Saturday, June 9, 2012

Match Report - Rnd 15 VB NSW Cup - Western Suburbs v Newcastle

A sunny winter's day greeted fans at Campbelltown Stadium for a double header clash featuring the Western Suburbs Magpies taking on a strong Newcastle Knights side featuring several NRL first graders in the main game whilst the Canterbury Bulldogs did battle against the Cronulla Sharks in the earlier game with the Bulldogs returning to red hot form with a 60-12 win.

For Wests fans, it was a case of deja vu as the Knights won comfortably 64-10 in front of a small but vocal crowd. Although the scoreboard suggests an easy victory, there were periods were Wests troubled the Knights and with a bit of luck, could have added a few more tries before halftime. For Newcastle, winger Josh Mantellato score two tries and kicked 10 goals from 11 attempts to finish the day with 28 points.

Newcastle's first try came at the seven minute mark on the back of a penalty when front rower Richie Fa'aso scored under the posts when he charged at the defence from just five metres out. The lanky Josh Mantellato added the extras for a 6-0 scoreline.

The next period of play saw both sides cough up possession in good attacking positions before NRL regular Wes Naiqama scored a soft try from a scrum win on Wests 20m line at the 15 minute mark. Receiving the pass from the scrum, Naiqama ran across field on an angle run but was able to push away defenders before planting the ball over the line out wide. Mantellato missed his only shot at goal for the afternoon with his conversion attempt and the Knights had a handy 10-0 lead.

The first 15 minutes saw some strong defence by Wests with Jay Maseuli, Tom Morrison and Dean Parata leading the way.
Wests then sprang to life with a try to Dean Parata at the 22nd minute mark which brought the crowd to its feet. The Knights coughed up the ball on Wests 40m line and the ball was picked up by interchange forward Latu Fifita. Standing in a tackle, he offloaded to Parata who stepped out of an attempted tackle and ran 40m to score besides the post. Haflback Nigel Millgate added the extras and it was 10-6.

Newcastle scored again at the 27 minute mark thanks to a last tackle bomb on Wests 20m line. A Knights player out jumped his Wests opponent with the ball then finding Albert Kelly with room to move before passing to Mantellato to score out wide. He then converted his own try for a 16-6 lead.

The Knights scored in the next set of six from the kickoff when Albert Kelly, who was best on the ground today, made a break through the Wests defence and found interchange forward Warren Schillings backing up to score under the posts. Mantellato added the extras and suddenly the scoreboard showed it was 22-6.

Newcastle then scored five minutes before halftime on the back of a penalty 10m out from the own line. From the next set of six tackles, a lack of discipline from a Wests marker who engaged with a bit of push and shove with the man playing the ball, saw the Knights take advantage of the situation with a huge hole opening up in the defence for Sam Anderson to score under the posts. Mantellato kicked true for a 28-6 scoreline which remained the half time score.

Although behind on the scoreboard, if Wests had cut out some errors and silly penalties, they could well have been going into the sheds only behind one or two tries if not on level terms.

The second half seemed to start positive for Wests when the Knights dropped the ball on the first tackle from the kick off however after winning the scrum on the 20m line, Wests dropped the ball themselves early in the tackle count. The Knights then won the scrum on their 20m line and Albert Kelly was able to drift across field to pick up Junior Sau who was a late inclusion for the team after recently being dropped from the Knights NRL side. Sau was then able to brush past some poor defence out wide for a 70m run to the try line. Mantellato added the extras and it was now 34-6 with just 3 minutes gone in the second half.
For the next 10 minutes, the Knights had the lion share of possesion but were not able to capitalise on their good fortune until the 52nd minute mark when Albert Kelly scored after stepping out from a tackle close to the Wests line. Mantellato converted for a 40-6 scoreline.

