HALVES IN CONTROL: Mitch Cornish and Luke Kelly were fantastic in the Magpies 28-0 victory (Photo: Samantha Cooper)
Matt Buxton nswrl.com.au
The resurrection of the Wentworthville Magpies continued with a dominant 28-0 performance against the experienced Manly Sea Eagles.
Magpies’ halves, Luke Kelly and Mitch Cornish, immaculately steered the home side around, while Kelepi Tanginoa proved extremely hard to handle in the front row.
Despite dominating the field-position for the opening hour the contest, the Sea Eagles were constantly on the attack in the latter stages of the match, but the Magpies defence refused to budge.
After starting the match on top, the Magpies opted to attempt and convert their third penalty of the match into two points, however, Cornish missed to the right.
In what is an extremely unfortunate circumstance, Tim Moltzen hit the ground 13 minutes into the game and came off with yet another injury, this time his elbow.
Shortly after, the Magpies performed an exciting passage of play, however, despite the entertainment, it was not awarded. A pin-point Kelly banana kick found Bureta Faraimo, before he threw an impossible flick pass to Vai Toutai, who optimistically dived for the corner, but stepped out in the process.
The 0-0 deadlock was finally broken in the 25th minute when Luke Kelly held a ball up beautifully for Daniel Alvaro to burst through a gap and score. It was a fantastic pass and despite only the one try, the halves pairing for Wenty were already showing incredibly positive signs.
Both sides were fighting hard, but it was the Magpies who had the field-position advantage throughout the entire first half.
Two minutes out from halftime, the Magpies extended their lead to 12-0 when Tanginoa threw a fantastic offload at a difficult angle for his centre, John Folau, to muscle his way over the try-line.
Kelly’s on-song kicking game continued early into the second half, when he perfectly chipped a ball for Faraimo to re-gather, muscle his way through various defenders and plant the ball down and increase their lead to 16.
A scrappy piece of play from the Magpies led to a try in the 53rd minute, when Tanginoa threw an offload that found the turf, before Honeti Tuha picked it up, skipped sideways, straightened and went straight through the Sea Eagles defence to score.
The Sea Eagles began to throw everything at the Magpies, having continuous sets on the attack to no avail.
John Folau forced an error with a ground-shaking hit, but despite the newly found field-position, errors cost the Sea Eagles any chance at building pressure.
In what seemed like an age, the Magpies finally emerged out of their half, only to be awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Cornish made no mistake this time, increasing the Magpies lead to 24-0.
To add insult to injury, Magpies captain Cody Nelson broke through the Manly defence off the following set and scored a run-away try to finish the match.