Western Suburbs Magpies have bounced back with a good win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs in their Round 11 Canterbury Cup clash today at Redfern Oval — running out 30-18 winners.
Having dropped out of the top four in recent weeks with a winless three weeks, Western Suburbs were made to work hard for the two points but showed too much class for their opponents, with the win putting the Magpies back in to fourth.
Brett Hodgson's side found themselves behind early after Jack Johns broke through the line before rounding the fullback to score, with Dean Hawkins converting from in front to give the hosts an early 6-0 advantage after as many minutes.
Wests would hit back in the 10th minute when Robbie Rochow and Mahe Fonua showed good hands on the right to put Harry O'Toole over, with Kauri Aupouri converting from the sideline in windy conditions to level the match.
Off the back of some good field position, the Magpies would hit the lead through Aupouri after a sharp long ball from Elijah Taylor close to the line, before Tyson Gamble and Luke Garner combined for the forward to crash over the line.
It was an emotional try for the back-rower, after a minute's silence at the start of the game following the sudden passing of his father Mark last Sunday.
Aupouri's sharp kicking in windy conditions extended the score to 18-8, before the Rabbitohs hit back through Bayley Sironen to cut the lead to six points at half-time.
A strong run from Bilal Maarbani would put Wests back on the front foot to start the second, and it didn't take long for points to follow as Fonua crashed over out wide.
The two sides would trade tries in an end-to-end period as Leigh Higgins and Joseph Ratuvakacereivalu crossed for their respective teams, before a penalty goal from the boot of Aupouri would put Wests up by 12 points with less than 10 minutes remaining — essentially ensuring the much-needed two points for Hodgson's men.
Having made his NRL debut just two weeks prior, Oliver Clark finished with impressive numbers with a team-high 159 metres from 16 carries in 43 minutes while Elijah Taylor chalked up 109 metres and a try-assist along with 32 tackles.
Wests will look to make it back-to-back wins when they take on the St. George-Illawarra Dragons next Sunday at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Western Suburbs Magpies 30 (O'Toole, Aupouri, Garner, Fonua, Ratuvakacereivalu tries; Aupouri 5/6 goals) def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 (Johns, Sironen, Higgins tries; Hawkins 3/3 goals) at Redfern Oval
Match: Rabbitohs v Magpies
Round 11 -
Venue: Metricon High Performance Centre, Sydney