The Knights were in again at the 57th minute mark when Wests tried to push the pass on their 30m line only for the ball to fall to the ground and Warren Schillings was on the spot to toe it through with the ball sitting up nicely for him to pass to Sau who then offloaded to former NZ Warriors U20 centre, Siuatonga Likiliki to score. Mantellato was on target with the conversion for a 46-6 scoreline.

From the kickoff, Marvin Filipo made a break out wide down the Eastern Grandstand side. Brought down near the 20m line, quick hands and a neat cut out pass from Kelly saw Mantellato score. He converted his own try and it was now 52-6.

The next period of play saw a scrappy affair before the Knights scored at the 67 minute mark when replacement forward Rodney Mason score after an Albert Kelly kick stood up perfectly for Junior Sau who then offloaded to Mason. With the conversion, the score now read 58-6.

The next try to Newcastle came at the 73rd minute when haflback Adrian Davis ran to the line and beat a one on one tackle to score. With the conversion it was now 64-6.

Wests scored the last try of the game three minutes before time when Latu Fifita changed onto the ball on Newcastle's 20m line brushing past the would be tacklers and carrying defenders over the line with him. His attempted conversion of his own try from out wide hit the goal post for a final score of Newcastle 64 Wests 10.

For Wests, there were many positive signs despite the final scoreline. They were again well served by Dean Parata in defence and his play from dummy half continues to catch the eye. Front rowers Jay Maseuli and Aaron Sweeney were in the thick of it in both attack and defence whilst Tom Morrison continues to put his body on the line charging into the opposing forwards and always ripping into the defensive work.
Seffa Sifalua and Henry Iuta made some monster hits when out in the middle and Chris Nay continues to improve after only recently coming back from serious injury. Zoram Watene continues to be a safe option at fullback and in the short time he was out in the middle, interchange forward Alan Daly tackled himself to a standstill before injuring his shoulder. With the forwards making ground, halfback Nigel Millgate continues to improve each week and his experience will prove invalueble as the season progresses.

For the Knights, it was their NRL stars who stood up with Albert Kelly being a standout with his passing and kicking game, Junior Sau was always creating problems out wide with his size and speed and Richie Fa'aso Marvin Filipo, Warren Schillings and Ethan Cook among the best in the forwards. Josh Mantellato is a fine goal kicker who kicks in the Johnathan Thurston style in that he is able to curl the ball when it leaves his boot and would be one to watch in the future and Wes Naiqama showed what a quality player he is.

Western Suburbs travel across the Tasman next Saturday and take on the inconsistant Auckland Vulcans who will be desperate to get their season back on track.

Full time - Newcastle 64 (J Mantellato 2, R Fa'aso, W Naiqama, W Schillings, S Anderson, J Sau, A Kelly, S Likiliki, A Davis, R Mason tries: Mantellato 10 goals) Wests 10 (D Parata, L Fifita tries: Millgate 1 goal)
Half time - Newcastle 28 - Wests 6

Penalities - Newcastle 4 Wests 3

Scrums - Newcastle 6 - Wests 3

Goal kickers - J Mantellato 10/11, N Millgate 1/1, L Fifita 0/1

1 Zoram Watene
15 Daniel La Manna
3 Michael Lekkas
4 Keanu Rogers
5 Michael La Manna
6 Chris Nay
7 Nigel Millgate
8 Aaron Sweeney
9 Dean Parata
10 Jay Maseuli
11 Seffa Sifalua
12 Tom Morrison
13 Henry Iuta

16 Alan Daly
17 Mundarra Weldon
20 Zac Campbell
24 Latu Fifita

1 Wes Naiqama
2 Josh Mantellato
19 Junior Sau
24 Siutonga Likiliki
3 Michael Mate
6 Albert Kelly
7 Adrian Davis
25 Kyle O'Donnell
14 Mitch Williams
10 Richie Fa'aso
11 Ethan Cook
12 Marvin Filipo
13 Zane Tetevano

15 Sam Anderson
16 Warren Schillings
17 Shaun Boss
20 Rodney Mason

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