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Magpies tough run to finals

Magpies tough run to finals (Photo : Steve Montgomery)
Magpies tough run to finals (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Magpies tough run to finals

Author : Sean Teuma NewsCorp Sport

Magpies tough run to finals

Young Magpies outfit prepares for intense run home on the way to the SG Ball Cup finals

A youthful Western Suburbs Magpies SG Ball side is coming off its biggest win of the season, and while they’re not getting swept up in the hype, they want to make another statement against Newcastle.

THEY’VE endured one of the toughest SG Ball Cup draws to date, and life doesn’t get any easier for the Western Suburbs Magpies.

After spending the last fortnight on the road, they return home this weekend for another blockbuster clash against second-place Newcastle on Saturday in round six action.

Sitting in third position themselves, Wests recovered from a 40-12 hammering in Canberra, to knocking off Penrith and ending their unbeaten run.

”It caught us off guard,”

“That was a shock to the system (against the Raiders). It caught us off guard,” coach Joey Saukuru said.

“We turned it around last week and did quite well I thought. We led 12-10 at the break and that lead changed in the second half three or four times.

“We played the second half for 20 minutes with just 12 players. It was a big effort with two of our middles sent to the sin bin. We had to shuffle our players, but it was as gutsy effort as they come.”

Metuisela Taungatua running at the Sea Eagles line in round 1 (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Metuisela Taungatua running at the Sea Eagles line in round 1 (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

What makes that effort even more impressive is the youth within this Magpies team, with half of their squad and a majority of the starting side eligible to compete in the U19s again next year.

“I was recapping and realised in our starting 13 we had seven guys a year young,” he said.

“They’re learning a big role and they see that rise in level of football from Harold Matts.

“They know they’re in for it physically and in terms of football smarts, but to claw that one back is a good learning experience and for their development.

“We took that Canberra game as a lesson learned, to get back on the horse and get on with the job. Mature has been a key word for us this year.”

That maturity will need to be on show against the Knights at Campbelltown, their third successive game against an opponent starting the round in a top-three position.

Saukuru said it was too early to think about premierships just yet, with a challenging run home before the finals commence.

“It’s good to be back at home this week, and we know they’re going to be a tough opponent,” he said.

Heith Pritchard sends the Magpies SG Ball into another attack (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

Heith Pritchard sends the Magpies SG Ball into another attack (Photo : Steve Montgomery)

“We’re really looking to be consistent with our performance from last week, and we want to really get up for it and put our best foot forward.

“Our draw is really tough. We have Newcastle, then the Bulldogs which is always a close one. Norths are no longer the Norths of old, and then travelling to New Zealand. That’s as tough a draw as you can get.

“This week is a big one, knowing the calibre of the Knights and how they travel every year.”

More Coverage

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In what shapes as a must-win clash for both sides, the seventh-placed Magpies take on the Knights in Harold Matthews, who sit one spot below them.

With just four rounds of play to go before the post-season, a loss could very well put an end to the finals aspirations of one team.

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