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Magpies fall to Bears in wet and gritty clash

Western Suburbs Magpies have battled bravely but fallen short in their Round 2 Knock On Effect NSW Cup clash tonight, going down 24-16 to the North Sydney Bears at Campbelltown Stadium.

In wet and tough conditions at the suburban venue — which hosted the NRL clash earlier in the night — Ben Gardiner's side showed plenty of resilience in defence to force a number of errors off the Bears but couldn't make it count at the other end.

Young hooker Jake Simpkin was the standout for the home side, scoring his side's two tries before having a try assist disallowed in the second half, while NRL forwards Alex Seyfarth and Russell Packer got through plenty of work in the middle.

Simpkin got the scoring underway after just five minutes before the Bears hit back, scoring twice through Matt Ikuvalu and Harrison Edwards in the space of nine minutes to take a 10-6 lead after 20 minutes.

A clever late offload from Packer helped Simpkin grab his second and put the Bears back in front, but the lead didn't last long as Ben Thomas found his way over the line just before the break. 

Sam Walker slotted a penalty goal as the half-time siren sounded to give the visitors a 18-12 lead at the break, which would remain for the majority of the second half as both teams struggled with the wet and miserable conditions.

Eventually, Tukupa-Ke Hau Tapuha got the scoreboard ticking over again as he crashed over next to the posts with Walker pushing the Bears' lead out to 12 points.

Wests refused to go away, however, and kept themselves in the contest with a clever move to the right edge — Allan Fitzgibbon finishing it off in the corner to cut the lead to 24-16. Jock Madden was unable to land the sideline conversion, leaving the margin at a two-score game, which would hold until the end. 

North Sydney Bears 24 (Ikuvalu, Edwards, Thomas, Hau Tapuha tries; Walker 4/5 goals) def. Western Suburbs Magpies 16 (Simpkin 2, Fitzgibbon tries; Madden 2/3 goals)

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