Western Suburbs climbed Mt Everest several times in outlasting Burwood-North Ryde 22-12 last weekend at Lidcombe Oval.
The Magpies showed grit and determination in overcoming a mounting penalty count and injuries to back up with the two points after their big win over The Entrance, their victory over Burwood making it three on the trot.
Burwood opened the scoring for the afternoon after ten minutes on the back of a booming 40-20 kick, with Burwood captain Joe Uluibau showing some light feet to get outside his opposite number to touch down in the corner. Kurt Aldridge slotted the touchline conversion in blustery conditions to give Burwood a 6-0 lead.
Both forward packs fought for supremacy which led to a number of penalties in a 15 minute period. The black and whites hit back in the 25th minute through Michael Stevens who threw a collection of dummies, all of which were bought by the Burwood defence. Stevens was unsuccessful in converting his own try, the Magpies back to within two points.
The following set saw tempers boil over after a penalty was awarded to Wests for a high tackle. Referee McDonnell played a feature role for the rest of the first half, with another seven penalties punctuating the final 15 minutes before the break. With half time fast approaching, Magpies second rower Tom Morrison was sent to the sin bin for an infringement in a tackle.
Burwood failed to capitalise on their opportunities with Morrison off the field, with a forward pass and a kick out on the full denying the black and pinks good field position in the final minutes. Wests Magpies down 6-4 at the break.
The opening set of the second stanza saw Burwood register their second 40-20 kick of the afternoon. BNRU’s chance to score was shut down by an intercept attempt by Amanono Tovio.
The game ebbed and flowed but in the 55th minute Burwood second rower Joe Mataele used his bulk to barge over the line. Kurt Aldridge added the extras to put Burwood out by eight with 24 minutes on the clock.
From the following set, Burwood spilt the ball before giving up a penalty for a stripping offence.
Wests needed no invitation to hit straight back, with centre Jerome Mose registering his first try for 2013 after a lovely run around move created the overlap. Michael Stevens put the ball straight between the posts and Burwood’s eight point lead was reduced to just two points.
Burwood had a chance two minutes later to get their eight point advantage back, but the bomb was marked by Amanono Tovio.
The Magpies took advantage of a quick restart to march up field before being halted right on the try line. The opposition player was then penalised for holding the Magpie player down. The crowd expressed their disbelief when Burwood were allowed to keep 13 on the field.
From the ensuing penalty another sweeping backline move saw Amanono Tovio touch down to put the Magpies in front. Michael Stevens slotted the conversion from touch, Wests leading 16-12 with 14 minutes on the clock.
Burwood threw everything at Wests in the final quarter hour but the Magpies defence stood firm. In the final couple of minutes Nathan Waters caught Burwood off guard by grubbering across the field. The ever present Michael Steven grabbed the match winning try by scoring his second of the day. His fine conversion put the Magpies out of reach 22-12.
Magpies coach Leo Epifania was pleased with the effort, saying that, despite the lack of execution at times, he was happy with the grit shown by his players in somehow finding a way to win after last week’s emotion-charged victory over The Entrance.
For Burwood, their big pack was ably led by Jordan Tuivaii, Ali Musri and Joe Mataele, while for Wests, the backs led the way, with Michael Stevens, Fusi Toutai and Jerome Mose standing tall.
Next week, Burwood will take on Guildford at TG Milner, desperately needing a win to keep their top four hopes alive, while Wests travel to Storey Park, Asquith for a 3pm kick off on Saturday 17 July 2013.
Wests are buoyed by three consecutive wins which gives the boys from Campbelltown a genuine chance at finals football.
WESTERN SUBURBS 22 (Michael Stevens 2, Amanono Tovio, Jerome Mose tries; Michael Stevens 3 from 4) def BURWOOD NORTH-RYDE 12 (Joe Uluibau, Joe Mataele tries; Kurt Aldridge 2 from 2)
Penalties: Wests 7 Burwood 9. Halftime score: Burwood 6 Wests 4.
WESTERN SUBURBS 1. Sam Aiga 17. Fusi Toutai 2. Jerome Mose 4. Trent Jennings 5. Amanono Tovio 6. Michael Stevens 7. Nathan Waters 8. Dean Rysko (C) 9. Dayne Craig 10. Mason Talolua 11. Shane Lalogafau 12. Tom Morrison 18. Sonny Bristow 13. Todd Makejev 14. Matiasi Toutai 15. David Atuau 22. Soni Paasi
BURWOOD NORTH-RYDE 1. Hamilton Hughes 2. Matt Evans 3. Joe Uluibau (C) 4. Joe Rokoqo 5. Jordan Tongahai 6. Josh Phillips 7. Ryan Millard 8. Jordan Tuivaii 9. Kurt Aldridge 10. Ali Musri 11. Joe Mataele 12. Tim Winitana 13. Tupati Eni 14. Daniel Fepuleai 15. Sione Fakahua 16. Elias Sukkar 17. Tarek El Masri