Magpies continue strong start to the year with dominant victory
Western Suburbs Magpies have continued their strong start to 2018 by demolishing the New Zealand Warriors today at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Already sitting in first place prior to this afternoon's match, the commanding 32-0 win from Brett Hodgson's side ensures they remain on top of the Intrust Super Premiership ladder after five rounds with a clash against the winless North Sydney Bears next up on the schedule in Round 6.
Josh Drinkwater got the match off to the perfect start with a 40/20 inside the opening few minutes of the game, and while that play didn't directly lead to points for the home side, it didn't take long for the Magpies to open the scoring as captain Luke Garner continued his strong start to the year to crash over.
Drinkwater added the extras to give the hosts a 6-0 lead after 15 minutes.
The halfback would double the lead soon after when he collected a short ball close to the line, before capping off a brilliant first half with a pin-perfect kick for winger David Nofoaluma, who turned the ball back on the inside for his second try in as many weeks to give Western Suburbs an 18-0 lead.
With time winding down in the first half, Drinkwater attempted a monster penalty goal on halfway and stunned the crowd at Campbelltown with a successful conversion — taking the score to 20-0 at the break.
Having left his mark all over the first half, Drinkwater continued to cause havoc for the Warriors defence six minutes in to the second stanza when his grubber close to the line was scooped up by Tyson Gamble.
Once again, the halfback made no mistake with his conversion to give Wests a dominant 26-0 lead.
The Warriors would battle hard throughout the match as they looked to claw their way back in to the contest, but a combination of handling errors and sturdy Magpies defence would ensure they remained tryless for the entire 80 minutes — giving Wests their first shut-out victory of the 2018 season.
Mahe Fonua would ensure the hosts finished on a positive note with another bullocking finish to end the match — taking his season tally to five tries in as many games and the Magpies to the top of the table.
Western Suburbs Magpies 32 (Garner, Drinkwater, Price, Gamble, Fonua tries; Drinkwater 5/6 goals) def. New Zealand Warriors 0 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium
TEAM LIST — 1. Watson Heleta 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Lucas Price 18. Braden Robson 5. Mahe Fonua 6. Tyson Gamble 7. Josh Drinkwater 8. JJ Felise 9. Matt McIlwrick 17. Tim Grant 11. Chris McQueen 12. Luke Garner 13. Patrice Siolo 14. Joseph Ratu 15. Bayley Sironen 16. Cowen Epere 19. Sam McIntyre