Round 17 NSW Cup Match Report

Ricky Newell

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles fought gallantly to the end in a 30-16 loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs today in round 17 of the NSW Cup.

A double from winger Clayton Faulalo wasn’t enough for the home side to come back, with the visitors scoring two tries in the final ten minutes to seal the match. 

In a see-sawing match that saw the lead change several times, errors proved costly for the Sea Eagles, giving away possession deep in the opponent’s territory on several occasions, with South Sydney jumping on the mistakes to capitalise. 

South Sydney pounced on a Blacktown misread in defence to score the opening try in the ninth minute through winger Tyrone Munro. Halfback Dean Hawkins converted from the sideline for a 6-0 lead. 

Both sides played safe and settled with their sets as the tug-of-war for possession continued.  Faulalo had his first chance deep in the opposition’s territory as he attempted to intercept the ball 20-metres out from the tryline, only to force an error.

© Andrew Bateup

The continuous pressure at South Sydney’s line resulted in a try for the home side through hooker Gordon Chan Kum Tong in the 20th minute. Halfback Jake Arthur switched things up, running hard at the line on the last tackle before flicking an offload to Chan Kum Tong who grabbed the ball to dive over. Five-eighth Cooper Johns converted for a 6-all scoreline.

Blacktown Workers turned defence into attack in a matter of moments with a full-field effort from Faulalo resulting in a try. The Sea Eagles were forced to defend on their own tryline for four consecutive sets following errors and penalties against them, culminating with a perfect intercept try for the winger’s 16th of the season. Johns converted to take a 12-6 lead. 

South Sydney took four minutes to reply with a try through Hawkins off the back of a massive tackle break from Jacob Gagai. The fullback broke through a tackle in the middle of the field to settle for good field position in the right corner, with Hawkins scoring off a pass from the ruck a tackle later. He converted his own try to level the scores at 12-all. 

A Sea Eagles mistake deep in their own territory in the final minute of the half looked to be costly as the Rabbitohs pushed forward. Despite this, the side persevered and won the ball back with some tough defence to maintain the tied scoreline heading into half-time.  

The Rabbitohs came out of the gates flying in the second half and scored after six minutes through Gagai. Five-eighth Dion Teaupa and Munro combined in the lead up to the play to send the fullback over untouched. Hawkins converted to take the score to 18-12.  

© Andrew Bateup

Both sides weren’t backing down and were putting their best foot forward with each set as the tense game ticked past the hour mark. Neither side put a foot wrong as they continued to push for points, with the next try crucial for the competition points at stake. 

The Sea Eagles hit back and used repeat sets in South Sydney’s half to score in the 61st minute through Faulalo for his second try of the afternoon. The winger took a quick pass from utility Jake Toby and wrestled away from two defenders to slam the ball down in the corner, bringing the score back within two points at 18-16. 

Faulalo was proving his worth in defence to back up his sensational try scoring efforts. The winger sprung into action to take a looming crossfield kick in the 69th minute, holding out the Rabbitohs side that was looking dangerous as the minutes ticked on. 

South Sydney winger Tom Carr scored a runaway try with eight minutes remaining to set a tough task for the home side. Prop Shaquai MItchell took the ball and palmed off two defenders before offloading to the winger who sprinted 80 metres down the sideline for his side’s fourth try. Hawkins converted to give his side an eight-point lead.  

Hawkins then converted his own try in the 79th minute to secure a 30-16 victory for the Rabbitohs as the siren sounded for fulltime. 

Blacktown Workers host the Sydney Roosters in Round 18 of the NSW Cup at 4 Pines Park on Sunday July 2, at 1.35pm in the curtain opener to the NRL match.  


© Andrew Bateup