Campbelltown Stadium was the venue for the Battle of the Magpies and it was the Wentworthville variety that prevailed in the end to the tune of 58-16.
Wentworthville came into the game looking at consolidating their recent good form over the last 4 weeks with strongs wins over Norths, Canterbury, Illawarra and a narrow loss to Auckland. For Western Sububs, it was a matter of inner self belief among the playing group.
The match was only three minutes old when Wenty opened the scoring. Dropped NRL player Ben Roberts showed his skills when he feign to kick on Wests 40m line and accelerated through a gap in the Wests defence to send a neat pass to Troy Savage on a run to the line before it was passed to Jerone Mackenzie to score in the corner. Roberts converted for a 6-0 scoreline.
Western Suburbs responded at the eight minute on the back of a penalty when rookie winger Greg Davis accepted a cut out pass from fullback Zoram Watene to score in the corner. Wests skipper Nigel Millgate converted from out wide for a 6-all scoreline.
Wests had the lions share of possession for the next 10 minutes but were unable to capitalise on some fine work by their forwards especially from Jay Maseuli and Seffa Silafu.
Another dropped Eels NRL player, Shane Shackleton scored Wenty's next try at the 20 minute mark on the back of a penalty near haflway. He was able to score under the posts in a determined run 10m out from the Wests line. Roberts converted and it was 12-6.
From the kick off, Wenty scored within their next set of six tackles with another great play by Roberts. He drew in the Wests defence out wide with a pass to winger Mackenzie which resulted in a two-on-one situation and drew in the fullback with a neat pass for former Gold Coast Titan, Jordan Atkins to score. Roberts again added the extras for a 18-6 scoreline.
Winger Vai Toutai then scored at the 32nd minute mark after he and halfback Jason Seage combined in a round-a-round movement from their own 40m line to score out wide. Roberts was again on target for a 24-6 score.
Jason Seage then scored at the 36th minute mark when he accepted a great inside ball from Justin Horo and was able to run 50m to score in the corner despite the efforts of the pursuing Wests defence. Roberts missed his first conversion attempt for the afternoon but it was now 28-6.
Pat O'Hanlon then set up a try just two minutes later when he held up a pass to find a willing runner in Jordan Atkins who in turn found former Newtown winger Troy Savage in support to score. Roberts added the extras for a half time score of 34-6 in favour of Wenty.
It didn't take long for Wenty to score in the second half when Savage scored at the 44 minute mark in a movement started by Ben Roberts who was able to find Atkins in support. The Wests defence stopped the movement but allowed Atkins to lob and overhead pass to Savage to score in the corner. Roberts converted from the side line and it was now 40-6.
From the kick off, Pat O'Hanlon took the ball up and burst through the Wests defence on a 70m run to the tryline but was tackled short of the tryline. The following backline movement saw centre Trent Jennings diving over the line out wide only for the final pass to be ruled forward.
Western Suburbs scored their second try of the day at the 54th minute mark with a last tackle play by Nigel Millgate. Instead of putting boot to ball, he gave a short pass to bustling forward Mundarra Weldon who run through a gap in the Wenty defence and was able to pick up Millgate who was backing up in support who then passed inside for fullback Zoram Watene to score near the posts. Millgate added the extras for a 40-12 scoreline.
Wentworthville then received back to back penalities within 30 seconds to score at the 61st minute when Ben Roberts received the ball from the tap and was able to step inside some weak defence to score.He converted his own try and it was 46-12.
Wests scored five minutes later when a Millgate bomb on the last tackle was allowed to bounce ingoal and Greg Davis pounced for his second try. Millgate's conversion hit the post and it was now 46-16.
Wenty were not done yet and scored again at the 69th minute mark when poor blind side defence from the scrum on Wests 10m line saw Jennings score after it looked like he was hold up over the line but managed to wriggle his way out to plant the ball down. Roberts converted and yet again, Western Suburbs had conceaded 50+ in a match this season.
Wentworthville ended Wests misery for the afternoon with a try at the 71st minute mark when Justin Horo scored after a kick through by Roberts on halfway. The howls of protest of "öffside" from the small but vocal Wests crowd did not sway the referee who duly awarded the try and Roberts converted for a final score of Wentworthville 58-Wests 16.
With just two minutes to go, Ben Roberts had the line wide open and would have almost certainly scored but despite having the ball in his grasp, simply lost the ball which seemed to be a carbon copy of what happened to him when playing for Parramatta in their NRL clash with Wests Tigers only a few weeks ago.
For Wentworthville, their five-eighth Ben Roberts was a class act directing play and causing the Wests defence all sorts of problems. Fullback Jordan Atkins also had a strong game and chimed into the backline with several damaging runs whilst Shane Shackleton had a terrific first half with a great running game which was replicated by Justin Horo in the second half. Pat O'Hanlon is certainly up to NRL standard and had a terrific game in both attack and defence and should see more NRL game time this year.
For Wests, front rower Jay Masueli was strong in defence and made several in roads into the tight Wenty defence including a 30m charge whilst as always, Dean Parata was busy in defence knocking over much bigger opponents and lock Daniel La Manna, who was only playing SG Ball last season for St George, continues to give his all in defence despite his lack of size whilst Nigel Millgate had his best game of the year at halfback.
Western Suburbs continue to and will continue to struggle this season without the assistance of NRL experience players and next Saturday, they take on the Canberra Raiders feeder outfit Mounties at Mount Pritchard Sports Ground with Mounties desperate to break a five game loosing streak after such a bright start to the year.
Wentworthville 58 (Troy Savage 2, Jerome Mackenzie, Shane Shackleton, Jordan Atkins, Vai Toutai, Jason Seage, Ben Roberts, Trent Jennings, Justin Horo tries: Roberts 9 goals) def Western Suburbs 16 ( Greg Davis 2, Zoram Watene tries: Nigel Millgate 2 goals).
Half time Wentworthville 34-Wests 6
Penalties Wentworthville 5 Wests 4
Goal kickers - Ben Roberts 9 from10 & Nigel Millgate 2 from 3
1 Zoram Watene
2 Greg Davies
14 Keanu Rogers
4 Michael Lekkas
5 Michael La Manna
6 Dean Parata
7 Nigel Millgate (c)
8 Jay Maseuli
15 Alan Daly
10 Henry Iuta
11 Tom Morrison
12 Seffa Silafu
13 Daniel La Manna
16 Mundarra Weldon
17 Todd Makejev
18 Terrence Green
21 Tuki Jackson
1 Jordan Atkins
2 Vai Toutai
3 Troy Savage
4 Trent Jennings
5 Jerome Mackenzie
6 Ben Roberts
7 Jason Seage
8 Shane Shackleton
14 Lancen Joudo
10 Nathan Armit
11 Pat O'Hanlon
20 Justin Horo
13 Matthew Eisenhuth
12 Danny Howard
15 Brad Lupi
19 Mayy Hunt
21 Peni Terepo