Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rnd 1 - Ron Massey Cup - Match Review

Western Suburbs have opened their 2014 Ron Massey Cup season with a 30-24 loss against the Auburn Warriors at Lidcombe Oval.

Wests started with plenty of enthusiasm and, despite Auburn making a 30 metre raid on their opening last tackle, registered first points as Shane Lalogafau shook off no less than six Warriors defenders to score. Dayne Craig slotted the conversion and the Magpies led 6-0 after five minutes.

Sustained attacking pressure paid off for the Magpies seven minutes later, when Michael Stevens ran to the line and dummied his way through to touch down. Dayne Craig converted in Thurston-esque fashion to put Wests up by a dozen after as many minutes.

Auburn needed to hit back and did so five minutes later through a sweeping 80 metre movement which finished off with Fiteli Fatai registering Auburn's first try of 2014, despite howls of protest from Western Suburbs over a pass which appeared to travel forward. Lindon McGrady added the extras and halfway through the first half, Wests led 12-6.

Only three minutes later Auburn squared the ledger as Lindon McGrady showed deft footwork to beat the Magpies defence, McGrady converting his own try.

Wests went close on the half hour as a grubber kick was batted back in from beyond the Auburn dead ball line, however the bounce was unfavourable for the black and whites and the 12-all scoreline remained at the interval.

Wests began the second half as they did the first, with Dayne Craig dummying and barging his way over the line after just one minute. Craig converted his own try for an 18-12 advantage.

Auburn hit back five minutes later as a right side backline movement found hulking forward Pat Mafi, who pushed his way over. McGrady kept his 100% success rate going and levelled the scores.

58 minutes had elapsed when the game reached its most controversial moment, as Auburn failed to provide a dummy half after a long range break. However, rather than Jerome Mose being rewarded for swooping on the loose ball, official Ryan Jackson saw fit to dispatch the Magpies centre for ten minutes.

Auburn took full advantage two minutes later, as Brendon Mafi forced his way over the line. McGrady put Auburn up by six with the kick splitting the posts.

From the restart, Auburn went the distance to score after a left side break, Lindon McGrady backing up on the inside to touch down under the posts. McGrady's conversion left Auburn ahead 30-18 with 18 minutes to play.

Wests refused to go away and fought hard t get back into the game. With five minutes remaining, they were duly rewarded as Soni Passi evoked memories of last year's epic semi final win over Cabramatta by refusing to go down, touching down despite five Warriors desperately hanging on. Dayne Craig converted and Wests were within six with four minutes to play, although that was as close as the black and whites got, Auburn emerging 30-24 winners.

Magpies coach Leo Epifania was disappointed in defensive lapses which led to the 12 point deficit, but was still pleased with the grit and determination Wests showed to fight back and almost steal a point. Epifania said he was looking for more intensity in defence from the Magpies as well.

Next week Auburn host The Entrance at Lidcombe Oval, while Western Suburbs head up the Northern Road for a show down against the Windsor Wolves, both matches kicking off at 3pm Saturday.

AUBURN 30 (Lindon McGrady 2, Fiteli Fatai, Pat Mafi, Brendon Mafi tries; Lindon McGrady 5 from 5) def WESTERN SUBURBS 24 (Shane Lalogafau, Michael Stevens, Dayne Craig, Soni Passi tries; Dayne Craig 4 from 4)

Penalties: Auburn 11 Wests 9

Halftime: Auburn 12 Wests 12

Western Suburbs

16. Brenton Cowen
1. Sam Aiga
3. Rusty Bristow
4. Jerome Mose
5. Junior Vaivai
6. Andrew Sultana
7. Michael Stevens
18. Soni Passi
9. Dayne Craig
10. Jarrod Szczudlo
11. Nu Akeripa
12. Shane Lalogafau
13. Tunui Maurangi

14. David Atuau
19. Fred Tevago
20. Alan McGrath
21. Elemeleki Tuamalolo


1. Fiteli Fatai
19. Sam Gerrey-Burgess
3. Heka Nanai
4. Matt Utai
5. Sione Kaiveleta
6. Lindon McGrady
7. Sam Refaai
8. Sione Tovo
9. Luke Ferry
10. Tupou Iongi
11. Hala Akaoula
16. Pat Mafi
13. Wilson Faanoi

12. Brendon Mafi
14. Jordan Bowles
15. Conrad Ta'a Kimoeaka
21. Joe Mua

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