North Sydney Bears Vs Wentworthville Magpies
North Sydney Oval, Sunday, April 27
Referee: Phil Henderson
By Shane Brien
Round 8: The Wentworthville Magpies continued their winning ways, outlasting North Sydney 20-16 in testing conditions at North Sydney Oval.
Despite the hosts scoring four tries to three as well as welcoming experienced winger Nathan Merritt back into the fold, it was the boot of Magpies halfback Luke Kelly which eventually saw the visitors scrape home.
A Ben Lowe kick charge down gave the Bears early field territory and they seized the opportunity with a diving Lote Tuqiri touching down in the corner to open up the scoring.
With conditions worsening, the game become a real grind as both teams struggled to mount and consistent pressure on the oppositions defence. That was until Liam Foran found Api Pewhairangi who in turn found Bureta Faraimo for the Magpies first try of the game. What turned out to be a vital sideline conversion, Kelly nudged Wenty ahead 6-4 and that is what it remained as both teams went to halftime.
As the first half started, the Bears had first opportunity to post points in the second and following a superb offload from prop Nat Neale to Tuqiri the home teams found themselves in a dangerous attacking position. A few plays later, experience shone through when a Nathan Merritt pass sent winger Mark O’Dare in for their second try of the contest.
Norths were leading 8-6 after 49 minutes when they lost Ben Lowe to the sin bin following a scuffle.
This lack of discipline proved costly as the Magpies were able to cross twice first through a strong run from Isaac Maliota who carried several defenders with him across the line and secondly through Api Pewhairangi. All of a sudden the Magpies held an 18-8 lead.
The Bears weren’t done with yet though and on the hour, Blake South sent Matt Hyland through a hole who in turn found O’Dare backing up for his second try of the game.
Luke Kelly continued his recent good form with the boot slotting a penalty to extent the Magpies lead to eight but with just five minutes remaining on the clock; Mark O’Dare claimed his third try of the game following a superbly weighted grubber from South Sydney Rabbitohs favourite, Nathan Merritt.
The Bears almost snatched victory late in the game but they failed to capitalize on good field position and from that, Wentworthville were able to hang on to record a gritty 20-16 win.
This weekend Wentworthville host the Knights on Sunday at 3pm.
Wentworthville Magpies 20 (A Pewhairangi, I Maliota, B Faraimo tries; L Kelly 4 goals) def. North Sydney Bears 16 (M O’Dare 3, L Tuqiri tries) at North Sydney Oval.