Tom Skolarikis nswrl.com.au
The Wentworthville Magpies have taken the points at Belmore Sports Ground this evening, overcoming a determined Bulldogs outfit in a see-sawing affair by 18-12 in Round 7 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.
With the game locked up at 12 apiece late in proceedings, a late surge of adventurous passing would result in John Folau breaking the dead-lock in fine style with a long-range try — Wentworthville wrapping up the match and the two competition points despite the better efforts of the Canterbury side.
The Magpies would apply all the early pressure by testing the 'Dogs defence in successive sets on their own line with some energetic attack, and would eventually be rewarded for their efforts when five-eighth, Troy Dargan, threw a long cut-out pass to winger Bureta Faraimo, who crossed the line untouched to make the score 4-0 after 12 minutes.
Canterbury would hit back in a big way though just nine minutes later — the home side opting to attack the Wentworthville flanks in centre-field before kicking towards the uprights to find a flying Brad Abbey steaming through to score under the posts against the run of play. Rhys Martin converted to give Canterbury-Bankstown a 6-4 lead.
After a strong arm-wrestle, Wentworthville would again look to go on the attack with 15 minutes in the first stanza remaining when winger, Folau, broke through the Dogs defence out wide before looking for support on his outside, only to find the hand of Canterbury’s Reimis Smith — Smith knocking the ball dead to diffuse the opportunity.
Tempers began to flare at the 10-minute mark when Faraimo took exception to some extra attention in the ruck from the Canterbury defence — the referee taking the opportunity to warn both teams. While the advice was heeded, the Magpies would subsequently up their aggression levels, with some crunching tackles punctuating the closing stages of the first half.
But it would be the Bulldogs who would go to the sheds with a 6-4 lead.
On the resumption, the Magpies continued to look dangerous with the ball in hand by applying sustained pressure to the Canterbury line. But despite their determination and good field position, the visitors would come away empty handed.
The Bulldogs, by contrast, would have no such issues at the other end of the field though, when halfback Craig Garvey seized a final tackle opportunity to kick low and hard into a Wentworthville defender —the ball flying backwards off the chest of the Magpies defender before hitting the padding of the upright, allowing Abbey to again fly through to score his second try. Martin added the extras from right in front to take Canterbury’s lead to 12-4.
Wentworthville would hit back though in the 54th minute by slicing through Canterbury’s right-hand defence, eventually resulting in Cody Nelson touching down. Dargan added the extras to narrow the gap to two points at 12-10 in favour of the blue-and-whites.
A crucial mistake by the Bulldogs on their own line mid-way through the second half would give the Magpies a sniff in prime position, and when a penalty within kicking distance from the ensuing set went their way, Jamal Fogarty took no chances — opting to equalise proceedings at 12 apiece.
With five minutes remaining, Wentworthville turned on the flair in a desperate throw of the dice to steal the match when John Folau burst onto a short-ball on the 40 metre line before palming off two would-be attackers to take the lead. Fogarty made no mistake with the extras from right in front leaving the score at 18-12 to round out the match.
Wentworthville Magpies 18 (B Faraimo, C Nelson, J Folau, tries; J Fogarty 2, T Dargan 1 goals) def Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12 (B Abbey 2 tries; R Martin 2 goals)