Western Suburbs Magpies have flown out of the blocks and not looked back, downing the Newcastle Knights 50-6 in their Knock On Effect NSW Cup clash today at McDonald Jones Stadium.
After tight losses to the Raiders and Bears to start the season, Ben Gardiner's side showed plenty of attacking promise in the lopsided victory — running in five unanswered first half tries to emerge with their first win of the year.
Young NRL squad members Zac Cini, Jock Madden and Jake Simpkin all impressed in the contest while a near-perfect completion rate throughout the contest helped the Magpies dominate their opponents in all facets of the game.
Gardiner's men will look to make it back-to-back wins next week when they take on the Wentworthville Magpies at Stadium Australia on Easter Monday.
Match: Knights v Magpies
Round 3 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Veteran centre Joey Leilua attracted plenty of attention throughout the contest and came within a whisker of opening the scoring after nine minutes, but his quick play-the-ball allowed Simpkin to crash over in the ensuing tackle.
Simpkin's fourth try of the year saw the Magpies in front early on, and it could have been two in as many minutes when Kelma Tuilagi broke through the next set — only to be dragged down just short of the try-line.
The Development Player wouldn't have to wait long to get his first try of the year, however, with Zach Dockar-Clay sending the Glenora Bears junior over after 18 minutes, with Madden converting to give the visitors a 10-0 lead.
In sunny conditions at Newcastle, the Magpies were starting to flex their attacking muscle and soon bagged their third try of the day with Kiah Cooper collecting a Madden kick to stroll over untouched — capping off a strong run from Zac Cini earlier in the set to give the visitors good field position.
A Knights junior, Madden's second conversion pushed the lead to 16-0 as the halfback continued to cause all sorts of problems for his old side.
A fourth try for Western Suburbs just before half-time seemingly put the game to bed as Madden and Cini combined on the left edge to put interchange forward Edenn Rogers-Smith over next to the posts and put the lead to 22-0.
Leilua's sharp hands in the final play of the half would ensure there would be more points to come for the Magpies, with the two-time Dally M Centre of the Year linking with Cooper down the left before an inside kick for Madden saw him bag his first try of the day — taking his first-half points tally to 12 and the visitors' lead to 28-0.
It didn't take Western Suburbs long to start the scoring after half-time with 20-year-old Reece Hoffman bagging his try of 2021 following a good pass from Madden.
Strong scrambling defence from the Magpies ensured their try-line remained preserved and they once again turned that into points at the other end — Simpkin turning provider as Tuilagi's hit-and-spin resulted in his second try of the game.
It would take a Wests error for Newcastle to get on the scoreboard as McKenzie Baker scooped up an error from Madden to run the best part of 80m to score, but that did little to stop the momentum for the home side.
Unselfish play from Hoffman saw Allan Fitzgibbon cross untouched in the corner to make it two tries in two weeks, before Leilua's remarkable flick pass in the dying minutes allowed Cooper to bag his second try of the afternoon as the Magpies posted the half century and their first win of the year.
Western Suburbs Magpies 50 (Tuilagi 2, Cooper 2, Rogers-Smith, Madden, Hoffman, Fitzgibbon tries; Madden 7/9 goals) def. Newcastle Knights 6 (Baker tries; Sasagi 1/1 goals) at McDonald Jones Stadium