A bonus-point try in the closing minutes has helped Eastern Suburbs overturn a 12-point deficit to record a victory over West Harbour yesterday.
The 33-26 victory, their first win in four rounds, sees the Beasties cement sixth place and a virtually assured place in the finals series.
Elsewhere several full-time scores resembled cricket scores, as many teams fought hard to cement their spot in the running for the finals. In a dominant display, leader Eastwood notched up a half-century over Parramatta winning 56-20, Southern Districts triumphed 66-28 in a lop-sided game against Gordon, Manly ran in seven tries to defeat Warringah 45-22, Randwick had a run away 52-19 win against Penrith and the Students continued their winning streak defeating Northern Suburbs 64-19.
Words by Brittany Mitchell – photos by www.seiserphotography.com.au
Eastern Suburbs v West Harbour
After a neck and neck first period, Eastern Suburbs were forced to claw their way back into the reckoning after two tries from the Pirates looked to have set up the win for the visitors.
But a pair of tries from driving mauls secured a bonus-point home victory and with it a virtually assured spot in the finals series.
Said Easts’ in-form flanker Ryan Hodson after the game, “We’re feeling pretty good after that. We’ve had a bit of a bad run in recent weeks and we needed to pick ourselves up if we want to be a force in the finals, so we’re happy with that win.
“We made it hard for ourselves early, they’re a quality side in broken play and we made too many errors earlier and let them to get a bit of a lead on us but the boys managed to close it out in the end.”
In a neck and neck first half, Eastern Suburbs got off the mark first, scoring the opening try after a powerful run from lock Phil Mathers, who fended off the defence to cross in the left corner after 14 minutes. The successful conversion saw the home side lead 7-0 until Wests hit back with try from outside centre Rory Sidey, who sprinted in courtesy of a pass from Henry Seavula. The conversion leveled the scores with 18 minutes played and they stayed that way until 10 minutes later when Easts’ scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin picked up the ball from the back of a ruck and darted over for his side’s second. The successful kick gave Easts a seven point buffer with 27 minutes played but once again, the visitors hit back, this time it was Henry Seavula’s turn to cross for the five-pointer.
With the conversion missed, Easts’ lead was cut to two points until Wests’ flyhalf Jack Debreckeni intercepted a Henry Hudson pass to score the try that saw his side take the lead for the first time, with the conversion taking the scores to 19-14 with just two minutes of the first half remaining.
Three minutes into the second period, a fumble over the line looked to have cost the Pirates a fourth try, before a TMO decision saw the try awarded when it was eventually touched down by Shaun Treweek.
With the score at 26-14 in Wests’ favour approaching the last quarter, the Beasties knew they needed a try to stay in the running and it came when some crisp passing and running in the backline created space for replacement winger Charlie Clifton to dive over in the right corner. The conversion put Easts within five points and, soon after, their pack mounted a powerful attack that saw them cross the tryline, with the try confirmed by another TMO decision.
With the scores tied at 26-all going into the final minutes, the Beasties pack set up another driving maul, powering over the line from five metres out to take the lead on 33 minutes, and hang on for the victory.
Eastern Suburbs 33 (Charlie Clifton, Irwin, Phil Mathers, Brendan McKibbin, Pauli Taumoepeau tries; Henry Hudson 2 cons, Devlin con, Brendan McKibbin con,) d West Harbour 26 (Jack Debreczeni, Henry Seavula, Rory Sidey, Shaun Treweek tries; Jack Debreczeni 2, Henry Seavula con) at Woollahra Oval. Referee James Lecki
Eastwood v Parramatta
In a fast-flowing match, Parramatta struggled to keep up with the first-placed Eastwood side. Eastwood ran in eight tries to three, making easy metres down field with persistent attacks that were just too good for the Two Blues’ defence. The results sees Eastwood retain top spot and Parramatta sit third from the bottom.
Eastwood 56 (Ben Batger 2, Nick Batger 3, Andrew Clyne, Michael McDougall, Garreth Palamo tries; Ben Batger 5 cons, 2 pens) d Parramatta 20 (Adam Coleman, Damien Fakafanua, Charlie Leaeno tries; Tom Woods con, pen) at TG Millner Oval. Referee Andrew Lees.
Gordon v Southern Districts
A quick start from the Rebels saw them leading 14-0 at the 20 minute mark before the Highlanders began their fight back late in the first half. Despite their best efforts, the Highlanders never quite looked like taking the match, with the Rebels displaying their attacking prowess to run away with a 66 to 28 victory that sees them hold on to third spot.
Southern Districts 66 d Gordon 28 at Chatswood Oval. Referee Ian Smith (scorers unavailable).
Northern Suburbs v Sydney University
Sydney University yesterday make it 11 wins on the trot this season with a dominant display of rugby over Northern Suburbs. Taking control of the game early, the Students made the most of returning HSBC Waratahs Dave Dennis Will Skelton and Bernard Foley to secure a maximum-points win over Norths at North Sydney Oval and retain second place on the table.
Sydney University 64 d Northern Suburbs 19 at North Sydney Oval. Referee Kane McBride (scorers unavailable).
Warringah v Manly
In a tightly contested derby match, fourth-placed Manly continued their winning form taking control of proceedings with a dominant display over the eighth-placed Rats. The Marlins were in fine form and ran in seven tries to three, making the most of their opportunities.
Manly 45 (7 tries; 2 cons, 2 pens) d Warringah 22 (3 tries; 2 cons, 1 pen) at Pittwater Rugby Park. Referee Angus Gardner (scorers unavailable).
Penrith v Randwick
Randwick proved too strong at Penrith, running in eight tries. Although Penrith did well to cross the line three times, the Emus were unable to keep up with the Wicks’ intensity as the game wore on. Randwick remains in finals contention, sitting on seventh place overall, while the Emus remain bottom.
Randwick 52 (Ethan Ford, Nio Halangahu 3, Cayden Matehaere, Nathan Paila 2, Timothy Wright, tries; Cayden Matehaere 6 cons) d Penrith 19 (Sione Fifita, Paueli Halafihi, Pita Tupou tries; 2 cons) at Nepean Rugby Park. Referee Richard Goswell.
|Shute Shield ladder (after Round 15)|