The VB NSW Cup resumed after representative honours with an explosive Round 9 of footy action full of major ramifications for the competition ladder.
The Newtown Jets spoiled Russell Packer’s highly-anticipated return to rugby league in downing the Illawarra Cutters 26-10. Newtown winger Jacob Gagan came off the bench to score two tries in three minutes for the Jets to break a 10-all deadlock and earn their first victory in three matches.
The Wests Tigers stole a thrilling 28-24 victory over the Wyong Roos to keep their season revival alive. Wests Tigers halfback Josh Drinkwater was superb in his side’s second consecutive victory that lifted them to sixth on the competition ladder. Wyong looked to have sealed the match before Wests Tigers centre David Nofoaluma scored a dramatic try on the stroke of fulltime to steal the win.
It wasn’t pretty but the Newcastle Knights clinched the two competition points with a 26-22 victory over the last-placed North Sydney Bears. In a match riddled with errors and scrappy play, the Knights led 26-16 before a brief scare in the final two minutes when the Bears scored to cut the deficit to four points. However, behind Chanel Mata’utia’s two-try effort, Newcastle held on for their third-straight victory to climb to fourth on the ladder, tied for 12 competition points with the New Zealand Warriors.
The Warriors overcame a 10-8 deficit with a powerful five-try second-half performance to defeat the Manly Sea Eagles 36-22 at Henson Park. Warriors halfback Mason Lino was outstanding for the visitors in their second road win of the season. The loss snaps Manly’s two-game win streak with their season slowly slipping away.
Wentworthville also find themselves languishing at the bottom of the table after falling 16-4 against a gritty Penrith Panthers side. Caught in the middle of an injury crisis, the Panthers were forced to play several players out of position in a gutsy performance. Sitting in second place on the ladder, Penrith were too strong in defence as they repeatedly repelled the Magpies’ efforts featuring the likes of last year’s leading try scorer, Bureta Faraimo, Adam Quinlan, Vai Toutai and new-sensation John Folau.
Mounties rebounded from their first loss of the season to remain atop the ladder after demolishing the Canterbury Bulldogs 58-18. The hapless Bulldogs had no answers as halfback Mitch Cornish led Mounties to a 12-try scoring barrage in a man-of-the-match performance. After a promising start to the season. Canterbury have lost their past four matches and will need to quickly turn their season around to remain on track for the Finals before it’s too late.