Local fans turned out in force yesterday at Waminda Oval for what they thought was going to be a one sided affair between second placed East Campbelltown Eagles and 11th placed Penrith Brothers.
Unfortunately, somebody forgot to give a copy of the script to the visitors, who scored the first try to jump to a 6-0 lead six minutes into the game.
When Craig Moustakas scored for the Eagles six minutes later, and then Theo Leato bagged a second soon after, the Eagles were in front 10-6 and order had been restored.
But again Penrith showed they were no walk overs and went toe to toe with the Eagles until the half time break.
The start of the second stanza saw the visitors hit the lead 12-10 with a try under the post four minutes in.
From then on the game became all about defence, including some big hits enjoyed by the fans.
Campbelltown’s Grant Lahey broke the deadlock to give the Eagles the narrowest of leads at 14-12 – and some wind in their wings.
Three minutes later Craig Moustakas bagged his second try to give the Eagles a six point lead at 18-12.
The next stage of the game was once again dominated by big defensive efforts from both teams.
The Eagles, even though they struggled to get through the middle of the huge Penrith pack, inched further ahead on the scoreboard when Amanono Tovio linked up with Grant Lahey out wide.
Lahey was too fast and too strong for the defence and his four pointer gave the Eagles a buffer at 22-12.
But it wasn’t until the 75th minute when Eagles captain Mason Talolua scored a try to put the game beyond doubt for the locals.
Brett Lahey converted for the Eagles to run out winners 28-12 of a very tough game, as pointed out by coach Richard Barnes afterwards.
“Thank God we have next week off, that game was brutal and we have some very sore boys out of today’s win,’’ the Eagles mentor said.
“I have to give credit to Penrith, they are a very big team, mobile and physical; it goes to show the strength in the competition when you play 11th place and have to fight every inch for the win.
“With my guys it was a very pleasing effort, couldn’t be any more proud as we really worked hard for that win,” Barnes said.
Best for the Eagles were Mason Talolua, Aaron Teariki and Theo Leato while the two Lahey brothers Brett and Grant received the man of the match and Players Player Awards.
East Campbelltown Eagles will be back at home in a fortnight’s time as they take on Moorebank Rams at Waminda “Tint Me Up” Oval on Sunday, June 16.
Reserve Grade: East Campbelltown Eagles 40 Lalor Park Kookas 0;
Under 23: East Campbelltown Eagles 10 St Johns Eagles 6;
Sydney Shield: East Campbelltown Eagles 28 Penrith Brothers 12.