Magpies start strong in trial win over Bulldogs

Western Suburbs Magpies have begun their 2019 season with a solid 18-6 win over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in their Intrust Super Premiership trial today at Belmore Sports Ground.

With 11 contracted first-grade players and all four 2019 Development Players lining up for the Magpies, Brett Hodgson's side came out of the blocks quickly with a try inside the opening minute of the game and controlled the contest from there.

After today's good hit-out, Western Suburbs will travel across the ditch next weekend to face the New Zealand Warriors in Whangarei before kicking off the year against the Sea Eagles in Round 1 as part of a doubleheader at Leichhardt Oval.

It was Josh Aloiai who opened the scoring for the visitors less than 60 seconds in to the game when a short ball from Jacob Liddle allowed the prop to spin his way over under the posts, with Tyson Gamble converting from in front for an early 6-0 lead.

Liddle was again in the thick of the action shortly after with an impressive scoop and sprint from dummy half catching the Bulldogs out for another four-pointer.

Jock Madden's short kicking game was a standout in the first half, with the halfback desperately unlucky not to create a try for Mahe Fonua on the left edge after some sharp hands from Kane Bradley put the centre within a whisker of try-line.

Western Suburbs would eventually grab their third try on the half hour mark when a shift to the right saw Australian Schoolboy representative Tommy Talau dive over untouched — a reward for the winger's previous effort to earn a repeat set.

Windy and rainy conditions at Belmore made goal-kicking tough, with Gamble only able to add one of his three attempts to give the Magpies a 14-0 lead at the break.

Both sides rung in the changes for the second half, as Hodgson's side continued to control the content well with a strong breeze at their back and experience on field.

The visitors would finally make their dominance show on the scoreboard when Madden combined with Dylan Smith to put Bilaal Marbaani over in the corner with 15 minutes to play — giving the Magpies an 18-point advantage over the Bulldogs.

Canterbury would be rewarded for their efforts throughout the day with a try to Jesse Martin eight minutes from time as he burrowed over from dummy half, but it would matter little in the end as the Magpies walked away with the job done.

Western Suburbs Magpies 18 (Aloiai, Liddle, Talau, Marbaani tries; Gamble 1/4 goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6 (Martin tries; Finnegan 1/1 goals)