The high-flying Western Suburbs Rosellas sent another strong message to their Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League (Real NRL) rivals that they’re a genuine title contender in 2021.
After a poor start to the season, the Rosellas have been unbeaten for the past two months and knocked over the second-placed Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 12-8 at Harker Oval on Sunday.
But, it was a hard slog to do so.
The Butcher Boys grabbed an early 2-0 lead on the back of a Luke Walsh penalty.
Wests didn’t hit the front until the 32nd minute when second-rower Liam Wiscombe touched down. Logan Radzievic added the extras for a 6-2 advantage.
Almost immediately, centre Ryan Walker also found his way to the tryline, much to Central’s dismay.
Radzievic was on target again, to extend the margin to 12-2 at the break.
The Butcher Boys tried valiantly to hit back, however they had no luck until the 62nd minute when replacement Kyle Avery dived over. Randall Briggs soon made it 12-8.
It set up an exciting finish, but the Rosellas were resolute in defence.
Wests, under the tutelage of former NRL premiership-winner Todd Lowrie, now seem set to challenge for the crown, alongside frontrunners Maitland Pickers, defending premiers Cessnock Goannas, Macquarie Scorpions and the Butcher Boys.
Meanwhile, it was a dour hit-out at the Kurri Kurri Sportsground on Saturday, with the Scorpions upstaging the hosts 16-4.
The visitors began like “a house on fire” as winger Ro Buaserau (10th), Andrew Sumner (19th) and Fletcher Myers (22nd) all crossed for tries by the mid-way mark of the first half.
Kerrod Holland landed two goals for the 16-0 lead.
The game opened up somewhat soon after when Michael Steele (Kurri Kurri) and Royce Geoffrey (Macquarie) were ordered to the sin bin.
The Bulldogs made the most of the opportunity to send winger Kade Hardy over in the corner to reduce the gap to 16-4.
Surprisingly, neither side could breach the other’s defence in the final 55 minutes, although both had strong chances to do so, the score remaining unchanged at full-time.
COVID draws were awarded to the Pickers and Lakes United Seagulls; South Newcastle Lions and The Entrance Tigers; and the Wyong Roos and Goannas.
Tooheys Newcastle Rugby League
Round 14 results:
Western Suburbs Rosellas 12 (Liam Wiscombe, Ryan Walker tries; Logan Radzievic 2 goals) defeated Central Newcastle Butcher Boys 8 (Kyle Avery try; Randall Briggs, Luke Walsh goals)
Macquarie Scorpions 16 (Ro Buaserau, Andrew Sumner, Fletcher Myers tries; Kerrod Holland 2 goals) defeated Kurri Kurri Bulldogs 4 (Kade Hardy try)
Maitland Pickers v Lakes United Seagulls – COVID draw
South Newcastle Lions v The Entrance Tigers – COVID draw
Wyong Roos v Cessnock Goannas – COVID draw
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