Match Report – Inaugural Jason Taylor Cup Goes to the Magpies After Dour Second Half

Image: Wests win the Jason Taylor Cup. Respective captains Billy Brittain & Luke Garner pose with the trophy - Campbelltown Stadium. Photo Steve Little.

The Western Suburbs Magpies have taken possession of the inaugural Jason Taylor Cup, after narrowly overcoming the North Sydney Bears 12-10 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in Round 15 of the Intrust Super Premiership NSW.

Minus regular No.6 Tyson Gamble – who was named to make his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers later in the afternoon – the Magpies’ two-point win moves the Brett Hodgson-coached side to third on the competition ladder.

Mounting a wave of early pressure, the Magpies found first points courtesy of Jacob Liddle’s darting run from dummy-half.

Splitting the Bears’ middle defenders, Liddle made the most of the opportunity that presented itself, and returning fullback Tui Lolohea slotted the ensuing shot on goal to see the Magpies to a 6-0 lead.

North Sydney took just four minutes to hit back and did so through winger Curtis Johnston. A right-to-left shift speared by five-eighth Connor Tracey had the veteran in to score, but Mawene Hiroti’s failed conversion saw the hosts maintain a two-point lead.

In a tit-for-tat first half, the Magpies found their second try when Harry O’Toole collected a spiralled pass from stand-in five-eighth, Bayley Sironen.

But again, the Bears responded quickly.

Assuming the No.9 from regular rake Robbie Farah, Billy Brittain showed his wares when he darted in for a try in response to O’Toole’s four-pointer.

Hiroti converted from near in front of the posts, again lessening the Bears’ deficit to just two points.

The Magpies took the 12-10 lead into the sheds at half-time.

Cool and blustery conditions greeted the players as they returned to the field, and handling the football proved tough in an error-riddled start to the second-half.

Neither side could rediscover the rhythm they had prior to the break, as ill-discipline on both sides of the ball made for tough viewing.

Hanging on to the lead in a dour, scoreless second period, the Magpies edged out a 12-10 win to sit third on the Intrust Super Premiership NSW ladder, 15 rounds played.

WESTERN SUBURBS MAGPIES 12 (tries: Jacob Liddle, Harrison O’Toole, conversions: Tu’imoala Lolohea 2),
defeated NORTH SYDNEY BEARS 10 (tries: Curtis Johnston, Billy Brittain, conversion: Mawene Hiroti).
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