Magpies Houdini Act Written by Wests Football Club Monday, 06 June 2005 The Magpies Jersey Flegg side travelled to Newcastle for this very important match against the Newcastle Knights who were sitting three points in front of them on the competition ladder. A big crowd had gathered early in preparation for the NRL match which gave our young team an extra incentive to play well. In a thrilling match, Wests snatched victory in the dying seconds to continue their rise up the ladder.
The Knights started confidently and in the opening minutes scored a converted try taking them to an early 6 � 0 lead . The strong start by the Knights was an indication of how important this game was to them. From the restart the Magpies defence forced an error and in the ensuing play half Brendan Waters scored under the posts after an elusive fifteen meter run. Warren Williams added the extras and the Magpies were back on even terms.
The game provided some fine attacking football from both sides, however a couple of unforced errors from the Magpies saw the Knights score two quick tries and they hit the lead 14 � 6. The coach injected big front row forward Faitotoa Asa into the game and he made several barnstorming runs which lifted the side. Hooker Sam Hoare, in his second game back from injury, also took the field and made several darting runs from dummy half. From the ensuing plays second row forward Peter Mannion scored the first of his two tries. Waters converted and the deficit was reduced to 14 � 12.
The Knights showed why they are one of the form teams of the competition by hitting back straight away with another converted try, giving them a 20 - 12 lead going into the break.
During the break the coach told the players to be patient in attack and to cut out the unforced errors. He praised the all round work of the forward pack.
The players took the field for the second half with a spring in their step. The side went straight on the attack and fullback Shannon Gallant scored a try out wide, which was quickly followed by another try to winger Andrew Hill. Both tries were converted by Waters and the Magpies moved into the lead, 24 � 20.
The match was a tense affair for the remainder of the second half with the Magpies defence holding out the opposition with some last ditch tackling. Brendan Waters kicked a fine penalty goal, but with less than five minutes left on the clock the Knights scored a converted try, leveling the scores at 26 all. The Knights then received a controversial penalty and the following goal saw them take a two point lead into the dying stages of the game.
It should have been the match winner for the home side, but the boys from Western Suburbs were not going to be denied this day. After a bumping run by centre Warren Williams which took him to within centimetres of the try line, the ball was raked free in a one on one tackle. The ball rolled across the try line and the alert Peter Mannion dived onto the loose ball. The referee conferred with the touch judge and awarded the try for the Magpies to hit the front 30 � 28, and secure the two points for the Black and Whites. It was a fitting reward for good performance by the entire team in a cracker of game of football.
Best for the Magpies � Ben WEIR, Kerry SMITH, Faitotoa ASA and Sam HOARE.
Scorers for the Magpies � Peter MANNION 2 tries, Shannon GALLANT 1 try, Andrew HILL 1 try, Brendan WATERS 1 try and 4 goals, Warren WILLIAMS 1 goal.
Scoreline; 4-0 Try McManus for Knights 6-0 Goal Dureau for Knights 6-4 Try Waters for Magpies 6-6 Goal Williams for Magpies 10-6 Try Wooden for Knights 14-6 Try Walsh for Knights 14-10 Try Mannion for Magpies 14-12 Goal Waters for Magpies 18-12 Try Dureau for Knights 20-12 Goal Dureau for Knights 20-16 Try Gallant for Magpies 20-18 Goal Waters for Magpies 20-22 Try Hill for Magpies 20-24 Goal Waters for Magpies 24-24 Try Dureau for Knights 26-24 Goal Dureau for Knights 26-26 Goal Waters for Magpies 28-26 Goal Dureau for Knights 28-30 Try Mannion for Magpies