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Wolves one step away from greatness

September 2013

Windsor v Newcastle NSW Cup Preliminary Final

Leichhardt Oval, Balmain,

New South Wales

by Jodie Newell

The Windsor Wolves continue to fly under the radar as their list of achievements grew again on Sunday after they defeated the Newcastle Knights 36-32 and advanced to the VB NSW Cup Grand Final to face the Cronulla Sharks.

Having earlier snared a top four finals berth and then posting a shock defeat against the minor premiers in the Cronulla Sharks at Shark Park and in a finals context, makes the achievements of the boys from Windsor all the more impressive.

For Newcastle it was a bitter end to season 2013, as they looked to reverse the heartbreak of last year. Unfortunately for the Knights they lacked the finish when it mattered.

The great strength of the NSW Cup is the opportunity to see first grade players in action and this fixture was no exception  Newcastle featured first graders in Timana Tahu, Korbin Sims, Anthony Quinn, Zane Tetavano and Josh Mantellato. Whilst for Windsor they had Penrith first graders in Wes Naiqama, Matt Moylan, Sam Anderson,Travis Robinson, Cameron Ciraldo and Nathan Smith decked out in the green and wattle colours.

“They've worked hard for it, I’m sure they deserve to be there”

- Windsor Wolves coach Guy Missio

There weren't too many signs of finals nerves as both sides settled down quickly to their opening sets, each team lightly probing defensive lines and getting into the rhythm of the game.

The first side to blink were Windsor, as Newcastle put the first points on the board courtesy of an enterprising Chanel Mata’utia who took on the Wolves defensive line and scored a try. Josh Mantellato was left with a difficult conversion attempt and was unsuccessful. Knights up 4-0.

Windsor were not rattled and responded quickly when Blake Austin scored an opportunistic try under the posts. It was a soda in degrees of difficulty for Wes Naiqama and the Wolves moved out to the lead 6-4.

Newcastle quickly responded with a try. The Knights kept attacking to their the left as they headed toward the city end of Leichhardt Oval.Timana Tahu and Chanel Mata’utia combined beautifully to set up Korbin Sims who found a way though and the Knights regained the lead. Mantellato made no mistake with the conversion, Knights up 10-6.

Windsor remained focussed as they took up the attack to the Knights. Josh Mantellato was involved in a play he would dearly love to forget when on a fifth tackle high bomb kick, the tall Mantellato looked to have the ball covered. Enter Windsor’s Eto Nabuli who decided to play the Ali Baba card. Nabuli literally stole the ball right out of his opponents hand as he leapt for the ball, gathering it then slamming it into the turf and the Wolves were back in business. Naiqama made no mistake on the extras, Windsor 12-10.

Incredibly Windsor would have another try right on the half-time siren. Geoff Daniela scythed his way though a tiring Knights defence. The conversion was an easy one as the Wolves put the Knights on the back foot heading into the sheds leading 18-10

It was vital that Newcastle start the half on a positive note for it to remain in the game. It did that thanks to a try from the big Knights unit in Siuatonga Likiliki. Mantellato didn't have his kicking boots on as he missed the conversion 18-14.

Windsor were unfazed by the the Knights challenge and quickly answered the Likiliki try. Travis Robinson used his pace to breakaway from the Newcastle line and was over the try line. Naiqama gained the extras, Windsor 24-14.

To Newcastle’s credit they refused to give in and had another try on the board thanks to Peter Mata’utia who capitalised on a dropped ball by Windsor in excellent field position. Josh Mantellato had to make the conversion and he didn't let his team down. The game was becoming a real arm wrestle Windsor still leading 24-20.

Windsor would again answer the Knights challenge via a Blake Austin try. Thanks to some poor ball handling by the Knights, Austin grabbed his second try for the match. it was capped off by a superb conversion kick from Wes Naiqama. Wolves up 30-20

Travis Robinson would become another Windsor player to score a second try. This time he found his way over thanks to some fast play-at the ball. It was the clutch play that would make it extremely difficult for Newcastle to win. The Naiqama conversion good, Wolves 36-20.

Newcastle were able to re-gather the ball on the restart and posted points thanks to Peter Mata’utia who also scored his second try of the game. A superb kick from Josh Mantellato kept the Knights faint hopes alive with minutes remaining 34-26

The Knights would post another try right on the final siren from Zane Tetevano with a Adrian Davis conversion. The Knights had fought gamely, but did not have the answers to the worthy grand finalists in Windsor. FInal score 36-32.

A delighted Windsor Wolves coach in Guy Missio told NMG Sports it was a fitting reward for his hardworking charges “They've worked hard for it, I’m sure they deserve to be there”

Windsor go on to Sunday’s day of rugby league days when they face the minor premiers the Cronulla Sharks at Homebush Stadium

Final score:  Windsor Wolves 36 defeated Newcastle Knights 32

Tries Wolves: B Austin 2, T Robinson 2, G Daniela, E Nabuli

Tries Knights: P Matautia 2, S Likiliki, K Sims, Z Tetevano, C Matautia

Conversions Wolves:  W Naiqama 6

Conversions Knights: J Mantellato 3, A Davis

Referee: Zbigniew Przeklasa-Adamski

Touch Judges :  Jay Farlow   Nathan Smith

At Leichhardt Oval, Balmain

Crowd (estimate): 3500+

VB NSW Cup 2013 Preliminary Final

It was a real arm-wrestle of game with Windsor just having that little bit extra to beat a determined Knights team

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

Action from the VB NSW Cup Preliminary Final played between Newcastle & Windsor

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

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Image: NewellMediaGroup



Cronulla ruthlessly dispatch disappointing Bears

September 2013

North Sydney Bears v Cronulla Sharks NSW Cup Preliminary Final

Leichhardt Oval, Balmain,

New South Wales

by Jodie Newell

Any speculation that the Cronulla Sharks were a regular season wonder is well and truly over after they savagely dispatched the North Sydney Bears 38-6 in the second preliminary final in the VB NSW Cup competition.

