The Wentworthville Magpies have held off a fast finishing Bulldogs outfit, inspired by a two-try performance from Rhyse Martin, to come away with a determined 24-22 victory at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday 24 March in Round Two of the Canterbury Cup.
Notching up their first win of the season, after a 22-12 defeat to the Panthers last week, the Magpies have come away with the two points after a double to wingers Damon Goolagong and Greg Leleisiauo, each crossing for two tries on either side of half time.
It wasn’t without a scare, with the Bulldogs scoring late through Martin and winger Hayden Okunbor, with the Dogs wittling down a 12 point lead to just two before the full time siren rang.
The Magpies dominated the early exchanges and controlled possession to earn themselves a twelve point lead after just 15 minutes with Goolagong crossing for two converted tries out wide, firstly finishing off a backline movement before leaping high for a cross field kick from halfback Henry Rawalui to score his second.
The Bulldogs stuck back in the 20th minute when Martin was the recipient of a short ball from Jack Cogger, hitting a hole to score out wide.
The game physicality lifted in the back end of the first half, with each side looking to impose it’s dominance, but the young Magpies forward pack including Andrew Davey, Salesi Fainga’a, Ray Stone and new face Matt McIlwrick rose to the challenge.
The Magpies holding onto a 12-6 lead after the opening forty minutes.
The Bulldogs however raced out of the blocks in the second half, crossing through right winger Tuipulotu Katoa in the 42nd minute, claiming a cross field kick to score a converted try.
Leleisiuao then put the Magpies back in control with some individual brilliance, crossing for his first try in the 47th minute when he ran back to claim a loose ball and stepped and weaved his way through the broken Bulldogs defence to score to the right of the posts.
He crossed again in the 56th minute, stepping back on the inside before powering his way through the covering defence to score out wide and give the Eels a twelve point lead.
Martin burrowed his way over in the 60th minute for his second, cutting the score to just a converted try.
With the Bulldogs storming home with plenty of confidence, the Magpies halves looked to take control and play down the Bulldogs end.
A try to Jayden Okunbor with just four minutes remaining on the clock gave Martin an opportunity to level the scores from the sideline, but with the conversion waved away, the final few minutes of play saw an exciting grandstand finish.
Despite their efforts, the Magpies defence held strong in the final few plays and they secured a 24-22 victory.
Wentworthville Magpies 24 (Tries: Damon Goolagong (2), Greg Leleisiuao (2); Goals: Brad Keighran (4))
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 22 (Tries: Rhyse Martin (2), Tuipulotu Katoa, Jayden Okunbor; Goals: Rhyse Martin (3)