Westfields Sports High strong comeback to beat Hills Sports High
Author : William Tyson Daily Telegraph
Last year’s Schoolboy Cup grand finalists Westfields Sports High kicked off its new campaign with a comeback win over Hills Sports High. Watch the replay here.
Explosive hooker Ola Samu inspired Westfields to fight back from an 18-point deficit and beat rivals Hills 26-18 in Round 1 of the NRL Schoolboy Cup.
The 2020 semi-final re-match was always going to be a thriller.
Both sides showed great attacking flair throughout, but Hills dominated the first half at Ringrose Park.
Winger Siaosi Kaliti and fullback Blake Metcalfe scored in the opening ten minutes, and halfback Tylor Bunting quickly followed suit.
Suddenly, Hills were sitting on a comfortable 18-0 lead.
But Westfields were undeterred by the scoreboard and patient fullback Carson Kaho was able to put Jarvis Leafa over just before half time.
Trailing 18-6, Westfields had their work cut out for them in the second half.
Hooker Samu made an instant impact, scoring two tries – one to keep Westfields within reach and another to snatch the lead.
“We knew we needed to work more, if we kept playing soft they’d just run over the top of us” Westfields’ prop Ropeti Lole said.
“We were playing individually, whereas we should have been playing as a team, we just got it done in the second half. We were feeding off the energy from the crowd” Kaho said.
Big Solomone Saukuru was damaging at centre – he had the vocal Westfields’ crowd shouting “Solo! Solo!” each time he screamed through a hole.
Rangy winger Cooper Sinclair was also dangerous. The youngster – who starred for Parramatta in this year’s Harold Matthews Cup – was brilliant in the air and scored an exciting 70-metre intercept try to seal the deal for Westfields.
Young five-eighth Lachlan Galvin also crossed in the exciting second half surge.
“With our two halves being out, both (Galvin and Heath Pritchard) really stepped up, especially being in Year 10” Kaho said.
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Despite their second half slump, there was plenty to like about the Hills outfit.
Metcalfe was a clear stand out at fullback – he was safe under the highball and made multiple impressive line breaks.
Bunting and Cassius Tia have the potential to create one of the strongest halves combinations in the competition.
Both kids starred in this year’s Harold Matthews Cup – when they click, they’ll be unstoppable.
And big boys like Vena Patuki Case never gave up.
Co-captain Billy Scott said that maintaining intensity for a full 60 minutes will be a major priority heading into Round 2.
“We were playing to our structures, playing to our game, we were doing that well for the first half. We just made a couple of silly errors and let them back into the game,” Scott said.
“We’ve got weeks to go, we’ve still got finals, there’s a lot for us to learn.”
Wednesday 5 May
Holy Cross College 30 defeated All Saints College @ Cessnock Sportsground
Wednesday 12 May
Patrician Brothers Fairfield 40 defeated Farrer MAHS 14 @ Farrer MAHS
Thursday 13 May
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