Second-half comeback sees Waratahs win shield

Group 20 rugby league

LOCAL bragging rights were seized by the Waratah Tigers on Good Friday when they secured the Doug Alpen Memorial Shield with a powerful second-half display against the Black and Whites at Exies Oval.

Trailing 18-12 at the break, the 'Tahs piled on four tries to one in the second half to reclaim the coveted shield from their crosstown rivals with the come-from-behind victory under lights.

While both teams were understrength, it was the usual suspects who proved the difference for the Waratahs with captain-coach Kose Lelei leading from the front, man mountain Mike Ioapo causing havoc up the middle and utility Johnny Teleaga a danger all over the park.

But Lelei is keen to keep a lid on the hype after the club's second triumph in as many games continued their terrific start to the season.

The two Griffith clubs will meet at the same venue on May 4, but with competition points on the line the Black and Whites will be a completely different proposition, he said.

"We've just got to keep our heads up and get ready for next week," Lelei told The Area News.

"It's a good win and we're glad to win but it's only a charity shield match and they had a few out.

"We've got to play them again in two weeks for points and it will be a different story."

The Black and Whites were depleted up front and with first-choice prop Jericho Tanuvasa missing through injury, it opened the door for Ioapo to take control and further push his claims for a possible representative berth this season.

David Milne's side started the brighter of the two teams and went into half-time in front after a stunning converted try from former 'Tahs playmaker Josh Charles after the hooter.

But after that they were no match for the Waratahs, who hit straight back in the opening stages of the second half to set the tone for the rest of the match.

"That last try in the second half cost us a bit - that was my mistake," Lelei said.

"At half-time I just told them to do what we did last time against Leeton - hold the ball and run straight.

"That's all we've got to do. We stuck in there."

The Waratahs were without Moahoni Lelei and in-form centre Solomone Filimoehala, who scored four tries in the club's opening round win over Leeton - but they did not want for scoring options.

Fullback Fili Fili and halfback William Jaffrey both crossed twice while Teleaga and rookie winger Cody Parsons scored one apiece.

"It was a good effort, especially from the young boys that played like Cody and Tic-Tac (hooker Tekotahi Murphy)," Lelei said.

For the Black and Whites, Josh Charles and Stephen Broome again excelled in the halves, while Todd Granger took Milne's No.1 jersey as the former NRL star shifted wide onto the wing, both players relishing the positional change-up.

Former captain-coach Ben Mahon made his first appearance for the Black and Whites, coming off the bench after scoring two tries in the club's 28-26 reserve grade loss.

However, they did taste victory in the league tag match, taking a 22-4 win over the Waratahs thanks to doubles from Mata Varasia and Zoe Whitworth.

The Black and Whites face Yenda on Saturday night while the Waratahs will tackle Group 20 surprise package DPC Roosters, who have been boosted by some sensational late signings, on Sunday.

"That's going to be a really good game. It's something to look forward to," Lelei said.

RESULTS

First Grade

Waratah Tigers 32 (Tries: Fili Fili 2, William Jaffrey 2, Cody Parsons, Johnny Teleaga. Goals: Chris Tomi 3, Cody Parsons) defeated Black and Whites 24 (Tries: Todd Granger, David Milne, Josh Charles, Stephen Broome. Goals: Todd Granger 2, Stephen Broome 2)

Reserve Grade

Waratah Tigers 28 (Tries: Jonothan Morris 2, John Charles, Eddie Rauluni, Luke Farmer. Goals: John Charles 2, Jacob Williams, Jamahl Williams) defeated Black and Whites 26 (Tries: Ben Mahon 2, Leon Tiere, J Young. Goals: Tommy Turner 5)

League Tag

Black and Whites 22 (Tries: Mata Varasia 2, Zoe Whitworth 2. Goals: Shailyn Williams, Sisilia Caqusau, Roslyn Simpson) defeated Waratah Tigers 4 (Try: Cecilia Smith)

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