The Thirlmere Roosters ended Narellan’s faint finals hopes with a 54-16 win over the Jets at Thirlmere Sportsground, while Campbelltown City ended their season on a high with a 36-28 win over Moss Vale at Tony Norton Field.
On Sunday, the top of the table clash in Victoria Park, Picton between the Magpies and The Oaks Tigers went the way of the visitors, 22-12.
It was a hard fought victory for the Tigers, who needed the two points to maintain the second spot on the ladder, reports MIKE SHEAN, of Macarthur Sports Radio:
The Round 17 clash wasn’t a classic but the intensity made up for the lack of quality by two teams who are likely to meet each other at some point in the finals series.
Picton led at the halftime break and it took an intercept try to tip the scales the way of the Tigers late in the second half.
Mitchell Brasington, who was again the star for the Tigers, opened the scoring six minutes in when he sliced through the Picton left-hand side defence for a nice solo try.
This was the only score for much of the opening half, with both sides settling into a tough and physical style of football.
Daniel Payne, the impressive Picton number 6, seemed to copy Brasington’s efforts when he fooled the Tigers’ defence, kept them at bay, and scored the first try of the afternoon for the home side to give them a 6-4 lead.
Picton were able to extend their lead a few minutes before halftime when Ben Smith, coming into the side in the second row, scored to give the Magpies a 12-4 lead at the break.
The Brasington brothers, who share the coaching duties for the Tigers, combined four minutes after play resumed, with Mitchell finding Matthew on the inside to score, reducing the margin to 12-10 in favour of Picton.
The match continued for much of the afternoon with the same scoreline and pattern of play, as the sides traded efforts to approach the opposition 20m line, with little success.
Finally, the Tigers managed to break the game open when Mitchell Richards pounced on an intercept ball as Picton tried to break through the Tigers’ defence.
This gave the visitors a lead of 16-12 with nine minutes left, and when Matthew Brasington scored a second minutes later it secured the 22-12 win for the Tigers.
Picton, who won’t play for the next two weeks due to a Round 18 bye, then a week off as minor premiers, will know they have plenty of work to do ahead of their first finals hit out.
The Oaks weren’t at their best either, and the Brasington brothers, who led the show for the Tigers, will be looking for a better performance next weekend when they again hit the road, heading for Camden and a meeting with the Rams.
RESULTS – ROUND 17 – FIRST GRADE
Campbelltown City 36 Moss Vale Dragons 28;
Thirlmere Roosters 54 Narellan Jets 18;
The Oaks Tigers 22 Picton Magpies 12.
Campbelltown City 10 Appin Dogs 26;
Thirlmere 20 Narellan 22;
Picton 30 The Oaks 4;
Camden 38 Oakdale 6;
Mittagong 8 Oran Park 44.
Campbelltown City 0 Moss Vale 10;
Thirlmere 0 Narellan 4;
Camden 24 Mt Annan Oakdale 26;
Mittagong 24 Warragamba 24
City Gold 30 Moss Vale 10;
Thirlmere 12 Narellan 12;
Camden 56 Oakdale 0;
Mittagong 4 Oran Park 40;
Picton 14 The Oaks 4.
City Blue – bye.
Bowral Blues 10 Warragamba Wombats 36;
Campbelltown City 12 Bundanoon Highlanders 24;
Thirlmere 0 Narellan 18.
NEXT WEEK – ROUND 18
Narellan v Mittagong, (Saturday 7.30pm);
Moss Vale v Thirlmere;
Camden v The Oaks (Sunday 2.30pm).