On a glorious saturday afternoon, the Western Suburbs Magpies played their final home game of the 2012 VB NSW Cup season against a Mounties outfit who were desperate to stay alive in the race for the finals. The Magpies pushed Mounties in the first half and at the 39 minute mark only trailed 14-10 but errors and a loss of concerntration allowed Mounties to score within 1 minute either side of half time and then raced away in the second half to win comfortably 64-22.
The day did not start well for Wests when they spilt the ball within the first set of six from the kick off. From the resulting scrum win, Mounties worked the ball towards Wests tryline and fullback Dimitri Pelo slid through the defence from 10m out to score after just 90 seconds of play. Scott Jones missed the conversion and Mounties were up 4-0.
Wests regrouped and after receiving consecutive penalties, were able to work the ball upfield and scored at the 8 minute mark when Keanu Rogers who played for Wests SG Ball last season scored in the corner. Trent Touma converted from the sideline and Wests were in the lead 6-4.
Wests then gifted Mounties a penalty on their own 40m line and Mounties had no trouble in scoring at the 12 minute mark when young Raiders forward Mark Ioane crashed over close to the line. Scott Jones converted the try for Mounties to regain the lead 10-6.
Wests however were not going to go away and scored at the 19 minute mark when winger Greg Davis scored in the corner after a clever kick from Zoram Watene behind the Mounties defence was regathered by Davis. Touma missed the conversion and the scores were locked at 10-all.
Mounties then scored at the 23rd minute mark when a kick by Canberra Raider, Michael Picker to the corner was allowed to bounce ingoal and Haydon Hodge dived on the loose ball to score. Jones missed with the conversion and it was Mounties in front 14-10.
Wests were certainly taking it to Mounties with some big hits by Henry Iuta and Seffa Silafau whilst the rest of the forward pack defending very well. Wests went close to scoring on the back of a Nigel Millgate 40/20 at the 28 minute mark but were unable to capitalise going within centimetres of scoring.
Then an error with less then a minute to go in the first half undid the great work Wests had done in the first half. After winning a scrum on their 10m line, a low pass to the first receiver was knocked on and from the resulting scrum win, Mounties scored when Adam Tangata crashed over close to the line. Jones added the extras for a halftime score of 20-10 to Mounties.
At 20-10, Wests were certainly not out of the game and just needed to iron out the amount of errors creeping into their game.
However, before some of the crowd had time to resume their seats from the halftime break, Mounties scored on just the second tackle from the kick off. Travis Waddell was able to bounce off a tackle and offload to centre Sami Sauiluma who raced 60m along the sideline to score. Jones converted and it was 26-10 which meant Mounties had scored 12 points less then one minute either side of halftime.
Mounties extended their lead at the 45 minute mark when Jarred Kennedy ran onto a short pass to break the defensive line 15m out from the Wests line and popped up a pass for Petro to score his second try for the afternoon. Jones added the extras and it was now 32-10.
With Wests attacking within the Mounties 20m zone, Mounties centre Sami Sauiluma intercepted a pass to race 80m to score at the 49 minute mark but not after a valiant chase from front rower Seffa Silafau who chased right to the end to make sure Sauiluma score in the corner. Jones missed the conversion attempt but Mounties now led 36-10.
Wests were not about to give up and scored at the 53rd minute mark when Trent Touma put a kick up for his winger into the ingoal and in the scramble for the ball, it was Touma who was able to dive on the loose ball. Touma then nailed the conversion from out wide for a 36-16 scoreline.
Mounties then dispelled any thoughts of a Wests comeback when Mark Ioane scored his second try of the day at the 60 minute mark when he simply crashed over close to the line. Halfback Darren Nicholls took over the goalkicking duties and duly added the extras for a 42-16 scoreline.
Mounties added further tries at the 61st and 64th minute mark to Jarred Kennedy and Eddie El-Zbaidieh which were both converted by Nicholls for Mounties to lead 54-16 before Wests scored at the 69 minute mark when former Campbelltown Eagles player, Amanono Tovio scored from a Nigel Millgate grudder kick into the ingoal which Mounties failed to cleanup. Touma added the extras for a 54-22 scoreline.
Mounties added further tries at the 75th and 78th minute to Jarred Kennedy and Hayden Hodge, who ran at 3/4 pace to the tryline after taking an intercept on halfway for a final score of Mounties 64 Wests 22.
For Wests, they certainly had their chances in the first half but fell away in the second half with crucial errors proving costly. Seffa Silafau was in the thick of the action in both attack and defence. Michael Lekkas has certainly enjoyed the move to the back row with his game improving immensely since moving out of the centre position. Jay Maseuli was always charging into the opposition pack whilst Henry Godinet added some spark around the rucks in both attack and defence when coming on from the interchange bench. Big Henry Iuta again made same massive hits in defence and some nice offloads but also showed he has more to his armoury with some great runs playing in the centres. Henry is a Minto boy and grew up with Jarryd Hayne and Krisnan Inu with many local observers stating he was just as, if not more talented then those two - WOW.
For Mounties, Paul Vaughan was the standout in the forwards. Although playing in the front row, he has some pace and ran more like a back rower constantly busting the Wests defence on the fringe of the rucks. Mark Ioane, Scott Jones and Jarred Kennedy also played very well in the Mounties forward pack whilst Travis Waddell created opportunies from dummy half. Canberra Raiders player, Michael Picker was put into the five-eighth role and together with Darren Nicholls, directed the side around the park very well whilst centre Sami Sauliuma and fullback Dimitri Pelo also had outstanding games.
The Magpies play Balmain/Ryde-Eastwood at Leichhardt Oval next saturday in the final round of the NSW Cup.
Mounties 64 (Pelo 2, Ioane 2, Kennedy 2, Sauiluma 2, Hodge 2, Tangata, E El-Zbaidieh tries: Jones 4, Nicholls 4 goals) def Wests 22 (Rogers, Davis, Touma, Tovio tries: Touma 3 goals).
Half time: Mounties 20 Wests 10
Scrums: Wests 10 Mounties 4
Penalties: Wests 8 Mounties 8
Goal kickers: Scott Jones 4/7 Darren Nicholls 4/5 Trent Touma 3/4
40/20 - Nigel Millgate - 1
1 Zoram Watene
2 Greg Davis
25 Henry Iuta
4 Amanono Tovio
5 Keanu Rogers
6 Michael La Manna
7 Trent Touma
15 Todd Makejev
9 Nigel Millgate
10 Jay Maseuli
11 Tuki Jackson
12 Latu Fifita
13 Michael Lekkas
3 Daniel La Manna
8 Seffa Silafau
14 Henry Godinet
21 Sione Fakahua
1 Dimitri Peo
19 Eddie El-Zbaidieh
3 Sami Sauiluma
4 Michael Bani
15 Hayden Hodge
13 Michael Picker
7 Darren Nicholls
8 Mark Ioane
9 Travis Waddell
10 Paul Vaughan
11 Scott Jones
14 Pat Galea
16 Jarred Kennedy
12 Jason Green
17 Nick Kassis
20 Adam Tangata
21 John Leiataua