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  1. BulletAs mentioned in our report it was an entertaining day’s rugby league at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday. In the SG Ball curtain raiser, the young talent on display was outstanding. The Parramatta team, urged on by passionate family and friends in the stands, the Eels roared back at the Balmain side. They even hit the front with less than a minute remaining, only to see the Tigers snatch victory on a terrible dropped ball error from Parra on the restart. Eels winger Tui Oloapu was the standout. This kid has plenty of speed and evasive ability. Definitely one to pencil in for future reference.

  1. BulletOne bloke who was on hand to see both games was Parramatta Eels coach Ricky Stuart. He would have been impressed with his club’s SG Ball team. Got to hand it to Stuart, he was there early to see both Parramatta related clubs play. Some coaches may have chosen to hear from a team scout or enjoy the Easter break before a big game. Not Ricky Stuart who were are told is keen to impress and change the club culture at Parramatta. Tim Mannah was also on hand to lend his support to the Wenty boys.

Wests Tigers hang on to beat comp leaders Wenty

March 2013

Leichhardt Oval, Balmain,

New South Wales

by Jodie Newell

For the rugby league aficionado you could not wish to be anywhere else other than at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday afternoon which saw two exciting and entertaining games.

The SG Ball curtain raiser between Balmain and Parramatta was extraordinary. Down 12 points with little time left, the Eels incredibly found themselves ahead with a succession of roaring tries and a dramatic field goal. With 30 seconds left, a Parra error saw Balmain regain the lead and clutch the match. Similarly, the VB NSW Cup game was another enthralling encounter between the unbeaten Wentworthville Magpies and Wests Tigers.

In previous weeks Wenty have been slow to get into rhythm but coach Brett Cook had his team up and running in the first 15 minutes. This was clearly illustrated by a smart heads-up play from Wenty’s Kenny Edwards who brilliantly charged down the ball on a Wests fifth tackle kick, gathering the rebound and running a good 60 metres downfield before handing off to Magpies skipper Api Pewhairangi who scored the first try. Jake Mullaney conversion was well taken and the Pies had the lead 6-0.

Wests Tigers who had posted their first win last week against Manly and were looking to continue their good form, were not about to be intimidated by the comp leaders. The big unit of Taqele Naiyaravoro told the Wenty defence to get out of his way as he powered over the line for the reply try. Sean Meaney booted the extras and the game was tied up at 6-6. 

The best description of the first half could be described as an even tussle, with Wenty having the slightest of edges thanks in no small part to the creative play of Wenty full back Jake Mullaney. Mullaney set up teammate Brayden Willame who passed to the left outside winger in Semi Radradra who scored a try at the Keith Barnes stand end. Millenary capped off his excellent work with a superb conversion. The entertaining first half ended at 12-6 in favour of Wentworthville.

The Tigers began the second half with more purpose and vigour and there was a sense that they would soon pry apart the Wentworthville defence. A try came soon enough when Sitaleki Akauolo scored out wide. Meaney was unable to convert a difficult chance 12-10 Wenty.

Wests Tigers kept up their intensity with surging runs from Tim Simona and Matt Utai. Taqele Naiyaravoro capped off the superb play with his second try of the game. Meaney’s conversion again missed, but importantly Wests had the lead at 14-12.

On the return set, Wests Tigers cashed in on a superb forty-twenty kick which saw Tim Simona score a try. Shaun Meaney did not have his kicking boots on and was suffering from a condition that only occurs at Leichhardt Oval known as “lolly legs” syndrome. 18-12 in favour of Wests Tigers.

Wentworthville were becoming frustrated, giving away silly penalties and were remonstrating with referee Daniel Olford. a sure sign their game plan was simply not working.

The usually safe hands of Wenty hooker Dean Parata were not present as he gifted good field position via a fumble to Wests. Joe Luani made perfect use of the error scoring right under the posts. This time Sean Meaney made no mistake and the game was fading away from Wenty, 24-12 in favour of Wests Tigers.

Wentworthville to their credit, worked themselves back into the game. Thanks to a much needed penalty, Wenty scored on the back of good field position with Matthew Eisenuth getting the try and Mullaney converting. 24-18 Tigers

Despite making some crucial errors, the class of Dean Parata shone through, when he was able to gain a fresh set of six tackles. Jake Mullaney made a dashing line break before handing off to Cheyse Blair who scored under the posts. After the Mullaney conversion, incredibly the Wenty Magpies were on even terms 24-24 with minutes to go.

One thing that did not disappear from Wentworthville was their on-field frustration. It came to a head when Peni Terepo was sent off the field for dissent. This gave Sean Meaney of the Tigers, a mid field shot at the posts. It was a calculated gamble, but his kick was true and the Tigers regained the lead 26-24.

Another Wenty player was sent off in the final seconds and it summed up a pretty frustrating day for the Magpies. For the Wests Tigers it was a continuation of good form. They simply outplayed their opponents on the field and inside the mind. It was an excellent effort from the boys from Balmain and Campbelltown.

Josh Davis of Wests Tigers (right) & Wenty's Jarome MacKenzie wrestle for the ball

image: 2013 NewellMediaGroup

Final score:  Wests Tigers 26 defeated Wentworthville Magpies 24

Tries : Wests T Naiyaravoro 2, T Simona, J Luani, S Akauolo

Tries : Magpies: C Blair, S Radradra, A Pewhairangi, M Eisenhuth

Conversions : Wests  S Meaney 2

Conversions: Magpies : J Mullaney 4

Penalties: Wests  S Meaney 1

Referee: Daniel Olford

Touch Judges :  Richard Daizli   Peter Sciberras

At Leichhardt Oval

  1. BulletAnother coach that continues to impress is Wentworthville Magpies leader Brett Cook. Managed to have a chat with him in the race prior to Saturday’s game. We asked him about his short first grade career at Souths in 1990 in which he played 3 games. He told us about Mario Fenech who was no fool according to Cook. Brett told us Mario was an excellent clubman for the Bunnies who weren't a bad team during those days.

  1. BulletWas funny listening to 2GB’s Continuous Call team on the way to the ground. The boys made mention of Tigers legend Paul Sironen and how he and his extended family had rocked up to former team mates house Steve Blocker Roach and hopped into the food and made themselves feel right at home. Spotted Siro at Leichhardt, whilst we didn't pass on the reports from the Continuous Call team, the thing that strikes you about Siro is just how tall and big the bloke still is. He surely must have a huge appetite to keep Steve Roach’s food pantry dangerously low!

  1. BulletThe autumn weather is just perfect at the moment in Sydney.Not too hot, not too humid, no too cold. A welcome break from the very late summer we had in March.

  1. BulletWith Wests Tigers first grade side down on form the answer for a second rower could be found with the big unit of Taqele Naiyaravoro. He scored a double in tries. One of those was just an outstanding display of strength and power as he bundled the Wenty defence out of the way. Has the speed and presence to cause many a defender a headache, surely Wests Tigers coach Mick Potter will be thinking about including him in the first grade squad.