The Magpies got off to a flying start for the 2011 NSW Cup season with a hard fought
win over Manly at Leichhardt Oval. The game was in the balance until the final
minutes, however despite Manly having repeat attacking sets on the Magpies
line, the black and whites held firm to take the two points.
The team that took the field contained only five players from the 2010 season,
but head coach Leo Epifania recruited well during the off season to ensure the
Magpies would be more than competitive this year.
The game was only 3 minutes old when Manly caught the Magpies defense short
on the blind side of the ruck. Quick hands saw the ball move to Manly’s wing
three quarter Michael Oldfield who crossed in the corner for a well constructed
try. Centre Scott Blanch kicked a fine conversion from a wide angle. Manly 6
The Magpies pressured Manly from the kick which caused the ball to be turned
over, giving the boys good field position. After attacking both sides of the field,
the ball was sent onto a hard running Andrew Everingham who split the defense
to score close to the posts. Magpies half Rhys Lenarduzzi added the extras to
level the score at 6 all.
Both teams put on a fine display of attacking and defensive football during the
remainder of the first half, but were unable to add to the score line.
During the half time break, head coach Leo Epifania reminded his team that they
had to remain patient and stick to the game plan. He told them he was happy
with their defensive effort.
Those words of encouragement certainly paid dividends. Within one minute
from the kick off the Magpies scored an inspirational try. Manly attempted to put
in a clearing kick inside the Magpies half but the play was quickly read by second
row forward Rocky Trimarchi who charged the ball down before gathering it in
close to the half way mark. Showing good speed, he outpaced the opposition in
a 50 metre run to the try line. The conversion attempt shaved the wrong side of
the posts; however the Magpies took the lead 10 points to 6.
The Manly team demonstrated they were not giving up with out a fight when
they scored their second try of the afternoon through replacement James
Cunningham. Scott Blanch took the extras on offer, putting his team back in
front 12 points to 10.
The hot and humid day certainly tested the mettle of both teams but they
continued to entertain the fans through well rehearsed plays and outstanding
In the 27th minute Wests received a penalty 40 metres from the Manly try line.
Epifania sent out a message to take the two points. Rhys Lenarduzzi responded
to the call to level the scores at 12 points all.
Manly surprised the Magpies when they re gathered the ball from a short kick
off. With good field position, Manly carried the ball close to the Magpies line, but
steadfast defense put paid to Manly’s attacking play.
With time running out, the Magpies showed they were desperate to take the
win when they found themselves 25 metres from the Manly line. Big second row
forward Matt Achurch received the ball in traffic. He stepped around a couple of
Manly defenders to carry the ball to the black dot for a fine individual try. Rhys
Lenarduzzi guided the ball between the uprights to put the black and white team
in front 18 points to 12.
In the dying stages of the game, Manly threw everything at the Magpies. Their
five eight Liam Foran put in a kick which landed in the Magpies in goal. With
plenty chasing, Magpie wing three quarter Dayne Craig evaded the opposition to
carry the ball back into the field of play.
With time almost up, the Manly team was penalised for being offside which
ensured the Magpies run out winners.
Scorers for the Magpies – Andrew Everingham 1 try, Rocky Trimarchi 1 try
and Mitch Achurch 1 try with Rhys Lenarduzzi kicking 3 goals.
Manly – Michael Oldfield and James Cunningham scored a try each with Scott
Blanch kicking two goals.
Players player match ball – shared between Puna Rasaubale and Rocky
Leo’s best three – Troy O’Sullivan, Puna Rasaubale and Andrew Everingham.
Next game – 3pm Saturday 19 March 2011 Wests Magpies play
Newtown Jets at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.