Wests win battle of the Magpies
An assertive first half has seen Western Suburbs win the 'Battle of the Magpies' 44-4 against Wentworthville at ANZ Stadium. Josh Drinkwater continued his dominant start to the Intrust Super Premiership NSW season, while Mahe Fonua had another powerful game on the wing with two tries.
A low, crafty kick by Drinkwater had the ball sit up just short of the dead ball line. As the Wentworthville players tried to shadow the ball as it edged towards the line, Lucas Price managed to get around them and athletically win the race to the ball.
A double-pump from Drinkwater off the kick-off set put Chris McQueen through a hole for a long-range dash before being brought down. The ball was spread to the right on the next play and found its way into the hands of Tyson Gamble, who showed brilliant vision to put in a grubber in open space for David Nofoaluma to get their first and extend their lead to 10-0.
Wentworthville looked to post their first points when Nathan Milone strolled through with ease, but it was called back for an obstruction that opened the hole. To make matters worse, Wests scored off the very next set when Leighton Tali showed brutal strength to break the line before passing to Mahe Fonua who crashed over.
Nofoaluma returned the favour to Gamble shortly after when the five-eighth put a kick in that could not be handled by Milone, and the skillful winger cleaned up the scraps and threw a beautiful around-the-corner pass for a supporting Gamble to score.
To solidify their dominance going into the half-time break, Drinkwater put up a cross-field kick for Fonua to snatch out of the air and ground to extend their lead to 28-0.
Wentworthville had a better start to the second half and almost scored when Cameron King was held up, and finally troubled the scorekeeper when Nathan Davis took advantage of an overlap after a right-to-left shift.
The points didn't come as often for Western Suburbs in the second half, and it took 24 minutes before Watson Heleta danced through the Wentworthville line and scored a brilliant solo try.
A ridiculous flick pass from Fonua led to the next try, as he planted the ball on the check of Braden Robson who then stepped through a hole and ran away to score, before a freakish effort by Nofoaluma on the stroke of full-time pushed it out to 44-4.
Western Suburbs Magpies 44 (D Nofoaluma 2, M Fonua 2, L Price, T Gamble, W Heleta, B Robson tries; J Drinkwater 6 goals) def Wentworthville Magpies 4 (N Davis try)