Manly Sea Eagles VS Wentworthville Magpies
Brookvale Oval, Sunday, March 23
Referee: Jon Stone
By Shane Brien
Round 3 of the NSW Cup saw the Wentworthville Magpies defeat the Manly Sea Eagles 30-28 after halfback Chris Sandow converted a Ben Jones try after the fulltime siren.
The hosts were in search of their first win of 2014 but it was a Magpies outfit who continued their unbeaten start to the season with a narrow victory.
Manly coach Luke Williamson shifted the talented Clinton Gutherson from fullback to five eighth in search of a much needed spark and the rewards were there early when Gutherson putting in a deft grubber for winger Jayden Horo to score in the right hand corner.
It took until the 9th minute for a sluggish Magpies outfit to hit back with their own points when a long floating ball found Ken Sio who sidestepped his way over the line. A superb kick from the sideline saw the visitors in front by 2 points.
The Magpies only needed 3 more minutes to extend their lead when Sandow provided Joseph Ualesi a clear path to the line from close range, Sandow again converting from wide out and the slow start to the game was now a distant memory.
Sandow did it all himself in the18th minute, breaking through the defence from close range to score under the posts to extend the lead to 18-4.
After conceding 3 tries in quick succession the Sea Eagles needed to hit back and that’s exactly what they did through Jayden Hodges who scored from close to the line on the back of some flimsy Magpies defence.
Six minutes later the Sea Eagles were in again when the Tom Symonds, in his return match from injury, threw the last pass in a Manly attacking raid for Jayden Horo to score his second. Gutherson converted from out wide and the margin was back to two points and that’s what it remained until the half time break.
Both teams come out of the sheds looking to post first points but it was the Magpies who extended their lead when in the 58th minute Ben Jones dived over from close range. A successful Ken Sio conversion gave Wentworthville a 24-16 lead and, it appeared, the upper hand but it was game on when Manly hit back three minutes later through James Mirceskie.
With 13 minutes left, a lost ball by Wentworthville proved costly as it was scooped up by Manly. From broken play Jesse Sene-Lafao busted through the Magpies defence running 25 metres to score. A Gutherson conversion gave Manly the lead and within distance of an unlikely victory.
It wasn’t to be for the home team though when a desperate Magpies outfit looking to hold on to their unbeaten start to the season scored with just over a minute left on the clock.
Sandow took the ball first off the ruck on the fifth tackle and switched it back inside for Ben Jones to barge over from 10 metres out. Sandow looking to finish off what proved to be a superb display in the no.7 jersey converted after the siren to hand victory to the visitors 30-28.
Next week, the Magpies host the Penrith Panthers for their Round 4. That clash will kick off at 3pm so get down to Ringrose Park and support the team.
Wentworthville Magpies 30 (B Jones 2, K Sio, C Sandow, J Ualesi tries; C Sandow 3, K Sio 2 goals) def. Manly Sea Eagles 28 (J Horo 2, J Mirceskie, J Hodges, J Sene Lefao tries; C Gutherson 4 goals) at Brookvale Oval.