With the WestsTigers down on troops, i am sure we will see Fitzhenry back in the top 17 this Friday night. Sheens knows Fitz is the most versatile player at the club who can cover just about any position on the field.
In recent weeks our own Mr. Fix-it has been dominating State Cup for the Magpies, and potentially steered their team towards a grand final. I am sure he could do the same for 1st grade and take them one step closer also.
Fitzhenry had a very good record down in Canberra, has the experience of big pressure matches, and is the key to guiding the boys one step closer to their 2nd Premiership.
Just remember guys…
No Fitzy…No Grand Final!
BRING BACK THE FITZ
last time i checked fitzhenry had been dumped by the magpies to the bench
Check again and get a clue…
Wests 44 def Wolves 22
tries - Daniel Fitzhenry 2
Wests 40 def Wolves 16
try - Daniel Fitzhenry
The Magpies recorded a good win against the Wolves in the last game of the regular season, but heading into this match head coach Leo Epifania declared he was never going to take this game easy as Windsor had recorded plenty of good wins during the year and he was sure they would be present as a difficult opposition.
To help their cause, the Magpies received good news during the week when centre three quarter Andrew Everingham was ruled fit after a five week lay off. For the Wolves NRL players Maurice Blair, Daine Laurie, Steve Meredith, Nigel Plum and Shane Elford were called into the team, giving them great depth in key positions.
From the kick off by the Wolves, the Magpies showed that they had made the long trip to Windsor ready to play. After completing their initial set, the Magpies were presented with a repeat set. After a couple of strong charges from their forwards, the ball was swung wide to a flying centre three quarter George Kepa who beat the cover defense to score a fine individual try. The conversion attempt from hooker Chris Corby raised the flags and with only three minutes on the clock, the Magpies took the lead 6 – 0.
Putting pressure on themselves from the kick off, the Magpies allowed the ball to bounce over the dead ball line which gave the Wolves unexpected possession and good field position. They quickly moved play to the Magpies 10 metre line before Wolves half Craig Trindall put up a well placed bomb. The ball was allowed to bounce and it appeared to come off a Magpies player legs before being gathered in, but the referee saw it differently, calling it as a knock on. Not happy with the call, a Magpie player was penalised. This certainly would test the Magpies defensive line, a second set from close range, but the Magpies repelled raid after raid. Once again Trindall put up a bomb which was pursued hard by his team mates. Leaping high in goal to diffuse the situation was George Kepa, who took a great catch under pressure. From the 20 metre tap, fullback Rhys Pritchard scooted to the half way line.
The next run produced a penalty when a Wolves player was deemed to hit a Magpie high. After a settling run in the 7th minute, the Magpies found themselves on the opposition 20 metre line when big prop forward Alex Ranieri decided to take the opposition pack on up the middle of the ruck. When held, he dropped a good ball into the hands of Chris Corby who forced his way in for a try alongside the posts. Converting his own try, the Magpies took a confidence building lead 12 – 0.
After recommencing play with a long kick off, the Magpies were under pressure again when the ball was knocked on early in their set. This time the Wolves would make the Magpies pay. After pushing towards the try line, Trindall decided to kick for his outside men instead of going for a bomb. The result, a good try to winger Zoram Watene. Trindall shaved the wrong side of the posts when attempting to covert the try. Magpies 12 – Windsor 4.
From the kick off, the Magpies heavy defense caused the Wolves to drop the ball. After winning the scrum, the ball was moved wide, but a loose pass was intercepted by Watene who ran some 70 metres before being tackled on the Magpies 10 metre line. Tying to catch the Magpies out on the short side proved to be their undoing when second row forward Josh Davis combined with his partner Nu Akeripa to carry the player over the touch line.
From the scrum win, a pass was knocked over the side line. With a second scrum packing down on the Magpies 45 metre, the Wolves no doubt were looking to put further points on the ladder, but when the play moved forward, Junior Moors delivered a bone crunching tackle which dislodged the ball from a Windsor player. The play looked good from the side line, but the referee ruled that the Magpies off side.
To their credit, the Magpies rock-solid defense held firm forcing another Windsor error. Rhys Pritchard was jolly on the spot and after picking up the loose ball, he ran downfield. When completing their set, a Windsor player was penalised for an infringement in a tackle on George Kepa.
Taking the chance to swing the ball wide, the pass was again intercepted by a Wolves player who had read the situation well. Collecting the ball at pace he ran hard towards the Magpies try line, only to be tackled by George Kepa who was then sin binned for holding the player down for too long. With one man short, the Magpies resolve would surely be tested. (I am sure that to the delight of the head coach, the Magpies scored two tries during this period without conceding a point.)
Spinning the ball wide, Wolves winger Watene sprinted to the corner post, but a jarring tackle from Josh Davis resulted in a Wolves player fumbling the ball over the try line.
