The 2019 premiership is wide open following Camden’s shock defeat to Oakdale and Narellan’s thumping of Mittagong over the weekend.
With three rounds remaining, Camden is still top of the ladder with 27 points, but Thirlmere is just one point behind, and these two will fight it out for the minor premiership.
Picton is on 21 points and assured of a finals spot, but The Oaks, Narellan and Oakdale look set for a three way battle for the last two places.
MIKE SHEAN reports from Oakdale and Narellan, where the home sides both won their round 15 matches.
The Workers sprung an upset of sorts when they defeated the previously unbeaten Camden side 26-18 at Sid Sharpe Oval on Saturday night, while Narellan outscored Mittagong 58-30 to all but end their hopes at Crane Oval on Sunday afternoon.
Oakdale kicked out to an early lead when new recruit Josh Burke scored for the Workers, as both sides battled to gain ascendancy early on in the cool night conditions.
The sides traded tries on 20 minutes, when Joel Horne scored for Camden, before the Workers took the kick off, and scored in the ensuing set, with Mitchell Gough crossing to restore the lead.
Oakdale’s young five eighth Jake Steadman scored a nice try on the stroke of halftime, giving the home fans something to cheer about, as they led 16-6.
Addison Demetriou, who has been one of the best for Oakdale in recent weeks, scored just after play resumed, extending their lead to 14 points.
Again the teams traded tries in a short period of time, when Oakdale’s Scott Jones and Camden’s Josh Goulton added their names to the scoresheet, which read 26-12 to the home side.
The final try of the night went to Camden’s Cameron Oitmann with 9 minutes remaining, giving all a nervous finish, as the Workers held on for a 26-18 win, keeping their season alive and their finals hopes intact.
On Sunday, perfect conditions greeted Narellan and Mittagong at Crane Oval, with both sides needing the win to keep their finals chances alive.
Mittagong needed to win to have any chance, while Narellan would climb back into fifth place with a win and replace Oakdale in the Top Five.
The star on Sunday was Narellan’s Ben Baker, who scored three tries, and caused havoc for the Mittagong defence all afternoon with a number of damaging runs.
Mittagong actually opened the scoring through Blake Jeffrey, but it was one of the few highlights for the visitors, as Narellan put on five unanswered tries, including two to Baker.
PJ Thornton scored one of two late first half tries for the Lions, who trailled 30-18 at the break.
Mittagong scored first through centre Jake Ngaia, who bagged a double for the visitors, but the Jets added more pain when they added another five tries in the second half – in the space of 22 minutes.
Big Ross Brown scored two for the Jets, as they dominated the ruck, which allowed the outside backs to control the game and score regularly.
Mittagong finished with the final try of the game through captain Regan Economos, but it was purely academic, as the Jets ran out easy winners 58-30.
RESULTS – ROUND 15 – FIRST GRADE
Oakdale Workers 26 Camden Rams 18;
Narellan Jets 58 Mittagong Lions 30;
Picton Magpies 36 Campbelltown City 24.
Thirlmere, The Oaks, bye.
Oakdale 0 Camden 78;
Narellan 26 Mittagong 4;
Picton 38 Campbelltown City 26;
Moss Vale Dragons 10 Thirlmere Roosters 44.
Narellan 38 Mittagong 6;
Moss Vale 10 Thirlmere 36
Moss Vale 4 Thirlmere 10
Oakdale 18 Camden 10;
Narellan White 8 City Gold 14;
Narellan Blue 50 Mittagong 0;
Picton 4 City Blue 40
Mt Annan Knights 28 Oran Park Chargers 16;
Narellan Jets 11 Bowral Blues 0;
Picton Magpies 26 Campbelltown City 16
NEXT WEEK – ROUND 16 – FIRST GRADE
The Oaks v Picton;
Camden v Campbelltown City;
Thirlmere v Oakdale
(*All Sunday, 2.30pm)