The Wentworthville Magpies Intrust Super Premiership NSW side have played out a 12-12 draw against the North Sydney Bears at Ringrose Park last night in their first preseason trial ahead of the 2018 season.
The Magpies side featured a handful of the Parramatta Eels squad including David Gower, Suaia Matagi, Peni Terepo, Nathan Davis, George Jennings, Dane Aukafolau, Marata Niukore and development players Ray Stone and Reed Mahoney and the home side looked to play a real aggressive style of football early.
A traditional softening up period from both sides kicked off the clash before an error gifted the Bears a try scoring opportunity. A simple overlap down their ledge edge caught the Magpies short with the Bears winger crossing in the corner for a converted try to give the away side a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes.
The second quarter saw forwards David Gower and Marata Niukore begin to make their mark on the game, with some bulldozing runs and metres through the middle.
Off the back of strong charges from fellow teammates Nathan Davis and Dane Aukafolau, hooker Reed Mahoney darted from dummy half close to the line to split the markers and score to next to the points.
Mahoney converted his own try to lock the scores up in the 29th minute.
The final ten minutes of the first half saw further damaging runs from Terepo and Stone, but a lack of finishing touches saw the Magpies unable to convert their possession before the half time siren rang.
The second half resumed and with Terepo and Matagi not featuring, a handful of fresh new Magpies forwards were given the task of controlling the middle. A couple of clean breaks from both sides backlines was the highlight of the third quarter but neither side was able to convert their possession into points.
Gower, Davis, Jennings, Aukafolau, Niukore, Stone and Mahoney were all interchanged in the 50th minute of the clash.
The final fourth quarter kicked off with the Magpies playing some enterprising play and after a string of ruck penalties, the Magpies took their lead for the first time in the clash with the right winger stepping back on the inside to dive over out wide.
A converted try in the 65th minute.
However, as the game progressed, the Bears seemed to click into gear but it was matched by the intensity and determination of the Magpies.
Several sets of scrambling defence from the home side helped control their lead but a skilful long, cut out pass close to the line found the Bears planting it in the corner.
The try was converted from the sidelines, levelling the game with just two minutes of play remaining.
Opportunities to take a shot at goal via a penalty from the Magpies was turned down and after some attacking play and desperate defence, the fulltime siren rang with the scores still 12 a piece.