NSW Cup Match Report: Mounties remain unbeaten
Mounties remain unbeaten in the VB NSW Cup after making it four from four with a gritty win over the Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
After an early feeling out period Wests were first to score when a repeat set saw half Josh Drinkwater cross for the first try of the match but a horrible conversion attempt saw the Tigers lead 4-0 in the 11th minute.
Mounties hit straight back when Sam Williams put up a bomb 20 metres out from the Tigers line and Clay Priest was on hand to score when the Tigers defence couldn't secure the ball and with Williams conversion Mounties led 6-4.
In the 24th minute Wests hit the lead again when Chance Peni regathered a grubber and dived over out wide and with a second missed conversion Wests led 8-6.
Mounties then went into an attacking period with several repeat sets off the back of some enterprising play from Sam Williams and Josh McCrone and in the 34th minute the pressure was rewarded when Williams combined with Jack Ahearn to put Dave Cahalane over in the corner and Mounties retook the lead 10-8 after Williams conversion shaved the upright.
Mounties then looked to have scored through Bill Tupou however the referee called back the try for an obstruction and after forcing an error to have the ball in the last minute of the half Mounties gave up possession in front of their posts when Mitch Barnett got into a shoving match with the markers and the Tigers took the conversion to lock the scores up at 10-10 at half time.
After a half time rev up from coach Antonelli Mounties came out firing in the second half and in the 43rd minute Sam Williams was in to score when he showed the urgency to get to a Josh McCrone chip kick before the defence and he converted his own try to make it 16-10.
Five minutes later Mounties scored again when McCrone grubbered into the in goal and the Tigers defence was unable to gather the ball with Bill Tupou on hand to pounce and make it four points with the conversion missing Mounties led 20-10.
In the 58th minute and on the back of a line dropout by the Tigers Mounties scored again when Gus Aiga crossed in the corner after some slick passing and with a great sideline conversion from Williams Mounties extended their lead by 26-10.
For the next 10 minutes it was all Mounties with several scoring opportunities being extinguished by the Tigers last ditch defence and with ten minutes remaining Wests mounted a comeback with Peni scoring his second after Bill Tupou couldn't regathered a kick to make it 26-16 and with two minutes to go Wests crossed again through Rowe to make it 26-22 and set the scene for a grandstand finish.
After seeming to hold out the Tigers last effort to win the game the home team was given a penalty and set the scene for a final set at Mounties and for four tackles they held out a fast finishing Tigers outfit with the fifth tackle defence dislodging the ball from the Tigers attack with seconds on the clock, Mounties holding out for the win.
Best for Mounties were forwards Priest, Lemalu, Page and Rhys Kennedy while McCrone, Williams, Aiga and Jack Ahearn all having big games in the backline.
Mounties Ron Massey Cup also kept their unbeaten opening to the season intact defeating Cabramatta 32-26 after trailing 22-8 late in the second half and Mounties Sydney Shield are also undefeated after disposing of Cabramatta 48-38.
Mounties 26 (Bill Tupou, Gus Aiga, Sam Williams, Clay Priest, Dave Cahalane tries; Williams 3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 22 (Chance Peni 2, Kurtis Rowe, Josh Drinkwater tries; Drinkwater 3 goals)