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Pathways Report: Knock-On Effect NSW Cup

With a young, talented and exciting squad, Western Suburbs Magpies were the team to watch in 2021 — producing plenty of fireworks on the field throughout the season.

Ben Gardiner’s men scored more points than any other team across the competition — making themselves the most exciting team to watch.

They finished the year in second position on the ladder with nine wins, four losses and one draw, and if not for COVID-19 forcing the competition to be halted for a second-straight season, the Magpies would’ve gone close to claiming the premiership — if not winning the whole thing.

This young side went nine games undefeated in the middle of the campaign — producing wins against some of the best teams in the competition.

Halfback Jock Madden finished the season as the competition’s top point-scorer with 130 points from eight tries and 49 goals across 13 matches.

Not only did Madden control his side around the park throughout the season, but he also recorded six try assists, seven line-break assists, forced seven dropouts and made 200 tackles.

The optimistic sign for Wests Tigers Members and fans is that there is plenty of talent coming through the grades and the future is bright.

In fact, six Magpies players went on to make their NRL debuts in 2021 — Madden, Jake Simpkin, Tuki Simpkins, Kelma Tuilagi, Junior Pauga and Zac Cini.

35 Down: Ben Gardiner


Ladder position — 2nd

Wins — 9

Draws — 1

Losses — 4

Points scored — 422 (1st)

Points conceded — 294 (3rd fewest)

Home record — 5-2 (1 draw)

Away record — 4-2

Players used — 43


The most memorable game of the season came in Round 10 against the Bears at North Sydney Oval.

Playing under lights on a Thursday night prime time TV game — the day before Magic Round kicked off — Wests produced a convincing 36-16 triumph despite facing plenty of adversity in the lead up to the match.

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.

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.

2021 NSW Cup Highlights: Rd.10, Magpies vs. Bears


With an emerging squad at Wests Tigers, the reserve grade team is primed to have another successful season.

There’s an abundance of young talent filtering through the grades, giving coach Ben Gardiner plenty of options next year.

With the 2020 and 2021 seasons suspended due to COVID-19, the Magpies and the entire competition will be hoping for a full season in 2022.


Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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