The Wentworthville Magpies have defeated the Wests Tigers in their first NSW Cup trial match of 2015 on Friday (6 February 2015) at Kirkham Oval, Camden.
The Magpies fielded a strong side featuring thirteen Blue and Gold squad, members including new recruits Danny Wicks, Cody Nelson, Adam Quinlan and Ben Crooks.
“I am quite happy with the start to the season," said Wentworthville Magpies head coach Brett Cook.
"They have worked hard during the off-season and they were eager to get out there and play some footy and I thought they went well for their first up hit out."
“Danny Wicks was good. He would have been nervous about that first run but he didn’t really miss a beat. He worked hard in defence and got what he wanted to get out of it. He played for about 17 minutes and that was a good first up effort for him."
The match opened with a traditional softening up period as the energetic Magpies forwards looked to dominate the Wests Tigers pack, and after a wealth of possession, Englishman and new Eels recruit Ben Crooks was first to cross the white line off the back of a well-worked backline shift. The try was converted and after 18 minutes of the first half, the Magpies took a 6-0 lead.
“Ben Crooks hasn’t long been back to training from an injury, and he is new to the club, but he performed well,” said Cook.
The Magpies continued to mount pressure as the halves pairing of Zach Dockar-Clay and Ryan Matterson controlled the speed and tempo of the game, however as the half-time siren approached, a light footed Dockar-Clay found the defence grabbing at thin air as the lively number seven sliced through the Tigers defence.
The Magpies entered the half-time break with a controlling 10-0 lead.
Cook had encouraging words for the Magpies halves, who had been training with the NRL squad during the pre-season.
“They are learning all the time. They are training well and are listening and when they need to be fixing things, they have been going away and doing that,” he said.
Cook was also impressed by new recruit Adam Quinlan, who has joined the Blue and Gold recently.
“With Adam out the back, he is only new, but he is learning all the plays and he was just getting to know the guys and some of the structures," Cook said.
"He will fit in well with the more footy he plays and the more times he trains with the team."
The second half saw the Magpies take a fresh side onto the field and they continued the momentum from the first half. Tries to a charging backrower Zeb Tawha and then to winger Henry Raiwalui through a well-executed cut-out pass extended Wentworthville’s lead to 18-0 before the Wests Tigers troubled the scorers in the 58th minute.
“The second half team performed well as well. They have been training hard and I was looking forward to seeing them in a game situation. There is a mixture of guys that finished the year with us last year, and some new guys to the club, so I was looking forward to seeing how they fit in and they did well,” praised Cook.
With the match played in quarters, Wentworthville took control of the final 20 minutes of the match as they began to enforce their dominance. With possession and field position in their favour, halfback Jack Madden extended the lead before the Magpies crossed for another late try.
“Our halves, Jack Madden and Michael Stevens, are new to the club and they got the team around well in the second half and had a good kicking game which helped us as well,” Cook added.
As the fulltime siren rang, the Magpies claimed victory in their opening trial match, 26-4.
The Magpies will now turn their focus on to the next few weeks where they will focus on pre-season trials before the 2015 season begins.
“The NRL squad goes to the Alice Springs this week and some of the guys will play in that trial,” said Cook.
“For the Wenty contracted players, and some of the other players, we have a trial against Mounties and that will be a good test because they are a strong side and that’s what we need this time of year.”