The Wentworthville Magpies have lost to Mounties 24-16 in a top-of-the-table clash at Pirtek Stadium on Saturday, with a late flurry of points from the home side not enough to pull off a comeback victory.
The second-placed Mounties were aggressive from the outset against a reshuffled Wenty side, including captain Cody Nelson moved into the number six jersey to replace Luke Kelly, who sustained an ACL injury in Round 5 that will rule him out for the rest of the 2016 season.
The visitors were first on the board in the fourth minute of this top of the table clash after the Mounties lost possession from a strip. Mounties started their set 30 metres out and crossed in the corner through Kato Otto, taking the lead 4-0.
Mounties were in again in the 11th minute as fullback Zach Santo set up his winger Kato Ottio for his second try of the afternoon. The conversion from Sam Williams was unsuccessful as the Mounties extended their lead 8-0.
The Magpies struggled to build any pressure as the Mounties kept them busy in defence.
Wenty’s try line defence couldn’t hold the opposition out as Rhys Kennedy offloaded five metres out to set up his captain Glen Buttriss for his first try of the afternoon. A successful conversion from Williams saw the visitors further extend their lead 14-0 after 20 minutes.
Sam Williams kicked a 40/20 22 minutes into the half as the Mounties continued to look dangerous in attack. However, strong defence from the Magpies forced an error from the visitors.
David Gower made a strong break up the field before offloading to Kaysa Pritchard as the Magpies found themselves in a good attacking position. Even with back-to-back sets they were unable to convert the pressure into points.
The Magpies continued to build pressure and after some back to back sets and a penalty they looked certain to find the line. Their first points for the Magpies came through Kaysa Pritchard who saw an opening from dummy half and weaved his way to the try line. The conversion was unsuccessful from Mitch Cornish as the Magpies trailed 14-4 at the break.
Mounties started the second half strong, as Santo made a break through Wenty’s defence before setting up Sisa Waqa who found his way to the line. The conversion was unsuccessful as Mounties took their lead out to 12 points after 43 minutes.
Errors became more prominent in the second half as both sides struggled to find the line.
Wenty were the next to score as Vai Toutai set up his winger Bureta Faraimo who crossed in the corner. Mitch Cornish added the two as the Magpies closed the gap, trailing 18-10.
Momentum started to swing to the home side as the Magpies began to look sharp in attack. Kieren Moss found the line soon after and with another successful conversion as the Magpies had closed the margin to only two points with just over 15 minutes remaining.
Just as the Magpies seemed to have control of the game, the Mounties had a strong attacking set which saw Lachlan Croker cross for a try. Another missed conversion saw the visitors ahead 22-16 in the 67th minute.
Mounties continued to look threatening in attack and after receiving a penalty 10 metres out, they chose to add the extra two to take their lead to 8 in the 72nd minute.
With minutes remaining the Magpies were able to weave through a broken field of defence as they looked to score points to stay in the game, however they were unable to convert the pressure into points.
With Mounties securing their fifth win of the season, their position has solidified as early favourites for the Instrust Super Premiership NSW.
Mounties - 24 - (Ottio 2, Buttriss, Waqa. Croker Conversions: Williams 1/5. Penalty Goal: Williams 1/1.)
Wentworthville Magpies - 16 (Pritchard, Faraimo, Moss. Conversions: Cornish 2/3)