Sat 23 Feb 2019, 05:18 PM
Western Suburbs Magpies have begun their 2019 season with a solid 18-6 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in their Intrust Super Premiership trial today at Belmore Sports Ground.
With 11 contracted first-grade players and all four 2019 Development Players lining up for the Magpies, Brett Hodgson’s side came out of the blocks quickly with a try inside the opening minute of the game and controlled the contest from there.
After today’s good hit-out, Western Suburbs will travel across the ditch next weekend to face the New Zealand Warriors in Whangarei before kicking off the year against the Sea Eagles in Round 1 as part of a doubleheader at Leichhardt Oval.
It was Josh Aloiai who opened the scoring for the visitors less than 60 seconds in to the game when a short ball from Jacob Liddle allowed the prop to spin his way over under the posts, with Tyson Gamble converting from in front for an early 6-0 lead.
Liddle was again in the thick of the action shortly after with an impressive scoop and sprint from dummy half catching the Bulldogs out for another four-pointer.
Jock Madden’s short kicking game was a standout in the first half, with the halfback desperately unlucky not to create a try for Mahe Fonua on the left edge after some sharp hands from Kane Bradley put the centre within a whisker of try-line.
Western Suburbs would eventually grab their third try on the half hour mark when a shift to the right saw Australian Schoolboy representative Tommy Talau dive over untouched — a reward for the winger’s previous effort to earn a repeat set.
Windy and rainy conditions at Belmore made goal-kicking tough, with Gamble only able to add one of his three attempts to give the Magpies a 14-0 lead at the break.
Both sides rung in the changes for the second half, as Hodgson’s side continued to control the content well with a strong breeze at their back and experience on field.
The visitors would finally make their dominance show on the scoreboard when Madden combined with Dylan Smith to put Bilaal Marbaani over in the corner with 15 minutes to play — giving the Magpies an 18-point advantage over the Bulldogs.
Canterbury would be rewarded for their efforts throughout the day with a try to Jesse Martin eight minutes from time as he burrowed over from dummy half, but it would matter little in the end as the Magpies walked away with the job done.
Western Suburbs Magpies 18 (Aloiai, Liddle, Talau, Marbaani tries; Gamble 1/4 goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6 (Martin tries; Finnegan 1/1 goals)
Just on the jersey swap - there was an official notification posted by the club on the magpies facebook page saying that due to the number of players involved they would use WT jerseys in the second half. It was good to see the club be a proactive as there would have been a lot of disgruntled ISP punters had no explanation been given.
Posted this in another thread but will put it here too as seems like a more logical place:
Dogs had a week team due to their trial with Canberra. We were in complete control but never pushed too hard. Weather was very challenging - windy and a slippery surface from the rain we’ve had.
Smith - Solid in defence, positioned well in receiving kicks, chimed in to a few backline movements but running and passing. Set up one try with a ball to the winger. Very promising. 8
Bradley - Didn’t get much ball but looked solid when called upon in his first outing on the wing. 6
Fonua - Wasn’t involved much. Few missed tackles and errors, a couple fop strong carries. 5
McIntyre - Fairly invisible, but solid in defence. 6
Talau - excellent. Ran the ball hard, crunching defence, a good offload and looked dangerous every time he touched it. For a play-maker playing his first game on the wing he was outstanding. A few miscommunications with Smith taking bombs but that comes down to lack of practice 8
Gamble - got a few repeat sets, made a couple of strong runs. Wasn’t tested in defence. Played in the centres for most of the second half. 7
Madden - Very strong showing from the kid. Was barking orders and organising his team mates. Getting them in a huddle to set out the game plan. For an 18 year old stepping up from SG ball was very impressive. Got stuck in defence without any issues, kicking game was good. Got a couple of repeat sets and tried a few chips to the wing which went backwards with the wind. 8
Aloiai - Ran hard for 10 mins, scored a powerful try then dropped away, made a couple of silly mistakes. 6.5
Liddle - Played really well until subbed at 70 mins. Scored a try, set one up, kept the markers guessing. Good service, good defence. Best player on the park. 9
Mikaele - Our best forward, alwasy a handful, made great metres and got some quality offloads away (unlike Fonua and Aloiai). 8
Garner - Went ok, solid in defence, didn’t get much chance with the ball, made one half bust. Got yet another concussion which is concerning.
McQueen - A much better performance than what he dished up in NSW Cup last year. Good effort, some strong carries, solid in defence. 7
Rochow - Invisible. 4
Aupouri - Came on in second half at 5/8. A number of poor options taken. Poor kicking game.
Clark - Solid and tried a bit but made no impact in attack or defence.
Henry - Shaved his head so i didn’t recognise him. Didn’t get a lot of gametime but ran hard.
The others didn’t get much game time so can’t comment too much.
A decent hit out against a fairly week opponent. We should have won by more but weren’t throwing the ball around much due to the wind.
Robbie, Matterson and Twal were there supporting their team mates. First half both teams were playing in white jerseys, one with blue trim one with black trim so we changed jerseys to black and orange in the second half.