VB NSW Cup Match Report: Mounties clinch win in final minute
Mounties have triumphed in a thrilling come from behind victory over the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday, taking out the match 30-26 in cold and blustery conditions.
Mounties got off to a great start when the kickoff was taking dead in goal by the Tigers forcing a line dropout however Mounties couldn't convert the opportunity with Matt McIllwrick being penalised for an obstruction close to the Tigers line on the ensuing set.
Mounties looked to play some expansive football early with Wayne Dargan making a long break after being put into a hole by Jake Foster and after compressing the Tigers defence they went wide with Jeremy Hawkins diving over for a four pointer only to be called back by the touch judge for putting a foot into touch however the replay showed this was clearly a massive blunder by the official.
Mounties then regrouped and in the 10th minute Kyle O'Donnell was able to crash over next to the posts and with the conversion by Mitch Cornish, Mounties led 6-0.
Mounties went straight back on the attack in the following sets however their enthusiasm let them down when a loose pass from Joel Edwards was intercepted and the Tigers were able to score with Dene Halatau finishing of the set with a try next to the posts and it was 6-6.
Soon after the Tigers hit the lead when Jarred Farlow finished off a movement and the Tigers led 10-6 after the conversion was pushed across the face of the goal by the strong wind.
Mounties then squandered a few chances in the Tigers red zone and soon found themselves further behind on the scoreboard when a grubber kick was spilled by Jack Ahearn on the goal line and Farlow was there to clean up and make it 16-6 with the conversion.
Mounties were then penalised for being in front of the kicker from the restart and with the Tigers on the attack it was Reece Robinson who saved a certain four pointer with a try saving tackle on Halatau and from the restart Mitch Cornish was able to kick a monster 40/20 to put Mounties on the attack only for the ball to be knocked on and relieve the pressure.
Both teams then traded sets and it was end to end football with Dargan again making a long break before the Tigers hit back and forced a dropout and then McIllrick made an error with Mounties back on the attack to ensure the half time score remained at 16-6.
Mounties had a horror start to the second half when they lost possession from the kickoff and had to withstand serious pressure from the Tigers which eventually led to another try by Halatau for the Tigers and they led 20-6 after 48 minutes.
Mounties poor start continued when Clay Priest was tackled into touch after making a break and then Tevita Pangai Jnr entered the contest and immediately had an impact with damaging defence and destructive running getting Mounties got metres in the middle.
The Tigers weren't done however and in the 63rd minute Farlow registered his third try for the day and looked to have sown up the win for the home time when the conversion was successful making it 26-6 with just over ten minutes to play.
Mounties needed a spark to finish off the game on a positive and that came from Matt McIllrick who in the 71st minute busted the line and sprinted 30 metres to the line to make it 26-12 after the Cornish conversion and from the restart were awarded a penalty after the Tigers kicked out on the full.
Mounties then chanced their hand and from the penalty Mark Nicholls ran a nice line after receiving a great ball from Ryan Carr and brushed off would be tacklers to score and with Cornish's conversion it was 26-18.
Play then went end to end again and with Mounties looking the better of the two team in the final minutes a Kyle O'Donnell mistake with five minutes remaining might have taken the wind out of their sails however they hung tough and in the 77th minute Reece Goldsmith took on the line from dummy half and crashed over near the posts with Cornish taking a quick conversion and suddenly it was 26-24 and Mounties could sniff miracle ending.
From the kickoff Mounties marched downfield and with a last tackle grubber forcing the a Tigers into a line dropout Mounties had 50 seconds to snatch the win.
From the restart Mounties big men worked to the middle of the field and with 10 seconds remaining it was Mitch Cornish and Jack Ahearn who combined with Cornish taking on the line and throwing a perfect short pass to Ahearn a metre from the line with the fullback going over to make it 28-26 as the hooter sounded in the background, the conversion making the final score 30-26.
The win was a much needed boost for Mounties after four consecutive losses and was enhanced by the Ron Massey Cup team having a 50-10 victory over Blacktown while the Sydney Shield had a 30-30 draw with Blacktown.
Next week Mounties take on the Bulldogs in VB NSW Cup while the Ron Massey Cup and True Blue Chemicals Sydney Shield play Guildford in the washout match from round 2.