Monday, September 16, 2013

Preliminary Final - Ron Massey Cup - Match Review

Western Suburbs recorded a stirring 24-20 golden point victory last Saturday at New Era Stadium, bouncing minor premiers Cabramatta out the back door of this year’s finals. With the eastern side of New Era Stadium abuzz, Cabramatta made the ideal start after eleven minutes, as a face ball by James Trotter found Tiger Vatuvei, who bulldozed his way through the Magpies defence to open the scoring alongside the uprights. Jason Gray buried the extras, Cabramatta 6-0 ahead after 12 minutes.

It took until the half hour for another genuine scoring opportunity to arise, as Tuki Jackson found space on the left to put Gray away. However, an inspiring effort from Tom Morrison rescued the day for the Magpies. A penalty for offside on the ensuing play allowed Wests to regroup, however it was Danny Barakat who ran inside from dummy half before showing and going through to score. Gray was online with the conversion, and Cabramatta led 12-0 with eight minutes until the break.

Cabramatta sought to pressure a Nathan Waters-less Wests on their last tackle options, but with seven minutes to go, Michael Stevens stepped off his left foot and put Amanono Tovio away down the right wing, Tovio returning the favour as Stevens opened the Magpie’s account. Stevens was successful with the conversion attempt, and Wests had halved the deficit with five minutes to halftime.

Wests rounded out the first half scoring with a right side raid almost going to ground before Sam Aiga swooped in behind the line and put Amanono Tovio over in the corner. Stevens pulled the conversion across the face, Cabramatta holding a 12-10 lead at the interval.

Cabramatta went quickly on the attack in the second half and received a penalty for an attacking offside against Wests. However, after a delay due to injury, Cabramatta chose to kick for goal, with Jason Gray slotting the two points for a 14-10 lead.

An epic contest of the forwards saw some enormous contact, and as the forwards went at it, Wests took the opportunity to spin the ball wide, Amanono Tovio stretching out to register his second try of the day. Michael Stevens sent the black and white faithful into raptures as he converted from as close to the touchline as you can get, Wests leading 16-14 with 22 minutes to play.

Cabramatta refused to panic and continued to play their natural game but, coming out of trouble, Jason Gray found himself monstered by Limoni Kamuta, the Magpie flanker stealing the ball in a one on one challenge and motoring 30 metres to score. Michael Stevens failed to convert from the eastern touchline, Wests heading into the last quarter up 20-14.

Cabramatta started to feel the pressure of the clock winding down, forced into error by their own desperation as well as a furious Magpies line speed. Sadly for Wests, second rower Tom Morrison was stretchered from the field with four minutes to play after sustaining a nasty leg injury which left the crowd gasping.

Cabramatta used this break to regather their composure and, after a penalty for a fortuitous high tackle, Ivan Penehe bounced through three Wests defenders to lift the roof at New Era. Jason Gray added the extras from a fairly simple position by his standards, and the Two Blues and Magpies were headed to golden point, locked at 20-20 after 80 minutes.

Golden point could not have started worse for Cabramatta, as a shorter kick-off by Sam Aiga was put to ground. However, Wests turned the ball back over shortly after, and Cabramatta dominated the first period of golden point through to the last two minutes, when referee Adam Cassidy awarded Cabramatta a penalty for a late challenge on the kicker. Jason Gray pointed to the posts and, for the first time of the afternoon, had his kick at goal waved away, with five minutes being insufficient to separate the teams.

The second period of golden point saw Wests go straight on the attack with a Michael Stevens field goal attempt charged down by a diving Cabramatta. Dayne Craig very nearly took advantage of the extra set by burrowing through, but the Two Blues defence was up to the challenge to hold him up.
From the play the ball, Michael Stevens had yet another field goal attempted charged down with the Magpies regaining possession. Finally, after 88 minutes of enthralling, physical football, as Cabramatta focussed their attention on the Wests halves, Soni Paasi tucked the ball under his arm and, in trademark bull style, powered his way through four Cabramatta defenders to seal the game for the Magpies. Wests coach Leo Epifania said that all he ever asked of his team was character, and Wests delivered in spades, securing victory after having trailed 12-0 six minutes before halftime. The result marks a disappointing end for Cabramatta, who secured the minor premiership a fortnight ago with a 34-18 victory at home over Wests.

For Western Suburbs, the enthusiasm of Soni Paasi, the constant presence of Jerome Mose and the workload of Ron Massey Cup Player of the Year Dean Rysko helped secure the win, while for Cabramatta, Tuki Jackson dominated in attack when he came on, ably assisted in the pack by Pat Lennard and Nick Eshman.

Western Suburbs will play Wentworthville for a place in the 2013 RMC Grand Final next SUNDAY 220913 at Kogarah Win Jubilee Oval, kick-off at 1-45pm with Mounties and The Entrance fighting it out for the other spot at 3-30pm.

WESTERN SUBURBS 24 (Amanono Tovio 2, Michael Stevens, Limoni Kamuta, Soni Paasi tries; Michael Stevens 2 from 4) def CABRAMATTA 20 (Tiger Vatuvei, Danny Barakat, Ivan Penehe tries; Jason Gray 4 from 5) Penalties: Wests 7 Cabramatta 10. Halftime score: Wests 10 Cabramatta 12

Western Suburbs      
1. Sam Aiga
19. Limoni Kamuta
16. Brad Soe
4. Jerome Mose
5. Amanono Tovio
6. Micheal Stevens
15. David Atuau
8. Dean Rysko
9. Dayne Craig
10. Sonny Bristow
13. Mason Talolua
12. Tom Morrison
11. Seffa Silafau

17. Luke Williams
18. Fred Tevago
20. Soni Passi
22. Todd Makajev

1. Chris Taripo
2. Jason Gray
3. Ivan Penehe
4. Danny Barakat
5. Fetongi Tuiavanu
20. James Trotter
7. Gus Jasmine
8. Pat Lennard
9. Tiger Vatuvei
10. Ene Folau
11. Jerry Key
12. Nick Eshman
13. Henry Taufaao

16. Tuki Jackson
17. Hala Katoa
18. Judah Lavulu
19. Max Napa

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