The North Sydney Bears are back in the winner’s circle after a hard fought 16-8 win against the Wentworthville Magpies.
Coming off a game in New Zealand and a bye week, Norths fans and players alike were hungry for some home cooking at North Sydney Oval. The weather thankfully held off, the sun was out, and the boys were out to play in Red and Black.
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Greasy conditions hindered both teams from the kick off with plenty of handling errors. The Wentworthville forward pack was on song in the early stages of the game putting plenty of pressure on the Bears in their own territory.
The Magpies seemed to be on the front foot with Norths repeatedly holding off wave after wave of attack. The Bears defence stood strong, and when they did have the ball, Anthony Cherrington was in the thick of it handling the ball and chewing up the metres.
On the 20th minute, Wentworthville’s Gregory Leleisiuao darted from dummy half and took advantage of some tired defence up the middle to score in front of the fig tree. Dargan with the conversion gave the Magpies a 0-6 lead.
This would prove to be the wake-up call the Bears needed.
A timely penalty on half way found Norths knocking on the door 20 minutes out. Another penalty on the line was all Norths needed as dynamic half Eli Levido took control, nailing a cut out pass to Bears favourite Ed Murphy to go over in the corner. At 27 minutes down, Norths were back in it 4-6.
The Bears were rolling and were quickly back on the attack. Then enter Abbas Miski. A line break down the Wenty edge brought the Bears back into enemy territory. It was again a Levido cut out pass that put that man Miski over in acrobatic fashion as he went air born, grounding the ball just inside the touchline, one of the finishes of the season. The Bears were on the front foot 8-6.
Miski had one last show before the half defusing a tricky bomb to help the boys in red and black stay on top going into the half time break.
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The Bears came out of the sheds a bit rusty with plenty of handling errors. The Magpies were much the same but managed to turn a penalty into two points after just 5 minutes into the half the score was 8-8.
Fortune was not favouring Norths with unlucky penalties and sloppy ball handling. Yet 55 minutes in, repeat sets gave the Bears a chance to respond, forcing the penalty from Wentworthville. Eli Levido with the goal put his team up 10-8.
Levido and Miski were back at it again with a bust down the left flank, laying the platform for another siege in front of the Molly Dive faithful.
The mounting pressure came to a climax with 20 left on the clock as Magpies fullback Honeti Tuha was stripped one on one off a kick return. With Norths in the 20, the next set was clinical yet didn’t yield any points but would maintain this field position.
At 72 minutes in, a lucky penalty on the last tackle from an accidental offside opened up an easy two pointer for Levido. The kick was successful, Bears lead 12-8.
The lead was tight with 5 to go, but you guessed it, that man Miski sealed the deal, benefiting from a smooth set play to put him over in the left corner in front of the Bears die-hards. The oval erupted with a sigh of relief and euphoria.
The Big Black Bears were back on the road again, 16-8 victors and into 4th position on the NSW Intrust Super Premiership ladder.
The Bears go into hibernation for another bye week before they face up against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs on Sunday the 25th of June back at historic North Sydney Oval, see you there!
NORTH SYDNEY BEARS 16 (tries: Ed Murphy, Abbas Miski 2), defeated
WENTWORTHVILLE MAGPIES 8 (try: Gregory Leleisiuao, conversion: Troy Dargan).
1 Braidon Burns
2 Sitiveni Moceidreke
3 Edward Murphy
4 Robert Jennings
5 Abbas Miski
6 Eli Levido
7 Luke Kelly
8 David Tyrrell
15 Piki Rogers
19 Anthony Cherrington
11 Cameron Murray
12 Brett Greinke
20 Jason Clark
9 Bradley Deitz
10 Clayton Williams
13 Cheyne Whitelaw
14 Toby Rudolf