Western Suburbs have produced a strong performance to down the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 26-18 in their Round 14 Intrust Super Premiership clash today.
Falling behind early in the match, the Magpies rallied back with three tries in 10 minutes to quickly control the contest off the back of some slick attacking play from young playmaker Tyson Gamble in particular.
And after letting a commanding half-time lead slip in three previous tight defeats this season, Brett Hodgson's side were determined to ensure the two points remained in their clasp, producing a strong defensive performance in the second half to preserve their lead and eventually walk away triumphant.
The win sees Western Suburbs consolidate their spot inside the top four of the Intrust Super Premiership competition, temporarily moving in to second position on the ladder with several teams on the bye.
In wet and tough conditions at Leichhardt Oval, it was the Sea Eagles who started the match in ideal fashion with some slick handling from Cade Cust and Jade Anderson putting Joey Lussick over the line.
Jackson Hastings converted from in front to give the visitors a 6-0 lead after just three minutes of play, but it didn't take long for the home side to click in to their attacking rhythm with a flurry of quick points.
At the heart of it all was Gamble, who scored his side's first when a fortuitous kick bounced back in to his arms close to the line before featuring heavily in a quick fire double for Braden Robson — the second of which saw the Magpies go 100m in a set with a clever chip kick and diving finish out wide.
Despite the misery weather and potentially poor handling, Hodgson's side were producing a high quality brand of attacking football, and deservedly raced to a 16-6 lead inside the opening 20 minutes.
The Magpies were dealt a blow when fullback Watson Heleta limped off with a suspected hamstring injury midway through the first half, and that would prove to be a key momentum shift for the Sea Eagles, who soon struck back as Cust found out stand-in fullback Lucas Price with his positioning off a kick.
Just rolling it in behind the line down the short side, Cust found Tevita Funa who strolled over off with the perfect bounce to cut the hosts lead to just four points after Hastings converted from out wide.
Leading 16-12 at half-time, Western Suburbs restored their two-try advantage soon after the break when clever work from Jacob Liddle created space down the short side to send Harry O'Toole over out wide.
Gamble was unable to convert from the sideline, leaving the Magpies' lead at 20-12 after 48 minutes.
Filling in at the back for Heleta, Price would bounce back from his earlier error in defence and put the home side two tries in front with a lovely cut-out pass close to the line putting Robson over untouched.
Gamble would convert Robson's hat-trick try from the sideline, pushing Wests' lead out to 14 points.
Blacktown would throw the ball around late to try and create some momentum, and would cross in the waning moments of the match through Fred Mauala but it would be too little too late for the visitors, who would be left to rue their poor handling throughout the second half as Wests walked away with the win.
Western Suburbs Magpies 26 (Robson 3, Gamble, O'Toole tries; Gamble 3/5 goals) def. Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 18 (Lussick, Funa, Mauala tries; Hastings 3/3 goals) at Leichhardt Oval