Round 15 NSW Cup Match Report

Ricky Newell

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles let slip a dominant early lead at home to draw 16-all with Western Suburbs Magpies in round 15 of the NSW Cup today.

In perfect Sunday afternoon conditions at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown Workers raced to a 16-0 lead after 28 minutes before taking an eight-point lead into half-time.

The Magpies swooped back late in the match to steal a competition point as Blacktown threw away chances to seal the match in the second half. 

Both sides scored six tries apiece with five of them coming in the first half alone. The defense was proving to be the most important factor as neither side was able to penetrate the line as the draw crept closer. 

Blacktown had a strong start to the match, with individual efforts from centre Clayton Faulalo, second-rower Zac Fulton, and winger Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega getting them to their 16-point lead.

Western Suburbs didn’t go down without a fight though, scoring two tries in the final 10 minutes of the first half to keep themselves in the match before a late, scrappy try from utility Tallyn Da Silva in the 66th minute gave them a chance to potentially snag the win, eventually settling for the draw.

© NRL Photos

Blacktown Workers opened the scoring through Faulalo in the 14th minute. Five-eighth Jake Toby and Vaega got the ball in good position, with the latter taking a looping pass to the wing from Toby before being tackled inches from the tryline. With quick reflexes, Faulalo scooped the ball from the ground to burrow his way underneath the defenders to score. He converted his own try for a 6-0 lead. 

In the tackle following the kick-off, a scuffle between several players resulted in  Blacktown centre Morgan Harper and Western Suburbs’ prop Alex Seyfarth being sin-binned for their involvements. 

The Sea Eagles scored their second through Fulton in the 23rd minute as the Magpies continued to struggle in defence. Fulton took a pass at the line and with some nifty footwork, found a hole to score under the posts. Faulalo converted to take the lead to 12-0. 

With another brilliant play, Blacktown crossed for their third try through Vaega six minutes later. Half-back Jakob Arthur ran at the line and threw a cut-out pass that skipped two players, leaving Vaega with just the fullback to beat, doing so by barging over the tackle attempt to take the lead to 16 points. 

The Magpies capitalised on an unfortunate mistake by Sea Eagles fullback Kaeo Weekes to score in the 33rd minute through winger Liam Scolari. Weekes looked to take a simple grubber kick on the last tackle only to drop the ball metres out from the line, allowing for Scolari to pick the ball up to push pass a defender for a 16-4 scoreline.  

Momentum carried in favour of the visitors as they scored their second three minutes later through centre Triston Reilly with a well-worked team try, including a chip over the defence and several desperate passes inside the ten-metre line, ending with Reilly scoring to bring the score to 16-8. 

Blacktown looked to have scored a dazzling try after the siren sounded for half-time with a near full field effort. The play started at their own 30 in before Vaega made a break down the left sideline. After he offloaded it and the ball shifted through several players hands, it made it to the right side of the field where back-rower Joshua Stuckey had the ball.  

Rather then shifting to winger Jackson Ferris who was open, Stuckey cut back in towards the middle of the field and offloaded the ball to the ground, which was toed towards the in-goal by Weekes. After a scramble, five-eighth Jake Toby had the ball and made it through to score, only for the referee to call it back for an obstruction as Blacktown maintained an eight-point lead. 

The first points of the second half came in the 66th minute for the Magpies, 30 minutes after the last through utility Tallyn Da Silva. Lock Justin Matamua made a break through the middle to surge downfield, setting up the try. Halfback Will Smith converted from in front to bring his side back within two points for a 16-14 scoreline. Blacktown were proving to be their own worst enemies, having numerous sets in front of the tryline prior to the try.  

Smith converted a penalty goal for the Magpies in the 77th minute from 30 metres out after the referee ruled Blacktown to have stripped the ball after the tackle was completed. With the two points, the score was now level at 16-all, taking the game right down to the wire. 

A shocking 35-metre field goal attempt from Western Suburbs gifted the Sea Eagles one final chance. As they tried to shift the ball, the Magpies intercepted it and looked towards the tryline to steal the match, only to get brought down, resulting in a draw.

Blacktown Workers succumbed to their second draw of the season following their 22-all result a month ago against the Newtown Jets in Round 11. 

Blacktown Workers tackle the Parramatta Eels in Round 16 of the NSW Cup at CommBank Stadium on Saturday June 17, at 3pm.