Monday, September 23, 2013

Semi Final - Ron Massey Cup - Match Review

Western Suburbs’ giant killing run came to an end last Sunday, with Wentworthville staging a comeback for the ages to secure a 32-24 victory. While Wentworthville had enjoyed a week’s break, Wests were coming off an epic golden point victory over minor premiers Cabramatta and were outdone for energy in the early exchanges.

However, Wests were the first to register points after eight minutes. Michael Stevens, under pressure from the Wentworthville defence, chose to run the ball on the last tackle, finding Dean Rysko in support before Rysko offloaded for Limoni Kamuta, who outpaced the cover to touch down. Stevens, recovered after being flattened late, converted for Wests to lead 6-0.

Wests took advantage of the shift in momentum to double their lead on the quarter hour as a Stevens grubber kick took a deflection off the Wenty defence, Sam Aiga darting through to pick up the ball and beat Wenty fullback Jarome Mackenzie with a right foot step to grab the try, converted by Michael Stevens.

Wentworthville needed to find a way to stay alive and, with ten minutes before halftime, Wenty shifted the ball to their right side where Wests had failed to recover, Arthur Takupu beating Sam Aiga for speed to get Wentworthville on the board. Aaron Fluke added the extras to bring Wentworthville back within six.

However, Wests would have the final say in the first half. A penalty for a late shoulder charge on Michael Stevens allowed Wests to set up and David Atuau almost found the line himself off a line break. From the ensuing play the ball, Fred Tevaga tucked the ball under his arm and ran crossfield, beating four players before spinning out of a tackle to score. Michael Stevens hit the woodwork with the conversion attempt, Wests heading to halftime ahead by 16-6.

Knowing Wentworthville were seeking to enter their sixth straight decider, Wests needed to start well and they did one better, with a magical ball inside from Soni Passi sending Sam Aiga into the backfield, Aiga showing an excellent right foot step to beat Jarome Mackenzie and reach out as the cover converged. Stevens converted from in front, Wests leading 22-6 four minutes into the second stanza.

Wentworthville started to get frustrated and with back to back penalties to Wests for a shoulder charge and a lifting tackle, Michael Stevens added a penalty goal to the Wests tally, extending the score to 24-6 with 27 minutes remaining.

Wentworthville needed to roll the dice and they came up trumps with 20 minutes to go, with Daniel Penese powering his way through the Wests defence on the last tackle. Fluke added the extras to bring Wenty back to within a dozen.

From the kick-off, a miscommunication left Jarome Mackenzie without a forward to take the hit up. Sensing blood, the Wests defence showed a little too much enthusiasm in defence, McKenzie slicing through a tiny gap to go 105 metres to score. Fluke converted and with 18 minutes to play, Wests held a fragile 24-18 advantage.

Wentworthville suddenly had complete control over the momentum of the game and registered their fourth try five minutes later, as three consecutive short side runs of 15 metres allowed Dominic Reardon to weave his way through the scrambling Wests defence. Aaron Fluke barely pushed the conversion attempt across the face, Wentworthville coming home strong, despite trailing 24-22.

A minute later and Wentworthville had the lead, as KJ Mackenzie managed to find enough space through a crowd of black and white jerseys of both descriptions to put Wentworthville in front. Fluke failed to convert, Wentworthville ahead 26-24 with eight minutes remaining.

Wests nearly stole the win with 90 seconds remaining, as Michael Stevens grubbered through the Wentworthville line for his three-quarter line. However, Dominic Reardon picked off the kick and grabbed Wenty’s second length of the field try. Fluke converted for a miraculous Wentworthville win.

Wests coach Leo Epifania lamented a couple of defensive lapses at key times, although he was pleased with his player’s efforts. Epifania said that, while he would have been thrilled with such a final position before the season started, it still hurt to fall a game short of the decider. For Wests, Dean Rysko, Michael Stevens and Sam Aiga were standouts, while Wentowrthville had Jarome Mackenzie, Aaron Fluke and Mitchell Stanfield to thank for their comeback.

WENTWORTHVILLE 32 (Dominic Reardon 2, Arthur Takapu, Daniel Penese, Jarome Mackenzie, KJ Mackenzie tries; Aaron Fluke 4 from 6) def WESTERN SUBURBS 24 (Sam Aiga 2, Limoni Kamuta, Fred Tevaga tries; Michael Stevens 4 from 5) Penalties: Wests 8 Wentworthville 4. Halftime score: Wests 16 Wentworthville 6.

Western Suburbs
1. Sam Aiga
2. Nathan Scarano
3. Limoni Kamuta
4. Jerome Mose
5. Amanono Tovio
6. Micheal Stevens
7. David Atuau
8. Fred Tevago
9. Dayne Craig
10. Sonny Bristow
11. Mason Talolua
12. Luke Williams
13. Dean Rysko

14. Chris Standing
18. Seffa Sliafau
20. Todd Makajev
22. Soni Passi

1. Jarome Mackenzie
19. Dominic Reardon
3. Kj Mackenzie
4. Tim Wynn
5. Arthur Takapu
20. Aaron Fluke
7. Matthew Place
16. Tyrone Viiga
23. Brendan McKinnon
10. Nathan Armit
17. Patrick Mataele
12. Valu Nasio
13. Mitchell Stanfield

6. Brendan Waters
11. Solomone Lasalo
15. Daniel Penese
24. Taunaloa Kei

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