Gutsy Bears hold out Magpies
A valiant defensive performance has inspired the Bears to a 16-10 victory over the Wentworthville Magpies in a brutally-absorbing affair at Ringrose Park on Sunday afternoon.
Connor Tracey proved instrumental in the Bears fifth win of the season with some spirited runs and a handy try-assist for Mawene Hiroti, while Billy Brittain added significant spark at hooker and provided a clever kick for Sean Sabutey in the second-half which ultimately proved the difference.
Despite the best efforts of Arana Taumata and Yileen Gordon, who lifted his side with some powerful tackles in the second stanza, they were unable to carry momentum into the second-half with the scores locked at 10-all at the break.
The Magpies got off to a blistering start after a determined run down the right-hand touchline from Eddie Aiono saw the winger brush off a host of clutching defenders for the first try of the afternoon.
The Bears had a host of chances to salvage a try of their own shortly after with repeated sets on the opposition goal-line, but were unable to find a breakthrough as the committed Magpies defence held strong.
They would reap the rewards just moments later after a charge down from the Bears saw a foot-race follow, with Dean Britt poking the ball forward for Tracey as he dived on the loose-ball for an unlikely try.
Dean Hawkins converted to take a 6-4 lead after 20 minutes.
While both sides were working their way into the contest with some brutal defensive efforts, Tracey proved the difference once again with a perfectly timed pass sending Hiroti over in the left-hand corner.
An error off the ensuing set gifted the Magpies the perfect chance to hit back in the closing stages, with Josh Hoffman on the end of a classy backline movement as he crossed for a crucial try despite the best efforts of Braidon Burns to hold him out.
Match: Magpies vs Bears
Venue: Ringrose Park
.Nathan Davis nailed the sideline conversion to draw the game level at 10-all at half-time.
The Bears snatched the lead when Sabutey crossed in the right-hand corner just 10 minutes after the break, before a brutal tackle on their own goal-line shortly after kept the Magpies out after back-to-back sets.
A Hawkins penalty-goal extended their lead to one converted try with just under 20-minutes remaining, but an error off the kick-off gave Wentworthville another chance to hit-back although they were unable to take advantage.
Just when the Bears threatened for another try in the dying stages, a Davis intercept saw the winger streak down the left-hand flank only to be caught 20-metres out by the desperate Bears defence.
Just a few tackles later, a dart out of dummy-half from Reed Mahoney looked to have been enough for the crucial try, but the referee ruled he knocked-on in the process of scoring.
Despite the best efforts of the Magpies to draw the game level, it was to no avail as the Bears held on for a gutsy 16-10 victory.