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Blacktown back to winning ways in NSW Cup

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles snapped their three-game losing streak with a dominant 32-16 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in round 11 of the NSW Cup on Sunday afternoon. 

Similar to the NRL’s Magic Round in Brisbane, all of the round’s matches took place at North Sydney Oval on Saturday and Sunday, with Blacktown’s match concluding the weekend of football. 

A tough contested first half saw the Sea Eagles hold an 8-6 lead at the break thanks to a late penalty goal. Blacktown outscored their opponents four tries to two in the second half to help secure a much-needed victory for their fifth win of the season. 

Halfback Jake Arthur spoke about the importance of the win for the side after their recent struggles. 

“I think it was massive for us. The boys dug deep, we knew what we needed to fix and we got on top of them in a real tough game. The sin-bin in the first half sort of stunted our momentum. But we narrowed our focus, went through the middle, got our defence right and it all changed.” said Arthur. 

His halves partner, Jamie Humphreys, also spoke proudly of the side. 

“It’s a big win for us (in the context of the season). To get a lead and build on it throughout the match, despite the two sin-bins. It shows what we can really do.” Humphreys said.  

When asked about next week’s clash against the Magpies, the message was clear. 

“We’ll build on what we did today. We laid a really good foundation and I think it’s a good blueprint for us to follow going forward” he added. 

Winger Watson Heleta is having a fine season for Blacktown Workers
Winger Watson Heleta is having a fine season for Blacktown Workers ©NRL Photos

Blacktown were on the back foot in the opening five minutes and were forced to defend in their own half after a few silly errors. Canterbury had a chance in the sixth minute through winger William Afualo but were denied by some desperate defence on the edge by Blacktown. 

Off the back of a strong run from centre Clayton Faulalo, the Sea Eagles shifted the ball well to score the opening try on the right edge through winger Watson Heleta for a 6-0 lead in the 8th minute. 

The Bulldogs showed why they’re one of the form teams of the competition as they quickly turned defence into attack in the 21st minute.  

Canterbury stormed downfield in attack after re-gaining possession at their own ten-metre line, only to be brought down once again by some compact defence from the Sea Eagles as they maintained their six-point lead. 

The two sides weren’t shying away from throwing the ball around as Blacktown tested their opponents’ defence two minutes later. Second-rower Ben Condon ran a good line and found himself in space, only to be brought down just shy of the 10-metre line as they turned the ball over. 

Blacktown lock Caleb Navale was sent to the sin-bin shortly after, leaving Canterbury with a numbers advantage. 

After trailing for 24 minutes, the Bulldogs hit back with a try through Afualo in the corner to level the score at 6-all in the 32nd minute. 

Blacktown were awarded a penalty deep into Canterbury’s half on the stroke of halftime and elected for the shot at the extra two points. Five-eighth Jamie Humphreys converted from in front to give his side an 8-6 lead heading into the break. 

The Sea Eagles came out of the gates flying in the second half and scored after four minutes as Heleta crossed for his second try. Halfback Jake Arthur threw a perfectly placed cut-out pass to Heleta, who dived over in the corner untouched to extend his side's lead to 14-6. 

Canterbury broke out of a scrum at Blacktown’s 40-metre line and streaked down the sideline to score in the 48th minute through winger Jeral Skelton for a 14-12 scoreline. 

Blacktown continued to have an answer for their opponents’ attack as they scored their third try four minutes later. Watson Heleta completed his hat-trick in the 53rd minute with a barnstorming run down the right edge to push his sides lead to 20-10. 

The Sea Eagles truly put the “Magic” into the NSW Cup’s Magic Round with their try in the 62nd minute through Humphreys. 

Full-back Lehi Hopoate broke through the defence with a scintillating run at the halfway line and found Faulalo in support on his inside. Faulalo pushed off one defender before offloading to Humphreys, who raced away to score for a 26-10 scoreline. 

Blacktown set themselves up for a tough finish to the match, with prop Jacob Sykes being sent to the sin-bin in the 69th minute. 

The Bulldogs capitalised on the numbers advantage and scored off the back of a charge down through utility Reuben Moyle, taking the score to 26-16 with nine minutes remaining. 

The Sea Eagles put the nail in the coffin with a try through Lehi Hopoate with three minutes to play. The full-back skipped out of two tackles and pushed past the opposing fullback to ground the ball under the posts for a final scoreline of 32-16. 

Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles take on the Western Suburbs Magpies in round 12 of the NSW Cup at HE Laybutt Field, Blacktown, on Sunday, May 26 at 3pm. 

Sea Eagles 32 (Try: Heleta 8’, 44’, 53’, Humphreys 62’, Hopoate 77’. Conversions: Humphreys 6/6) d Bulldogs 16 (Try: Afualo 32’, Skelton 48’, Moyle 71’. Conversions: Papalii 2/3) 

Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 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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