The North Sydney Bears have seen off a late charge from the Wentworthville Magpies, extending the Magpies' mid-season losing streak to five games.
On a typically beautiful Sunday afternoon at North Sydney Oval, the Bears ran out to a convincing half-time lead and while poor discipline allowed the Magpies to mount a case for a Round 11 victory, the home side left with another valuable two competition points.
North Sydney wasted no time in opening their account for Round 11; halfback Eli Levido sent late inclusion Abbas Miski over in the corner after just four minutes. The conversion was missed but the home side grabbed a second just six minutes later, as Tautalatasi Tasi showed great strength to break free and run 40 metres to score.
It brought in a back-and-forth ensuing 10 minutes as the Magpies looked to get on the board, but just as they were applying pressure on the Bears' line, an intercept from Siosifa Talakai got the Bears 50 metres up-field and provided relief. Eventually the Magpies' defence couldn't hold up, and a miscommunication under a Levido bomb resulted in a fumble close to their own line. Tevita Cottrell made the most of it in the ensuing set, crossing for a try which was converted for a 16-0 lead.
Wentworthville hit back straight after, however, with Scott Schulte charging for the line and eventually burrowing his way under a lazy North Sydney defence. The kick was waved away, but the Magpies were on the board late in the opening stanza.
On the stroke of half-time, a perfectly-placed Levido grubber was fumbled by MagpieTroy Dargan and pounced on by Cottrell, who grabbed his second. Levido slotted the conversion for a 22-4 score-line at the break.
The Bears came out of the sheds and started the second stanza in the best possible fashion; a nightmare bounce from the kick-off found touch and gifted them an early attacking set, which needed just two tackles before Latrell Schaumkel crossed in the North West corner. With another conversion from Levido, the Magpies well and truly had their backs against the wall with 38 minutes remaining.
The men in black and white continued to throw all they could at North Sydney but failed to reap any rewards, as they were first held up and then ruled to have knocked on in the in-goal. After 53 minutes, prop Daniel Alvaro scored off a fantastic individual run and captain Cody Nelson wasted no time in adding the extras.
The Bears were on the wrong end of a string of penalties and errors and 10 minutes later Wentworthville crossed again – this time through Nick Kassis. Once again Nelson's conversion was successful and they reduced the deficit to 12.
A penalty to North Sydney allowed them to get the lead back past two converted tries when Levido took the two points from in front. Five minutes later, Sitiveni Moceidreke put in an unexpected grubber for himself, which he pounced on to score and put the result beyond doubt with less than 10 minutes remaining.
In the dying stages of the game, Talakai took yet another intercept to run 60 metres and take a well-earned try. Damien Cook put the icing on the cake with a successful sideline conversion and the Bears ran out 42-16 winners.
This match report first appeared on NSWRL.com.au