North Sydney Bears 32 | Western Suburbs Magpies 10

Bears tries: Tom Freebairn 2, Billy Smith 2, Kieren Moss, James Tuitahi

Bears Conversions: Brock Lamb 4, Drew Hutchison 1

Magpies Tries: Kane McQuiggin, Watson Heleta

Magpies Conversions: Jock Madden

Hannah McGrory

The North Sydney Bears have made a statement over the Western Suburbs Magpies with a 32-10 victory at Campbelltown Stadium to claim the Jason Taylor Cup.

The Bears showed resilience after being defeated 32-10 by the Warriors last week and have broken their three-game losing streak.

The direction and leadership shown from the Bears halves combination, set them up to the 22- point win. Five-eighth Lachlan Lam returned following a wrist injury with Drew Hutchison shifting to the second row.

The Magies were missing playmaker Josh Reynolds which showed as they struggled to create attacking opportunities.

Bears five-eighth, Lam was rapt with the team effort displayed especially following three consecutive losses. His return comes following eight weeks on the sideline, after suffering a fractured wrist.

“It’s unreal (to get the win), I’ve been away from the boys for 8 weeks and to come back in my first full game in a while the boys really turned up. The first half set us up for the rest of the game, it was awesome to get the win,” expressed Lam following the win.

The Bears had a solid defensive display after they defended their line following three sets in a row. Bears winger Bernard Lewis was again tested under the high ball and redeemed himself, after unsuccessfully taking the catch earlier on.

In the 16th minute, the Bears forced a goal line drop out, leading to their first points of the game through Tom Freebairn. Halfback Brock Lamb put in a deft grubber as Freebairn crossed to open up the scoring. Lamb successfully converted to give his side a 6- nil lead.

The home side were dealt with a blow after their captain Robbie Rochow, came off for a HIA in 25th minute.

Back-to-back penalties were awarded to the Bears before Billy Smith found space down the left edge to score their second of the day. Pressure from the crowd didn’t shy Lamb away as he successfully converted, to give his team a 12-nil lead.

Opportunity struck again for the Bears as centre Billy Smith, went over for his second of the day. Smith chased through a kick down the middle of the field before kicking a grubber to the in-goal area before scoring again down the left-hand side. Lamb’s kick was waved away as it swung to the right of the posts.

Pressure was applied from the Wests Magpies team in next set before a penalty was awarded to the Bears. The visitors capitalised on the opportunity with Hutchinson offloading to Lam, who then ran straight through the defensive line and was tackled 10 metres out. Hutchinson was amongst the action again after putting in a brilliant grubber to his fullback Kieran Moss, who crossed for a four-pointer. Lamb successfully converted to assist his side go into half time with a dominant 22-nil  lead.

Wests Magpies captain Robbie Rochow returned to the field after passing his HIA. In the opening minutes of the second half, Magpies lost Henry Lealuga- Puhotau who required a HIA.

In the 55th minute, the Wests Magpies managed to score their first four-pointer of the game through Kane McQuiggin, however the conversion was unsuccessful as Bears remained in the lead 22-4.

Defensive pressure continued to be applied by the Bears throughout the second half, before centre James Tuitahi’s quick step found a gap and scored. Lamb’s kick was waved away as the Bears remained in the lead 26-4.

Twelve minutes later, Tom Freebairn was in for his second of the match. Hutchison took over kicking duties and successfully converted to extend the lead out to 32-4.

A consolation try was scored by the Wests Magpies in the 75th minute through centre Watson Heleta with Jock Madden converting.

The North Sydney Bears will face Newtown Jets next week with the Western Suburbs Magpies taking on Wentworthville.