some very solid tackles.

In the 28th minute Wests five eight Marc Russell put up a high kick which was
knocked on by the Wolves inside their try line area. Wests centre three quarter
Cassiano Aiga was jolly on the spot to claim his second try of the afternoon. The
conversion from Lenarduzzi put the Magpies in a match winning lead, 24 points
to 10.

It was clear to see that the Magpies wanted to make their try line out of bounds
for the opposition as they dug deep to hold the Wolves out for the remainder
of the game, but in the dying minutes they added to their own tally. First prop
forward Aaron Sweeney charged through the Wolves line followed by his partner
David Fifita. Quick hands presented the ball to big wing three quarter Taqele
Naiyaravoro who reached over the line one handed to slam the ball down.
Lenarduzzi’s conversion went astray and as the game came to an end, the
Magpies recorded a fine 28 to 10 points win.


Wing three quarter Amanono Tovio had a very solid hit out. He made several
damaging runs from dummy half, took high balls under pressure whilst being
sturdy in defense.

After the game, head coach Leo Epifania recognised the efforts of captain and
second row forward Rocky Trimarchi who had a fine all round game, a true
captains knock. He simply led by example.

Scorers for the Magpies – Cassiano Jr Aiga 2 tries, 1 try each to David Harris,
Leivaha Pulu and Taqele Naiyaravoro with Rhys Lenarduzzi kicking four goals.

Player’s player medallion – Amanono Tovio.

Leos best three – Amanono Tovio, Aaron Sweeney and David Fifita.

Next game – Wests Magpies vs. Wentworthville Round 19 3pm Sunday 17 July
2011 3pm Ringrose Park, Wentworthville.