A strong opening ten minutes laid the platform for Wests to trounce premiership heavyweights The Entrance 40-16 last weekend at EDSACC Oval.
In a performance Magpies coach Leo Epifania said was his most satisfying victory as a coach, Wests recorded seven tries to three against a Tigers side which had no answer to the relentless Magpies onslaught.
Although the opening ten minutes failed to yield any points, the attitude and energy shown by Wests early on had The Entrance reeling.
However, on ten minutes, the Tigers opened the scoring completely against the run of play, with a perfect inside angle run from Alan Munro resulting in four points. Jake Fitzpatrick added the extras and The Entrance led 6-0.
The Entrance were in again eight minutes later, with Troy Woodley darting in behind the Magpies line to touch down under the posts. Fitzpatrick converted for 12-0 after 22 minutes.
Wests were determined not to let their early good work go to waste, and Michael Stevens threw the first of several face balls at The Entrance line on 25 minutes for a barnstorming Soni Passi to touch down next to the posts. Sam Aiga slotted the goal; Wests back to within six points with thirteen minutes to the break.
Three consecutive sets allowed Wests to build some pressure and, just three minutes after their first try, the black and whites were in for their second, with Nathan Waters holding up the pass for Sam Aiga who slid through the Tigers defence to touch down. With eight minutes to the break, Michael Stevens levelled the scores.
The Magpies were playing like world beaters and, yet again, took just three minutes to add to their tally, with a backline move seeing decoy runners coming from everywhere, the ball landing in the hands of Amanono Tovio, who scored in the corner. Michael Stevens pushed the conversion attempt wide and Wests took their deserved 16-12 lead into the interval.
Wests took, yes, just three minutes after half time to notch up their fourth try of the afternoon, with David Atuau burrowing over from dummy half. Michael Stevens converted the try to push the score out to 22-12.
Although cool on the sidelines, the temperature on the field was beyond boiling point, and a penalty to Wests for a shoulder charge resulted in Troy Adams giving the referee his two cents worth, Matt Noyen having no hesitation giving Adams ten minutes on the sideline.
Wests took advantage of a 12 man Tigers side by scoring as many points in the following ten minutes, with Michael Stevens capitalising on a big backline move before Stevens set up Tom Morrison with a glorious ball. Stevens converted both tries and when The Entrance regained their full compliment with 25 minutes to play, Wests had jumped out to a 34-12 lead.
Adams set about immediately atoning for his dismissal, coming up with a strong covering tackle which forced a loose pass from Wests on halfway. From the ensuing scrum, journeyman Arana Taumata slipped a short ball to Jamen McLeod, the Tigers custodian racing 55 metres to touch down. Jake Fitzpatrick missed the tough conversion, Wests ahead 34-16 with 20 minutes on the clock.
The boggy conditions on EDSACC took their toll on the attacking nature of the game, with both sides locked in a forward battle which was brutal, testing and an absolute delight for fans of gladiatorial football.
With ten minutes to go, the Magpies were set for a big backline shift to the left, but the ball went to forward Inno Inosesio, whose short kick rebounded like a pinball before landing in the in-goal, Inosesio on hand to score off his own kick. Michael Stevens added the extras to leave Wests 40-16 in front with nine minutes to play.
Sam Aiga had an opportunity to add to the Magpies score, but his penalty goal attempt sailed wide with seven minutes on the clock, although, by that stage, the match was well and truly decided.
For The Entrance, Troy Woodley led the way, with able support from Sinbad Kali and Alan Munro. For Wests, Tom Morrison was everywhere in defence, Mason Talolua was everywhere generally, and Nathan Waters held the ball on a string.
Combined with other results, the win puts Wests within one game of equal eighth spot, while The Entrance maintain their top four spot with two games in hand.
Next weekend, Wests host Burwood at Lidcombe Oval, while The Entrance head to TG Milner Field to take on Guildford.
WESTERN SUBURBS 40 (Soni Passi, Sam Aiga, Amanono Tovio, David Atuau, Michael Stevens, Tom Morrison, Inno Inosesio tries; Michael Steve 5 from 6, Sam Aiga 1 from 2) def THE ENTRANCE 16 (Alan Munro, Troy Woodley, Jamen McLeod tries; Jake Fitzpatrick 2 from 3)
Penalties: The Entrance 7 Wests 9
Halftime: Wests 16 The Entrance 12
1. Sam Aiga
2. Jerome Mose
4. Josh Davis
3. Limoni Kamuta
5. Amanono Tovio
6. Michael Stevens
7. Nathan Waters
8. Dean Rysko
9. Dayne Craig
10. Mason Talolua
16. Dave Harris
12. Tom Morrison
18. Inno Inosesio
11. Sonny Bristow
15. David Atuau
20. Todd Makejev
22. Soni Passi
1. Jamen McLeod
2. Scott Peachey
3. Rhys Pritchard
4. Brad Chatfield
5. Harley Ridge
6. Jake Fitzpatrick
7. Arana Taumata
17. Tim Nawaqatabu
9. Troy Woodley
10. Ryan Dalziel
18. Jay Heming
12. Alan Munro
13. Troy Adams
8. Sinbad Kali
14. Robbie Daniels
15. Jye Newton
16. Sebastian Vourlos