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Western Suburbs Magpies have extended their winning streak to seven games with an impressive 36-16 victory against North Sydney Bears at North Sydney Oval.

It was a special win for Ben Gardiner’s men after the Magpies coach was forced to make 14 changes to his original line-up named on Tuesday due to COVID-19 protocols.

Reece Hoffman, Zach Dockar-Clay and Kelma Tuilagi were the only players to start in the positions they were named in with eight NRL squad members forced to sit out.

Seven Magpies players were on NSW Cup debut as Gardiner called on a number of Jersey Flegg players to step up to reserve grade.

Tuilagi was one of the standout players at the iconic venue as he scored two tries and ran for over 180 metres, however he was placed on report for a late hit in the first half.

Halfback Zach Dockar-Clay was also impressive as he had a hand in a number of tries, while Tuki Simpkins produced plenty of strong carries and big hits.

You wouldn’t have known it was a disruptive lead-up to the game for the Magpies, who raced out of the blocks to score four tries to one in the first half for a 24-4 lead.

Western Suburbs bagged the game’s opening try after nine minutes when Tom Freebairn assisted Hoffman, who ran a beautiful line to score his sixth try of the season.

They doubled their advantage six minutes later when NRL development player Tuilagi spun his way through the defensive to score.

The Bears were next to score after they shifted the ball towards the right for Tom Carr to cross, however he was unsuccessful with his own conversion as the Magpies led 12-4.

The visitors extended their lead to 14 points when Joseph Taipari grubbered for himself and regathered to score his first NSW Cup try.

Young forward Simpkins also crossed for his maiden try in reserve grade when Dockar-Clay sent him through a hole for a 20-point advantage.

The home side were first to score after the break with Naufahu Whyte crashing over to close their deficit to 14 points.

The Magpies hit back moments later when Tuilagi crashed over for his second try of the evening for a 30-10 lead.

Taipari bagged his second try of the night after cleaning up a Zach Dockar-Clay grubber kick with 12 minutes remaining.

The 26-point win consolidated Western Suburbs’ second-place position on the ladder following 10 rounds.

Western Suburbs Magpies 36 (Tuilagi 2, Taipari 2, Hoffman, Simpkins tries; Dockar-Clay 6/6 goals) def. North Sydney Bears 16 (Carr 2, Whyte tries; Carr 2/4 goals) at North Sydney Oval.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Bears is number 1 Brad Abbey
    Fullback for Magpies is number 4 Israel Ogden
  • Winger for Bears is number 2 Tom Carr
    Winger for Magpies is number 19 Logen Dillon
  • Centre for Bears is number 3 Josh Bergamin
    Centre for Magpies is number 3 Reece Hoffman
  • Centre for Bears is number 4 Tony Satini
    Centre for Magpies is number 17 Fetalaiga Pauga
  • Winger for Bears is number 5 Sione Hopoate
    Winger for Magpies is number 24 William Kei
  • Five-Eighth for Bears is number 6 Jesse Marschke
    Five-Eighth for Magpies is number 14 Joseph Taipari
  • Halfback for Bears is number 7 Josh Ralph
    Halfback for Magpies is number 7 Zach Dockar-Clay

Forwards

  • Prop for Bears is number 8 Max Bailey
    Prop for Magpies is number 16 Austin Dias
  • Hooker for Bears is number 9 Shannon Gardiner
    Hooker for Magpies is number 15 Tom Freebairn
  • Prop for Bears is number 10 Michael Fenn
    Prop for Magpies is number 22 Etuale Lui
  • 2nd Row for Bears is number 11 Harrison Edwards
    2nd Row for Magpies is number 12 Kelma Tuilagi
  • 2nd Row for Bears is number 12 Naufahu Whyte
    2nd Row for Magpies is number 20 Regan Hughes
  • Lock for Bears is number 13 Jerry Key
    Lock for Magpies is number 11 Tukimihia Simpkins

Interchange

  • Interchange for Bears is number 14 Thomas Deakin
    Interchange for Magpies is number 18 Mavoni Tuifua
  • Interchange for Bears is number 15 Elia Faatui
    Interchange for Magpies is number 21 Kell O'Brien
  • Interchange for Bears is number 17 Ben Thomas
    Interchange for Magpies is number 23 Daniel Sykes
  • Interchange for Bears is number 18 Tevita Alifa
    Interchange for Magpies is number 26 Kurtis Preece

Reserves

  • Reserve for Bears is number 21 Jack Morris
    Reserve for Magpies is number 10 Billy Stapleton

Match Officials

  • Referee: Jake Sutherland
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Touch Judge: Nathan Loveday

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