Saturday, March 17, 2012

Match Report Rnd 3 NSW Cup Wests v Auckland

Wests Magpies played their first home game of the year at Campbelltown with a small but vocal crowd on hand to cheer on the magpies. However, Auckland proved too strong, winning their first game of the season 42 to 20 with fullback Glenn Fisiiahi finishing the afternoon with an incredible six tries in a beautiful display of support play. Fisiiahi was the star but halfback Pita Godinet was also superb.

The magpies welcomed backed back rower Soni Passi, after starting the season with Wests Tigers U20s, and former Windsor Wolves fullback Zoram Watene also joined the magpies during the week as injuries played havoc on the young magpies outfit.

The first 15 minutes was a scrappy affair from both sides but it was the Vulcans who opened the scoring after a dropped ball by Wests centre Dale Roberts. From the ensuing scrum, the Vulcans worked their way towards the line, with front rower Herman Retzlaff brushing aside defenders with ease to score. A graduate of last year's premiership winning U/20s Warriors outfit, Dylan Collier added the extras for Auckland to take a 6-0 lead. Glen Fisiiahi scored the first of his 6 tries at the 26 min mark. The Vulcans were able to keep the ball alive on the Wests 40m line before a flat pass at best found its way to Fisiiahi which saw him run 30 metres to score. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful. Four minutes later and Fisiiahi scored his second try. After some dubious handling near their own goal line, the Vulcans were able to withstand some solid magpie defence before finding a gap out on the left hand side, where Fisiiahi dashed away to score, with the conversion attempt finding the mark.

In the blink of an eye, Auckland were in again. Wests were ruled offside from the kickoff and from the tap kick, a determined run by Agnatuis Passi saw him find a flying Pita Godinet, who was pulled down agonisingly short of the line. From the play the ball, Sam Louis was able to barge across. Collier added the extras and it was 22-0 which remained the score to the half time break.

Glen Fisiiahi then stepped up in an incredible nine minute period scoring four consecutive tries. The first came just six minutes into the second stanza after a dropped ball by Wests on their 30 metre line. From the scrum, Godinet found Fisiiahi who skipped around the defence and bolted to the tryline, although the conversion attempt was unsuccessful. From the kick off, Auckland made easy metres up the middle and on the second tackle, the Wests defence was unable to put Godinet to ground and he was able to get up and advance the play over the half way line before picking out Fisiiahi from the support. Collier again missed the conversation but it was 30-0 and another big score was looming against the Magpies. Incredibly, again from the kick off, the Vulcans were able to score within the first set of 6 tackles and again the Vulcans number seven was the catalyst. Godinet drifted towards the sideline and found an unmarked Ruben Williams who drew a gallant Magpie fullback before finding Fisiiahi for yet another try. Collier was on target and the score went to 36-0. With their confidence sky high just before the hour, Auckland tossed the ball around like the NZ Warriors of 2002 as Wests failed to lock up the ball. The ball went through several sets of hands before finding Fisiiahi who scored an almost unbelieveable sixth try near the posts. Collier converted and it was 42-0, and many in the crowd were thinking it was only a matter of time before Auckland reached 50. However, some gallant magpie defence ensured they scored no further points in the game. Instead, the crowd voiced their approval with the Wests fightback, which began on 63 minutes. After receiving a penalty on the Auckland 30m line, the Magpies ground their way into the red zone area, with Nigel Millgate putting in a perfectly weighted kick for Zoram Watene to touch down and open Wests account for the afternoon. Trent Touma added the extras and it was 42-6. Wests second rower Seffa Silafu was moved to the centres early in the second half by coach Trevor Schodel and scored a superb try after 71 minutes.Inspired by the confidence of their opponents handling, Wests capitalised on a dropped ball by flinging the ball to Silafu, who took on the defence and found Dale Roberts on the wing. With the defence closing in, Roberts returned the favour to Silafu, who lumbered along for the final 15 metres to find the line. The conversion was unsuccessful. Wests were in again on 73 minutes on the back of a penalty. A great run by former Canterbury U20's player, Lional O'Malley ended 10 metres out from the Vulcans tryline and from the play the ball, former Moree Boomerangs player, Mundarra Weldon scored out wide. Touma added the extra and the score was Auckland 42 Wests 16. The final try came with three minutes to play, when Wests won a rare scrum against the feed on the Vulcans 20 metre line. Trent Touma then touched down off a nicely weighted kick to round out the afternoon.Touma missed the conversion to his own try, leaving the Vulcans on top at the final siren by 42-20.

Although there were signs of improvement from the previous weekend, Wests coach Trevor Schodel could not hide his disappointment. Wests were again guilty of dropped balls, missed tackles and failure to lock up the ball in tackles, which allowed Vulcans halfback Pita Godinet too much lattitude with the ball. Wests were good in patches, particularly the final 20 minutes, with Dean Parata and Lionel O'Malley making ground around the ruck and big men Aaron Sweeney and Jay Maseuli taking the ball up with gusto for the whole game, while Seffa Silafu was proved a handful whenever he had the ball. Wests may lose winger Merv Williamson to an ankle injury for next week.

In earlier games, Wests lost the Harold Matthews 28-0 to Penrith and the SG Ball also lost to the Panthers, 26-24.

Wests play again at Campbelltown next Saturday 24th March against newcomers, Illawarra Cutters, commencing at 3pm.

Auckland 42 (Glen Fisiiahi 6, Herman Retzlaff, Sam Lousi tries: Dylan Collier 5 goals) def Wests 20 (Zoram Watene, Seffa Silafu, Mundarra Weldon, Trent Touma tries: Trent Touma 2 goals).

1 Zoram Watene
2 Merv Williamson
3 Dale Roberts
4 Aaron Teariki
5 Daniel Perkins
6 Trent Touma
7 Nigel Millgate (c)
8 Jay Maseuli
9 Lionel O'Malley
10 Aaron Sweeney
11 John Leiatauna
12 Seffa Silafu
16 Alan Daly
14 Dean Parata
20 Munderra Weldon
21 Soni Passi
25 Henry Iuta

1 Glen Fisiiahi
2 Dylan Collier
3 Ivarn Penehe
19 Rubin Williams
5 Willie Peace
6 Steve Waetford
7 Pita Godinet
8 Herman Retzlaff
14 Alehana Mara
20 Daniel Palavi
11 Agnatius Passi
12 Sam Lousi
15 Tevita Latu
16 Arden McCarthy
17 Murray Iti
10 Siulongoua Fotofili
21 Henry Chan Ting

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