From the 20 metre tap, Wests replacement prop forward Michael Stolk took the hit up before Josh Davis gained more metres down the middle. In a good attacking position, hooker and captain Nathan Waters shaped to kick to his left before skillfully guiding the ball towards the right side of the goal posts. Judging the play perfectly, Junior Moors swooped onto the ball before advancing it closer to the posts for a great uncontested try. The kick from Waters was one of the best kicks the crowd had seen at any level of rugby league. Corby converted the try which gave the Magpies an 18 to 4 lead.
With 12 minutes left in the first half, the Magpie supporters were calling for more points and that is exactly what the Magpies team delivered. In the 30th minute, after receiving the ball from the kick off, Michael Stolk continued his hard running and after drawing defenders to him he followed up with a quick play the ball.
Waters ran to the blind side before quick hands from Josh Davis and Andrew Everingham gave wing three quarter Gus Aiga a bit of room to move. With 50 metres in front of him and the cover defense to contend with, Aiga stepped around several attempted tackles before putting the ball under the black dot. Corby took the easy points. Magpies 24 – Windsor 4.
In the final minutes of the half, Windsor received a penalty which gave them one last shot before half time. After a couple of settling hit ups, the ball was received by Windsor centre Shane Elford who stepped inside two attempted tackles to score mid way between the posts and the side line. Trindall converted the try further reducing the Magpies lead 24 – 10.
Right on half time, a towering bomb was put up by Trindall, but it was diffused by Rhys Pritchard who leapt high before running the ball back at the defense.
During half time Leo Epifania emphasised that the players must remain focused and not let the Wolves back into the game. He stated that they had the players to put on quick points, but he took time out to praise the strong defensive efforts from his players.
The second half saw a number of errors from both teams but it was the Wolves who came up with a majority of the possession, but to the delight of the Magpie faithful, their terrific defense kept the Wolves at bay.
The Magpies, to a player, tackled them to a standstill, but after repelling four repeat sets on their try line, the Wolves found a small crack in the Magpies line. In the 26th minutes, after running a good line, Trindall stepped inside a Magpie player before planting the ball over the try line. After converting his try it was game on. Magpies 24 with the Wolves snapping at their heals 16.
Wests did not panic and with replacements David Harris and Troy O’Sullivan making an appearance, the Magpie fans knew that their strong defense would continue whilst adding fresh legs in attack.
In the 29th minute the Magpies replied. After a 40/20 kick from Windsor was ruled to have gone out on the full, the Magpies were handed the ball inside the Wolves half. Several surges gave the Magpies room to move and when quick hands delivered a pass to replacement utility forward Troy O’Sullivan it was try time. With work to do, O’Sullivan used his strength to push through a couple of tackles to score in the corner. Corby delighted the crowd with a fine kick from the side line. Magpies 30 – Windsor 16.
With time running out, Trindall put in a short kick off which was well read by Wests five eight Kurt Kara. David Harris took the next run before off loading to wing three quarter Daniel Fitzhenry who gained valuable metres. David Harris then found himself in possession of the ball on the last tackle, but he did not panic. He put in a fine kick into the Wolves in goal before making the tackle to force a line drop out.
In the 33rd minute, after receiving the ball from the drop out, the Magpie forwards advanced at a fast rate into the Wolves territory. Sensing that the Wolves were coming quickly off their line, Nathan Waters put in a grubber kick which came to rest in goal before it was pounced on by Andrew Everingham who claimed a try in his return from injury. Magpies 34 – Wolves 16.
With 6 minutes left on the clock, a deep kick off was fielded by Rhys Pritchard. He stepped around the first line of defense and after running over the half way line he passed onto Nu Akeripa who looked like he was going to score before being pulled down near the line. In the next play, Wests Magpies wing three quarter Daniel Fitzhenry evaded the Wolves to score the final try of the day. With the extras the Magpies ran out worthy winners 40 Windsor 16.
The Magpies put on a fine display of semi final football. Their defense was solid, committed and very aggressive which gave their backs room to move. Whist head coach Leo Epifania was impressed with the win, he stated that his players had more in them and would look to improve aspects of their play during the following weeks training.
Scorers for the Magpies – tries to Daniel Fitzhenry, George Kepa, Gus Aiga, Andrew Everingham, Junior Moors, Troy O’Sullivan and Chris Corby with Corby also kicking 6 goals from 7 attempts.
Leo’s best three – Duan Poaneki, Nu Akeripa and Alex Ranieri.
Match Ball – player’s player shared by Duan Poaneki and Michael Stolk.
Scorers for the Wolves - tries to Zoram Watene, Shane Elford and Craig Trindall. Trindall 2 goals from 3 attempts.
Best for the Wolves – Craig Trindall, Daine Laurie, Joseph Paulo and Maurice Blair.
The final series – Wests Magpies vs. team/time to be determined, Sunday 19 September 2010, Leichhardt Oval.
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Proven match winner against Canberra too!!!
And not just in 2010 either!!
No we all remember the 180 degree turn run that fooled the Raiders in 2005. Genius play - acted like he was bombing a certain try, ran backwards, chucked a u-ie, and headed for the try line. Super effort!!