A stirring second half comeback from the Western Suburbs Magpies has seen them down the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 32-26 on Saturday afternoon at Lottoland.
Trailing by 12 points in the second half and on the verge of a fourth straight defeat, the Magpies clicked in to gear with some stirring defensive pressure to put them on the attack, and it was the class of Jacob Liddle, Pita Godinet and Tyson Gamble in the spine that got the visitors home in the end.
The win sees Western Suburbs back in the hunt for a top four finish in the Intrust Super Premiership competition, with tough away trips in the next fortnight against the Panthers (1st) and Mounties (2nd).
In an entertaining opening 20 minutes that only failed to produce any points, it was the visitors who eventually opened the scoring after 25 minutes as Liddle broke away from inside his own half to send Godinet over under the posts. Off the back of that try, the game would suddenly come to life, with Blacktown Workers also finding their feet in attack — Tevita Funa and Tom Wright breaking the Magpies open on a number of occasions to put the home side back in the lead heading in to half-time.
Wright, in particular, was causing the right edge defence of the Magpies all sorts of problems with his quick feet, and the visitors were somewhat fortunate to head in to the half-time break only down by six.
The fleet-footed Sea Eagles playmaker would continue his good form early in the second half as he collected an intercept from Jonathan Wright to burn the cover defence and score untouched — giving the home side an 18-6 lead that was well-deserved for their dominance in the match so far.
However, the visitors weren't going away, and off the back of Godinet's second try in the match, began to claw their way back in to the contest with several strong turnover tackles in defence.
Gamble would be awarded a somewhat fortuitous four-pointer in the 52nd minute to level the match, but there would be nothing controversial about the following 15-minute spell from Western Suburbs, with Liddle again starring as his side began to run away with the contest at Lottoland.
The young gun hooker would catch the defence out in the 58th minute to put the Magpies back in front, before again breaking the line to allow Malakai Watene-Zelezniak to crash his way over soon after.
Blacktown tried desperately to stay with the Magpies, but when Harry O'Toole collected a kick from Funa and raced over 100 metres to score at the other end of the field, it was all over bar the shouting.
Vai Toutai would crash over late for the Sea Eagles after a clever pass from Jade Anderson before Folau grabbed his second in the dying moments of the game, but their efforts would be nothing more than a consolation prize for the disappointed home side as the full-time sounded at Lottoland.
Western Suburbs will take on the top-of-the-table Panthers next Sunday at Penrith in a match that will have huge bearings on the final make up of the regular season ladder with just four games left in the year.
Western Suburbs 32 (Godinet 2, Gamble, Liddle, Watene-Zelezniak, O'Toole tries; Gamble 1/1, Godinet 3/4, Aldridge 0/1 goals) def. Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles 26 (Folau 2, J.Wright, T.Wright, Toutai tries; Funa 3/5 goals) at Lottoland