Matt Buxton nswrl.com.au
2015 Wooden Spooners, Wentworthville Magpies, put on a clinic at Ringrose Park, beating last year’s Grand Finalists Wyong Roos 28-18.
Magpies new recruit Mitch Cornish was outstanding in his club debut, while right-side winger Bureta Faraimo was extremely impressive.
The northern sprinklers located just outside the dead-ball line made an untimely appearance just minutes into the match; something Magpies new recruit Honeti Tuha may use as an excuse when he got tackled into touch in the act of scoring with his first touch of the ball in black and white.
Cornish stamped his authority into the match in the ninth minute when he threw an outstanding face-ball to put John Folau through a hole. There was no stopping the massive centre, who only had to run around Omar Slaimankhel to take the lead.
The sprinklers turned from a small hindrance to a major issue in the 12th minute, when three of across the northern 10 metre line turned on, causing a 10 minute break in play.
The break did not halt the Magpies momentum, as just a few tackles into the first set, Zack Nichols charged at the Roos defence and turned a ball into his captain, Cody Nelson, to crash over.
Ill-disciplined Magpies play did not allow them to get out of their half for a period of time. This included Tuha being penalised with the ball after he walked off the mark and pushed Mitch Williams to the ground, followed by a David Gower knock on just minutes later while bringing the ball out of trouble.
The Roos capitalised on the gifted field position when a Joey Lussick long-ball allowed Brendan Elliott run up the left edge of the field and pass for an un-marked Dominic Reardon to cross the line.
An incredible left-to-right shift created an overlap for the Magpies in the 30th minute, which allowed rising-star Faraimo to sprint down the right sideline and finish in the corner to increase the lead to 14-6, the halftime score.
The start of the second half was disastrous for both teams, with the spectators at Ringrose Park witnessing five errors in as many minutes.
Some excellent play from Williams set up Carne Doyle-Manga to score under the posts, before an opportunity to lock the scores up was blown by Lussick after a missed penalty goal.
Cornish began to take control of the game soon after, forcing a dropout before throwing an outstanding ball for Vai Toutai to crash over and increase the lead to 20-12.
The Magpies took advantage of a gift two points when in range, before an incredible solo effort by Kelepi Tanginoa sealed the victory for the black and white.
The Roos scored a consolation try at the end of the match, meaning the Magpies opened their season with a 28-18 victory.