Saturday, April 6, 2013

Match Report - Ron Massey Cup Round 1 - Western Suburbs Magpies v Auburn Warriors

Ron Massey Cup debutants Western Suburbs opened their 2013 account with a gritty 18-8 victory over Auburn at a damp and overcast Lidcombe Oval.

Auburn were hit with injury before kick-off, losing prop Hala Akauloa during the warm-up, and they struggled early to contain the initially enthusiastic Magpies.

Auburn had the first genuine opportunity of the match after seven minutes, with a break on their left flank for Harmony Hunt. However, Wests custodian Sam Aiga was not only up for the challenge, but flattened Hunt in the one on one challenge.

However, Auburn only had to wait five minutes for their next chance, and this time they took full advantage, with a sweeping backline movement catching Wests short on the Western side, a short kick in field finding Cliff Nye, who touched down just inside the Western touchline. Damien Mostyn was unsuccessful with the conversion attempt, Auburn up 4-0 on 13 minutes.

Auburn dominated the Magpies pack, with several poor attacking options from Wests punctuated by Auburn penalties and plenty of dropped ball from the Black and Whites. Although Auburn failed to make much impression on the Magpies in attack, their composure allowed for plenty of energy to be expended in a big defensive effort.

Auburn capitalised on consecutive penalties, first for a shoulder charge and then, off for hands on the ball on the very next tackle, to add to the score on the half hour, with a left side backline move finding an unmarked Fiteli Fatai, who scrambled over in the South-Eastern corner. Once again, though, Damien Mostyn found the difficult conversion attempt a bridge too far, and Auburn found themselves ahead 8-0 after 31 minutes.

The Magpies had their best first half chance after an awkward kick-off resulted in an Auburn knock-on, but poor handling ensured the try went begging. The remainder of the first half was marred by poor ball handling, with the Warriors going into half time up 8-0.

Both sides opened the second half full of energy, with Auburn unable to add to their first half tally despite some excellent backline movement. However, it only took five minutes for Wests to begin to control the momentum, with a high tackle penalty followed by a desperate lunge by Auburn to knock the ball on with the Magpies having two unmarked men on the outside.

The Magpies took advantage of their early momentum, with a strong run by Tala Mapesone seeing him carry two defenders over the line to score as Mapesone injured his shoulder. Late inclusion David Atuau was successful with his conversion attempt, bringing the Magpies back within two points at 8-6.

Both sides threw caution to the wind, with the Magpies determined to capitalise on their momentum, while the Warriors needed to halt the flow of the game. The Warriors started to get on top of the Magpies pack and on 61 minutes, the Warriors nearly got through some feeble defence. However, on the next tackle, the ball popped loose and, with Auburn’s attack having compressed, the Magpies immediately spun the ball to the left, with Tuiniua Paiaaua racing 50 metres to put the Magpies in front. The difficult conversion attempt was missed by David Atuau, Wests up 10-8 on the hour.

Auburn fullback Michael Gibson coughed up the ball after a tackle which looked a little high, however referee Scot Murray called a knock-on, and the Magpies took advantage at the end of the set. As Wests looked to pass wide, Auburn rushed up and Magpies five-eighth Nathan Rumsby had no choice but to kick for winger Amanono Tovio. Tovio showed incredible skill to not only mark the ball but to tip toe along the dead ball line before throwing it back in, with centre Fusi Toutai on hand to ground the loose ball. Atuau was again unsuccessful with the conversion attempt, Wests holding a 14-8 lead going into a tense last 15 minutes.

Despite Auburn’s need for a try, they never looked like breaking the Magpies line. There was no lack of effort on the Warrior’s part, but the scrambling defence for the Magpies was immense, even if their defence in the middle sometimes left a little to be desired.

As the Magpies sought to set up for a match-winning field goal, second rower Mason Harrison decide four was better than one, with a bustling charge, in which he beat the same two defenders twice, to score adjacent to the posts. David Atuau missed with the simple conversion attempt, Wests getting out to an 18-8 lead with just 30 seconds to play.

Auburn’s gallant attempt to claim a consolation try was in vain, with the short kick-off being knocked on.

For the Magpies, Sam Aiga was immense at the back in a sublime performance, while Soni Paasi and Dean Rysko led the way for the Magpie’s pack.

Wests coach Leo Epifania said that, while he was pleased with the big pick-up in enthusiasm in the second half, there was plenty of work still to do.

Next week, the Magpies return to Campbelltown to take on Windsor, with kick-off at 5pm Saturday, while Auburn head out to McCredie Oval to face against against another RMC debutant in Guildford.

WESTS 18 (Tala Mapesone, Tuiniua Paiaaua, Fusi Toutai, Mason Harrison tries; David Atuau 1 from 4) def AUBURN 8 (Cliff Nye, Fiteli Fatai tries; Damien Mostyn 0 from 2)

Halftime: Auburn 8-0

Penalties: Auburn 5 Wests 5

Western Suburbs

1. Sam Aiga
2. Tuiniua Paiaaua
16. Fusi Toutai
4. Jerome Mose
5. Amanono Tovio
6. Nathan Rumsby
15. David Atuau
8. Seffa Silafau
9. Matt Jones
10. Tom Morrison
11. Mason Harrison
12. Adrian Haangana
13. Dean Rysko

3. Tala Mapesone
14. Matiasi Toutai
17. Joel Jasmin
18. Soni Paasi

COACH: Leo Epifania


1. Michael Gibson
2. Cliff Nye
3. Harmony Hunt
4. Heka Nanai
5. Fiteli Fatai
6. Damien Mostyn
7. Jarrod Roberts
8. Tupou Iongi
9. Henry-Ah-Sam
20. Traydin Fonoia
11. Jayson Gerecs
12. Sione Tovo
13. Chris Salem

14. John Joseph
15. Alby Boaza
16. Fata Fotu-Moala
17. Ray Tafokitau

COACH: Darren Maroon

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