VB NSW Cup Match Report: Mounties finish regular season off in style
Mounties finished off the regular season in style with a thrilling 38-24 win over the Cronulla Sharks at Mounties Sports Ground on Saturday.
The home side got off to a horror start when an unforced error saw Cronulla capitalise field position and the clock had not reached the five minute mark before they scored and led 6-0.
Mounties looked to bounce straight back and some clever play found space on the left edge however the final pass was intercepted by Travis Robinson and he raced 80 metres to score under the posts and they led 12-0 after nine minutes.
In the 14th minute Mounties got back into the contest when Ryan Carr delivered a nice pass to Sami Sauiluma who put Reece Robinson away and the score was 12-4 to the Sharks after the conversion by Terry Campese was waved away.
Sauiluma then started the chase for the leading try scorer award when he barged over from close range to take his season tally to 18 and Mounties trailed 12-10.
Mounties were looking good in the trade of sets and came close to scoring on several occasions however it was the Sharks who had the final say in the half when George Rose busted the Mounties defence and delivered a nice pass for the Sharks to score and at half time it was the visitors leading 18-10.
Seven minutes into the half Wayne Dargan got the reunion day crowd going when he pounced on a Terry Campese grubber and crossed to make it 18-16 with the conversion by Campese.
The teams then went set for set and the intercity ramped up until the 60th minute when the clock was stopped for an injury to the Sharks and this enabled the teams to take a much deserved breather.
Soon after the restart it was Sauiluma again who bullocked his was over the line for try number 19 and with this he was able to claim the leading try scorer award and put Mounties in front 20-18.
The Sharks had plenty of fight in them and in the 67th minute they reclaimed the lead when a simple missed tackle saw them cross and make it 24-20 but soon after Mounties stole it back when Mosese Pangai beat off his opponent and delivered a deft pass for Dargan to claim his double and Mounties then led 26-24.
In the 74th minute Cronulla looked to take back the game however the last pass went astray and from the next set Mitch Cahalane busted the defence and sent Reece Robinson away for his second and the score was 32-24 with five minute to go.
Cronulla tried hard to get back into the lead however in the final minute it was Campese who delivered the killer blow when he again grubbered for Dargan who was hungrier than his opposite man and dived on the ball to make it three tries for the day and Campese closed out the game for Mounties with a sideline conversion to make the final score 38-24.
Mounties now take on the New Zealand Warriors in an elimination semi final at Leichhardt Oval next Sunday at 2pm.
In the Ron Massey Cup, Mounties played well to defeat Auburn 30-18 and finish the season in second position. This sets them up for a semi final against Asquith next Saturday while in the Sydney Shield Mounties battled well against Auburn however the injury plagued team went down 42-30 and they now face Cabramatta in an elimination semi next Saturday.