In very hot and humid conditions, The Western Suburbs magpies returned to the Cabramatta International 9's for the first time since 2009 and again finished top of their pool.
Western Suburbs 8 def Liverpool Titans 6
With raining falling continuously for 4 days leading up to the tournament and then the sun popping out in the morning, the conditions were very humid and hot at New Era Stadium but the magpies got of to a brilliant start. Their opponants in game 1 was Liverpool Titans, a young club only two years old that play in the Western Suburbs Junior Rugby League competition.
The magpies score in the first half in a blind side play from a scrum win with the ball being passed to rangy centre Greg Davis who drew his opposite with a beautifully timed passed to send flying winger Sharlon Taki on his way to the tryline. The shot at goal was unsuccessful.
The first half was highlighted by the contiunal bullocking runs from dynamo pocket battleship, William Siale who last year was playing SG Ball for St George. He is certainly one that got away from the dragons den.
The second magpies try was on the back of one Siale's damaging runs. From the play the ball, a chain passing movement along the backs resulted in Sharlon scoring his second try and again the shot at goal was unsuccessful.
The final score was 8 to 6 sounds close but this was not a true reflection of the game which the magpies dominated as the titans scored with 90 secs left on the clock after a magpies dropped ball was capitalised on by the titans.
Western Suburbs 24 def Kingsgrove Colts 14
The magpies played this game at 1pm (the Titans game kicked off at 10.40am) so there was a long gap inbetween games for the magpies. The ground, whilst still wet in some patches near the scoreboard corner was holding up very well.
Wests got off to a flyer when Kingsgrove dropped a ball near halfway and it was kick through by halfback, Chris Nay who then made a brilliant pick up but was tackled just short of the tryline. A resulting penalty from holding the man down resulted in a quick tap with winger and local Campbelltown junior, Keanu Rogers* scoring out wide. Goal attempt unsuccessful.
Wests second try was from sustained pressure on the Colts tryline with bustling centre, Michael Lekkas scoring in the corner. Goal attempt again unsucessful.
Wests next try was the result of a jolting tackle by the hungry magpie pack forcing a scrum. From the ensuing scrum win near halfway, a brilliant passing movement saw Sharlon Taki score his 3rd try of the day. And at last, the goal attemtped was successful. At halftime, Wests 14 Kingsgrove 0
Kingsgrove were the first to score in the second half but the magpies responded almost immediately. Another jolting tackle, this time by lanky centre, Chris Faae near the Colts 30m line result in a scrum feed for the magpies. Big forward, AJ Pesimono then broke from the scrum with ball in his hand pushing aside would be tacklers before a neat pass saw the crafty Todd Sault backing up to score. Goal attempt unsuccessful.
Not lying down, Kingsgrove came up with a four pointer to reduce to score to 18 to 10. However another damaging run by William Siale resulted in a penalty to the magpies with former Kingsrove fullback Michael La Manna scoring and Chris Nay added the extras to make it 24 to 10 before Kingsgrove scored in the dying stages.
*Keanu Rogers - local Campbelltown junior having played for Campbelltown Eagles (also known as East Campbelltown) and Macarthur Saints. He played SG Ball for Western Suburbs magpies in 2010 & 2011.
Cup Quarter Final
Mounties 8 Western Suburbs 0
After finishing on top of their pool with 2 wins 0 losses, the magpies played Bundaberg Cup powerhouse and new Canberra Raiders NRL feeder club, Mounties in the quarter finals. The game was one of missed chances for the magpies with two efforts resulting in firstly Chris Nay and then Sharlon Taki being brought down short of the tryline. The defence of both teams was outstanding and the fact that both of Mounties tries were scored within the last 60 secs of each half is a testiment to both sides.
Just also, the Balmain Ryde Eastwood squad contained 3 former magpie NSW Cup players from 2011, Dayne Craig, Jay Masueli and David Harris plus coach, Leo Epifaina. Whilst the tigers finished 2nd in their pool and therefore eliminated from the Cup quarter final, they reached the Trophy playoffs but were defeated by The Entrance 20 to 16. The form of the 3 magpies was outstanding in this game with a lovely shortball from David Harris put galloping front rower Jay on 20 metre run under the posts. David continues to develop as a player under Leo Epifania's coaching and even showed his kicking skills in this game. The magpies wish all 3 best of luck in their quest for NRL first grade honours as we do to all former magpies players at other clubs looking for a similar dream. Once a magpie ALWAYS a magpie.