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Windsor return to form against Magpies

August 12 2012

by Jodie Newell

The Windsor Wolves have made a timely return to form thanks to a solid 52-point victory over the Wests Magpies at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday. With the pointy end of the season fast approaching, the victory goes a long way in helping Windsor finish in the top four. For Wests it was their 22nd loss of the season and they remain anchored at the bottom of the table.

With the playing surface in superb condition and a strong southerly breeze blowing, Wests ran with the wind in the first half.

It would be interesting to see how former Magpie hooker Dean Parata would shape up against his old side, whilst Wests would be without hard working front-rower Sefa Silafau.

Wests started well, with NIgel Millgate providing crisp feed to team-mates in Latu Fifita and Trent Touma. Amanono Tovio capitalized on a Windsor error and was first across the try line for the Magpies. Touma was unable to convert, but Wests had begun the game in excellent fashion, leading 4-0.

One of the recurring themes expressed by coaches of all the NSW VB Cup teams this season, has been the importance of ball handling. Wests gave up their hard earned lead via a costly handling error, with Matt Mundine busting through the Wests defense to open the account for the Wolves. He successfully converted and the lead was now Windor’s at 6-4.

In what was probably the turning point of the game, in the following return kick, Wests booted the ball deep. Aided by the powerful breeze, the ball was heading for a 50 metre restart when a Windsor player positioned himself with one foot outside and one foot inside the line of play. It appeared as if the player had juggled and lost the ball, but referee Phil Henderson deemed the ball long and Windsor were at the 50. They quickly made short work of it via a Dean Parata try. Mundine added the extras and now led 12-4.

This play seemed to knock the confidence out of the Wests side who struggled to hold out a surging Windsor team. Another try was shortly on the board when Mitch Achurch burst through the Magpies lines. Matt Mundine made no mistake 18-4 to Windsor.

With Wests seemingly frustrated, a few “spot fires” broke out amongst the players, but to both sides and the referees credit, they were quickly stemmed and tempers were cooled.

The Magpies had several chances to get back in the game, but were unable to capitalize and left the field at half time, behind 14 points.

The question in most people’s minds at the break was could Wests get back into the game. Unfortunately it would be answered in the negative when Windsor stepped up a gear and opened the half with a try thanks to NRL Penrith Panthers player Junior Vai Vai. Mundine converted and the gap was now out to 20 points.

To the credit of the West Magpies, they kept working at getting back into the game. An opportunistic snaffle by Zoram Watene saw him break through the Windsor defense and dash toward the tryline. He was brought down by Junior Vai Vai who held on to Watene for what seemed an eternity. Referee Phil Henderson had seen enough and judged the tactic as a professional foul and sent Vai Vai to the sin bin. The Maggies quickly cashed in on the extra man scenario with Zoram Watene capping off a series of stunning plays with a try. Amanono Tovio had the lolly leg syndrome and was unable to convert, but Wests had a slight glimmer of hope reducing the Wolves lead to 16 points.

Unfortunately for Wests, Windsor stepped up a gear and their scoring class began to rise. Even though they were a man down they were able to score tries from Krys Freeman (twice), Travis Robinson (twice), Malakai Watenen and Matt Mundine.

Mundine in particular was superb booting 10 from 10 in conversions. Windsor definitely ran out the game as a top four side should, whilst Wests struggled after the points began to flow against them.

Wolves coach Guy Missio was happy with his team’s effort “We started to work on the things we weren't doing in the first half and are happy with the win”.

With three rounds remaining Windsor face Newtown next week at home, Cronulla away and Illawarra away. West Magpies venture to Newcastle then play the Mounties at home before finishing the season away to Balmain.

Final score:  Windsor Wolves 60 defeated Wests Magpies 8

Tries Wolves: K Freeman 2, T Robinson 2, M Mundine 2, J Vaivai, D Parata, M Achurch, M Watene Zelezniak

Tries Wests : A Tovio, Z Watene

Conversions Wolves: M Mundine 10peis

Conversions Wests : -

Referee: Phil Henderson

Touch Judges :  Peter Crombie-Brown, Jimmy Oliveira

Some Observations on Saturday:

  1. BulletSince the Olympics are on, it’s apt to yet again quote Baron Pierre de Coubertin immortal words : “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle, the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well” These words surely can be applied to the Wests Magpies who continually show up to play even though they haven't won a game this season. It definitely must be a struggle for this group of players, coaching staff and club officials to front up each week knowing they are up against it, yet they continue to do. It’s been a revelation to observe them, their guts and character. They were warming up on the adjacent athletics track, going through the pre-game motions. Approaching the game competitively. You can a learn a lot about sport from the opposite of victory.

  1. BulletThe pies at Wests canteen definitely rate a 10/10. Homemade style, nice crust capped off with sauce. Plus great coffee, perfect for a cold winter’s day at Campbelltown.

  1. BulletCampbelltown Stadium. It’s a great little stadium and the playing surface outstanding. Full marks to the curator out there. Smart media facilities, great view of the playing area.

  1. BulletThe community radio stations that cover the VB NSW Cup games do a great job. Yesterday Hawkesbury Radio 89.9FM covered the game and put in a great call. Our favorites though have to be Triple H with Alby Talarico, the Sultan of the sideline Tony Dosen and co. Their call of the exciting Bears v Jets tie on Friday night was great radio. They have a deep love of Rugby League and add colour to the healthy VB NSW Cup competition.

  1. BulletConsider the following two formation photos. Firstly the Wests attack. On several occasions, hooker Nigel Millgate moved to the short side in an attempt to break through the Windsor defense. Unfortunately the Wolves were too strong at the back, keeping the Magpies down to just two tries.

The Windsor attack bunched up in the middle and were pretty solid, breaking through Wests defensive lines on several occasions. As mentioned in our report the Magpies sorely missed big man Sefa Silafau who was out due to injury. Windsor’s Matt Mundine told us after the game that he was trying to improve his running game towards the opposition’s lines. Mundine scored two tries and was deadly accurate booting 10 from 10.

Former team-mate and now Windsor Wolve Dean Parata (left) is pursued by Latu Fifita

image © 2012 NewellMediaGroup

Nigel Millgate moves to the blind side in an attempt to break through the Windsor defense

image © 2012 NewellMediaGroup

Windsor hooker Dean Pareta had a more bunched attack at his disposal. The bigger Wolves attack were able to burst through the Wests defense

image © 2012 NewellMediaGroup