A second half two-try effort from Winger George Jennings broke a fatigued Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs lead as eighth placed Wentworthville Magpies kept their finals hopes alive.
Both teams started the match with dominant runs through the middle with both sets of Forwards attempting to break through tough defensive lines. A brain snap from Canterbury’s Ofahiki Ogden resulted in the Prop being placed on report after a hefty shoulder-charge landed into Wentworthville’s Tim Mannah.
The first points of the game came from Magpies Prop Stefano Utoikamanu who forced himself through four Bulldogs defenders, grounding the ball just left of the goal posts. A successful conversion by Rhys Davies put the home side ahead by six points, seven minutes into the game.
A miraculous try by Canterbury’s Jack Cogger saw the five-eighth intercept the ball from a Magpies scum after the Bulldogs’ Kayne Kalache misjudged a pass just short of the try line. Cogger placed the ball between the up-rights to secure an easy extra two points for the visiting team to even the scores after fifteen minutes.
Clearly inspired by his halves partner, Bulldogs halfback Fa’amanu Brown intercepted the ball of the back of another Wentworthville scrum and gifted the visiting side another six points in an almost identical fashion.
A penalty goal by Jake Averillo gave Canterbury an eight-point edge going into half time.
A Wentworthville knock-on from the kick off gifted the visiting team the ball straight after the break. A perfectly weighted grubber from five-eigthh Jack Cogger saw the Bulldogs capitalise on their field position as Brandon Wakeham slid behind the Magpie’s defence to score. Converting his own try, Wakeham put his team ahead by fourteen points.
The Bulldogs continued to pressure the Magpies defence but a wayward floating pass gifted Wentworthville five-eighth Will Smith an intercept, who showed his speed over distance, placing the ball between the posts after an uncontested eighty-metre sprint. A successful conversion by Davies closed the Canterbury lead to only eight points.
The Magpies stuck again six minutes later as Winger George Jennings cut inside the Bulldogs scramble defence after his edge partner managed to offload the ball. Although the try closed the gap, an unsuccessful conversion kept the deficit to four points.
Minutes later, Jennings struck for his second of the game as he managed to break away from a stagnant multiple defender tackle to ground the ball between the posts. A successful conversion saw the home team ahead for the first time in the second half.
A clearly fatigued Bulldogs pack kept themselves from developing any momentum in attack, gifting the home team back-to-back sets through dropped balls on their try line or missed opportunities for a seven tackle sets from touch. Desperate to regain the ball in defence, Canterbury seemed to be more focused on stripping the ball than actually making a tackle, allowing Wentworthville to dominate through the middle of the field.
A try on the full-time siren from Magpies winger Ethan Parry saw the home team finish the game with an eight-point lead to keep their hopes for finals football alive.
Wentworthville Magpies 28 (Tries: George Jennings (2), Stefano Utoikamanu, Will Smith, Ethan Parry; Goals: Rhys Davies (4/5))
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 20 (Tries: Jack Cogger, Fa'amanu Brown, Brandom Wakeham; Goals: Jake Averillo (2), Brandon Wakeham; Penalty Goals: Jake Averillo)