Magpies clawed down by Bears in one point thriller

The Wentworthville Magpies suffered a nail-biting 21-20 defeat to the North Sydney Bears at Ringrose Park I Round Three of the Canterbury Cup with Bears halfback Brock Lamb kicking a 40m field goal to secure a dramatic come from behind victory over the Magpies.

After a 24-22 victory over the defending premiers, the Bulldogs last week, the Magpies would of entered this clash with confidence and were buoyed by the late inclusion of the experienced Josh Hoffman in their backline.

The game was a back and forth affair, with the lead changing five times throughout the clash, before Lamb made up for his two missed conversions late in the second half with the field goal with just seconds remaining on the clock.

The Bears put first points on the board through Ed Murphy, when the centre barged his way over out wide in the 11th minute of play following a well worked shift through the hands of their left edge earning a six point lead.

Working their way back into the clash, the Magpies crossed through Hoffman in the 27th minute. A fortuitous bounce had the centre claiming a Bevan French chip over the defence, with half Brad Keighran conversion from out wide to level the score.

A grinding first half saw neither team able to break the opposition defensive line and a Keighran penalty goal from 30m out gave the Magpies a 8-6 lead just before half time.

However an error from the kick off saw the Bears attacking the line with the half time siren looming, and they made the most of the opportunity, with prop Setefano Hala powering his way over from close range to take back the lead.

Shifting Bevan French into the halves at half time had the Magpies firing in the second half and the move paid dividends when French raced for an inside kick from five-eighth Kieghran, plucked it from the hands of the Bears fullback and slid over for a converted try.

The Magpies extended their lead when hooker Matt McIlwrick dummied close to the try line before finding a space in the Bears defence to dive over from close range, giving the Magpies a 20-12 lead after 50 minutes of action.

A quick pair of hands from interchange hooker Sam Verrills and back rower Sitili Tupouniua saw the utility slice through the defence for four points before another penalty off the kick off gifted the Bears field position.

A string of passes found it’s way to Bears winger Curtis Johnston to score out wide for an unconverted try in the corner, levelling the scores in the 68th minute.

Desperate Magpies defence repelled the Bears from their try line in the final ten minute stanza and a field goal attempt by French to secure the victory sailed wide before a clutch 40m drop goal from Brock Lamb with just seconds remaining on the clock secured the thrilling come back victory for the Bears.

The Magpies will face the Newtown Jets at Ringrose Park next week (Sunday 7 April) in round four of the competition.

Wentworthville Magpies 20 (Tries: Josh Hoffman, Bevan French, Matt McIlwrick; Goals: Brad Keighran (3), Penalty Goals: Brad Keighran (1))

Def by.

North Sydney Bears 21 (Tries: Ed Murphy, Setefano Hala, Sam Verrills, Curtis Johnston; Goals: Brock Lam (2), Field Goals: Brock Lamb (1))