Wests come out best at the nest with late win over Gungahlin

Sat, Jun 15, 2024, 5:12 AM
Brumbies.rugby
by Brumbies.rugby

Wests Lions have raided the nest this afternoon with a stunning 34-31 comeback win at Nicholls Enclosed over Gungahlin. Down 19-0 after 23 minutes, Wests were undeterred and finally snatched the match for themselves in the 90th minute after a 31-all deadlock.

Opening their home match at the nest with a haka, the Eagles were full on running early as the side seemed unstoppable as they took plenty of early territory and camped in the Wests red zone. After heavy possession in good position and multiple pick and drives, number nine Klayton Thorn would find some space around the ruck easily providing his ninth try of the season. Converted by Lachlan Day from in front of the posts, Gungahlin would lead the match 7-0 after five minutes.

Continuing their early roll on, Shammah Tiumalu would gift the Eagles their second try of the match after the number eight proved too tough to handle close to the line, bumping and palming off multiple defenders before falling onto the white line. With an unsuccessful conversion, Gungahlin would lead 12-0 after 10 minutes.

Seemingly relentless coming out of the sheds, Francis Lesa would then nab a third try for the home side in the 22nd minute as a lineout within 10 metres of the try-line manifested into a five-pointer after three phases of hard running from the Eagles. Converted again by Day Gungahlin struck a lead of 19-0 with 17 minutes remaining in the half.

Wests were certainly not against putting up a fight however as they would finally launch their counterattack in the 30th minute after winger Luke Kilkeary would prevent a backline shift from Gungahlin's skipper Isaac Crowe by intercepting the ball. Taking the ball with a juggle, Kileary then ran over 60 metres to score the opening try for the Lions. Converted by Declan Meredith the scoreline at at 19-7 with nine minutes left in the half.

Looking to narrow the gap before the break, Wests were shifting the ball in the 34th minute with limited success until the ever-reliable Meredith burst onto the ball breaking the line and passing it off to Cullen Gray who strolled an extra 40 metres for the try. Converted again by the man who started the play, Wests were suddenly back in the match at 19-14.\

Not satisfied going into the break at a deficit, Wests would take the lead as the halftime siren sounded through some brilliance from Wests big three in the backline. Declan Meredith would cleanly put his winger through the Eagles defensive line, before recollecting the ball and passing it back off to Cullen Gray. Gray then showed off his speed once again beating multiple defenders, then making the final pass to Austin Anderson who displayed some fancy footwork completing the flashy try. Converted by Meredith Wests would take a 21-19 lead heading into the sheds.

Coming out of the sheds firing once again, Gungahlin would get back on track through Shammah Tiumalu crashing over for his second try of the match in the 43rd minute. With Thorn quickly getting the ball out to his wrecking ball number eight, Tiumalu would show off his strength once again, busting through multiple Wests tackles and falling over the line once again. Converted by Day once again the Eagles would regain the lead with a 26-21 advantage.

Following a 10 minute grind, Wests would regain their stride in the 55th minute as some quick hands from halfway would get the ball promptly to Luke Depiazzi who scored in the left corner.

With an even scoreboard, Gungahlin then showed their class once again off a scrum, shifting the ball left until eventually Clay Uyen got a chance to show his try-scoring form in the 61st minute of the match, regaining his side a narrow 31-26 lead.

Continuing their tug-of-war on the scoreboard, Wests would snatch a try of their own in the 69th minute of the match as a sloppy exit from Gungahlin would prove costly, as a loose ball would be scooped up by Luke Depiazzi for his second try of the match. With a missed conversion the score was locked at 31-all.

After a monumental grind and heavy possession in Wests territory Gungahlin would fail to turn the opportunity into points letting Wests escape by the skin of their teeth time and time again. Five minutes into overtime Day was given the option for a touch penalty goal attempt 40 metres out which he just swung left of the posts leaving the score locked at 31-all.

After absorbing an incredible amount of pressure, Wests would finally escape their half and be rewarded nicely as they earned a penalty shot in the 90th minute to decide the match. The man of the moment, Meredith would step up once again for the occasion and slot the goal giving Wests an incredible upset victory at the nest.

Wests Lions 34 (Tries: Luke Kilkeary, Luke Depiazzi 2, Cullen Gray, Austin Anderson; Conversions: Declan Meredith 3; Penalty Goals; Declan Meredith) def. Gungahlin Eagles 31 (Tries: Clay Uyen Shammah Tiumalu 2, Francis Lesa, Klayton Thorn; Conversions: Lachlan Day 3)

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