Mounties have lost their Round 13 VB NSW Cup match, going down to Wentworthville 20-16 in a thriller at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday.
Having to make major changes to the line up after suffering the loss of Tom Learoyd Lahrs the week before, Clay Priest during the week and Bill Topou before kickoff, Mounties got off to a horror start when Gus Aiga was forced from the field in the 6th minute with Kurt Horton coming into the centre position and Matt Allwood shifting to the back.
Wentworthville were able to take immediate advantage of the reshuffle with Vai Toutai scooting over in the corner after getting on the outside of Horton to open the scoring in Wenty's favour 6-0.
With Mounties defensive line at sixes and sevens it was just five minutes later when Wenty half Matterson found space up the middle and scored next to the post for the visitors to lead 12-0.
Mounties then got their line in order and with the weight of possession Wenty could have piled on plenty of points however for the next fifteen minutes Mounties line held firm and with the Wenty halves getting frustrated a penalty in front of the posts resulted in a penalty conversion kick being taken to make it 14-0 in favour of Wentworthville at the thirty minute mark.
Mounties attack was stunted at times due to the extensive reshuffles however they showed glimpses of promise and with a 6-3 penalty count against them they did well to hold out with the 14-0 scoreline to the break.
Wenty came back out of the blocks in the second half and after back to back penalties they looked likely to score first when they created a two one one on Mounties left edge however Wayne Dargan had other ideas and he plucked the final pass out of the air and raced 95 metres to score under the posts and Mounties were back at 14-6.
Mounties luck was definitely out and after trading sets for fifteen minutes Mosese Pangai was taken from the field with a serious knee injury and Wenty immediately scored under the posts to make it 20-6.
Mounties remained in the fight and in the 68th minute it was Dargan again who made the breakthrough when he scooped up a grubber kick near his own in goal and out paced the cover defence to run 99 metres and score beside the posts with the conversion making it 20-12 in Wenty's favour.
With time running down, Mounties threw everything at the visitors and in the 72nd minute a line break by Jake Foster saw him pulled down inches from the line with Reece Goldsmith able to crash over from dummy half to make it 20-16 after the conversion by Horton shaved the uprights and the healthy crowd strapped themselves in for a thrilling finish.
Mounties were able to trade field position in the final minutes and after receiving a rare penalty inside the opposition half they had one last play to win it with a kick for Matt Allwood by Matt Place on the final play going into the arms of a Wenty defender enabling them to hold on for a 20-16 win.
Mounties coach Steve Antonelli praised his teams effort considering the penalty count and the injury disruption and is already looking ahead to next week when they take on Wyong at Aubrey Keech Reserve on Saturday at 3pm.