The first round of the VB NSW Cup was quite entertaining overall with some surprising results and new stars emerging. Some teams faltered, some teams fought back and some teams showed resilience to hold on and win or make something of the game.
Without further adieu, here are the results and a little overall wrap of each game:
New Zealand Warriors 26 (Matthew Allwood, Api Pewhairangi, Sam Cook, Sione Lousi, James Bell tries; Pewhairangi 2, Cook goals) def. Newcastle Knights 18 (Josh Allison, Danny Kerr, Jake Finn tries; Kerr 3 goals).
Ricky’s View: It is early days but it looks like former Warriors halfback Stacey Jones has the Warriors side firing early. New recruit Matt Allwood got on the scoresheet, as the Warriors dug deep and hung on for a win. The Knights can take heart from the performance and will get better, especially with some key players to return in coming weeks.
Wests Tigers 24 (John Sila 3, Kurtis Rowe, Salesi Funaki tries; Josh Drinkwater 2 goals) def. Newtown Jets 14 (Blake Judd, Sami Sauiluma, Junior Roqica tries; Todd Murphy goal).
Ricky’s View: The Jets may have received the bulk of the penalties but somehow, it was the Wests Tigers who found a way to win. Sila was impressive on the wing with a hat-trick, all on the back of a dominant team display and a mountain of field position.
Mounties 22 (Gus Aiga, Sam Duggan, Glen Buttriss, Kurt Baptiste tries; Sam Williams 3 goals) def. Illawarra Cutters 20 (Tyrone Cranston 2, Charly Runciman, Euan Aitken tries; Peter Mata’utia 2 goals)
Ricky’s View: A nail-biter of a clash! Even Steven for much of the game, neither side looked like running away with the game or asserting dominance and ultimately, it was Mounties who held on for a narrow victory despite a late Cutters try.
Wyong Roos 34 (Yileen Gordon 2, Matt Ikuvalu, Magnus Stromquist, Leivahu Pulu, Jack Seijka tries; Tyler Cornish 5 goals) def. Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 8 (Ben Fritz, Brayden Williame tries)
Ricky’s View: A good early start for the Roos, as their affiliation with the Roosters seems to be helping their cause. Rip Taylor’s side raced out of the blocks and were too strong for the Manly side. A lot of last years’ Roos players stepping up and performing admirably.
Penrith Panthers 26 (Kieran Moss, Apisai Koroisau, Will Smith, Isaac John, Ben Murdoch-Masila tries; Adrian Davis 2, Smith goals) def. Canterbury Bulldogs 20 (Corey Thompson, Adam Elliott, Chase Stanley, Tyrone Phillips tries; Stanley 2 goals).
Ricky’s View: The defending premiers kick-started things with a solid win over the Bulldogs. Boasting an experienced side, the Panthers will set the benchmark again and it was new recruit Apisai Koroisau who shone. Despite a late fightback by the Dogs, it was not enough for them to win the game.
North Sydney Bears 30 (Dane Chang, Setefano Taukafa, Brad Wall, Scott Sorenson, Jesse Roberts tries; Nikko Roberts 5 goals) def. Wentworthville Magpies 16 (Bureta Faraimo, Pauli Pauli, Ben Crooks tries; Luke Kelly 2 goals).
Ricky’s View: Perhaps the upset of the round, with the Bears beating the Magpies. Wentworthville also boast some experience in their side but it was the young, budding brigade of the Bears that won the ultimate prize. In his first game for the Bears, Setefano Taukafa was the star with line-breaks galore and a try.