Cronulla answered the disbelievers with a rugby league clinic never letting their opponents into the game at any stage.

The Sharks move on to play their finals nemesis in Windsor in next week’s grand final at Homebush Stadium.

For Norths the ending of season 2013 was a total shock as there were high expectations they would to go all the way. Armed with many South Sydney Rabbitohs first graders, they looked lethargic and typical of a side out of rhythm courtesy of the week’s break.

North Sydney came to this match filled with South Sydney Rabbitoh talent. Justin Hunt, Matt King, Luke Keary, Nathan Peats, Andrew Everingham and Tom Burgess. The Sharks also had plenty of NRL experience with Chad Townsend returning after playing for the senior squad in their finals loss to Manly. Tyrone Peachey, Stewart Mills, Nathan Stapleton, Mark Taufua and Melbourne Storm players in Junior Moors and  Siosaia Vave had the Sharks playing stocks well equipped.

“We played some good footy and we knew the job was half done. We knew for the first 10 minutes in the 2nd half they’d come at us with everything.

We had to starve them of possession and I think we did that”

- Cronulla Sharks coach Tony Herman

The Sharks were the first to post points thanks to a try from Stewart Mills. Worryingly for the Bears, the enforcer in

Tom Burgess was injured during the play. With no malice in the incident, it appeared that Burgess copped a heavy knock in a tackle sequence and had to be carried from the ground suffering a concussion. (Burgess would not return for the game. Later, thankfully, Burgess would be OK and on Tuesday attended the Daily M Awards ceremony in Sydney)

The Burgess injury was a major blow to the Bears game plan and Cronulla made sure it exploited the opportunity.After the Mills try, Chad Townsend missed an absolute soda of a conversion attempt. Sharkies in front 4-0.

The boys from Cronulla kept up the pressure and were soon over the try line again. This time Pat Politoni scored and amazingly Chad Townsend missed another easy chance. Sharks 8-0.

To Norths credit they tried to get back into the game. Curtis Johnston, Justin Hunt and Matt King applied offensive pressure and forced the Sharks into several handling errors and penalties. But as they say in the classics, you have to make the most of your opportunities and the Bears were unable to post any scoreboard pressure.

Cronulla full back Nathan Gardener was superb and did what any good player in his position should do and that is stop an attack on the last lines. Grim defence by the Sharks held out the Bears.

Cronulla made good use of its defensive stance and were able to move out and post more points. Stewart Mills on a fifth tackle play, deftly chipped kicked, chased and slammed the ball into the Leichhardt turf.This time Chad Townsend made the conversion, albeit on a more difficult angle. Cronulla 14-0.

Chad Townsend would be the next try scorer for the Sharks when he took on a brittle Bears defence. He managed to break through after receiving a slick pass from Krisome Auva’a and was able to score. He easily converted and with the second half coming to a close, Cronulla had a firm grip on the game 20-0.

In the second half the Sharks began where they left off, as they continually applied attacking pressure to Norths. Nathan Gardener decided to try his luck against the Bears defence and came up trumps by scoring a try. Townsend missed the extras, but the scoreline was looking grim for North Sydney 24-0.

Nothing was going right for North Sydney who were unable to apply any pressure on Cronulla. With under 15 minutes remaining, a penalty was awarded to Cronulla and Chad Townsend decided to go for the 2 points to increase their lead to 4 tries and eat up vital seconds from the clock in the process. Sharks 26-0.

Shortly after the last try, Penani Manumelealii of Cronulla decided to join the scoring frenzy and punched through a try. Townsend’s kick was good. Cronulla 32-0.

To rub salt into the Bears wound, Cronulla would have another try.This time Stewart Mills weaved his way through a Norths defence that was uncharacteristically soft. Chad Townsend converted and Cronulla were heading to a grand final. 38-0.

To their credit, North Sydney were able to deny the Sharks a clean defensive sheet and scored a try. Bears Skipper Darren Nicholls finally landed the ball over the tryline but it was all too late. Apisai Koroisau made the extras but the final score was Cronulla a convincing 38-6 winner over North Sydney.

The Sharks will face Windsor in the grand final next week at Homebush. It should be a beauty with the Wolves defeating Cronulla in a previous finals game. For Norths it was a sad end to the season. They also farewelled Matt King who said goodbye to the game of rugby league in Australia. Appropriately he was given a guard of honour by his team-mates led by another retiree in Michael Crocker. The Cronulla Sharks showed excellent sportsmanship by joining and applauding Matt as he left the playing field for the last time. It was pure class shown by both teams.

Final score:  Cronulla Sharks 38 defeated North Sydney Bears 6

Tries Sharks: S Mills 3, N Gardner, C Townsend, P Politoni, P Manumalealii

Tries Bears: D Nicholls

Conversions Sharks:  C Townsend 5

Conversions Bears: A Koroisau

Referee: Lawrence McDonald

Touch Judges :  John Woods  Jimmy Oliveira

At Leichhardt Oval, Balmain

Crowd (estimate): 3500+



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Image: NewellMediaGroup

Matt King (with ball) of the North Sydney Bears runs hard at the outstretched arms of Cronulla’s David Fifita

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

Rugby League retirees Mick Crocker (blue shirt) of the Sydney Rabbitohs / North Sydney Bears gives fellow team mate Matt King a “bear hug”

after the Bears v Sharks preliminary final

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup