24/04/2024

Hills Bulls have walked away with the Ron Massey Cup Premiership. (Photo: NSWRL)

The Hills Bulls have come out victorious, winning the Ron Massey Cup Premiership for the first time. They outlasted the Glebe Dirty Reds, beating them 18-12.

Taking home the Minor Premiership in the regular season, the Bulls were the favourites going into the finals. However, a shock loss to Glebe in the major semi-final nearly cut their premiership hopes.

After defeating 17-time premiers Wentworthville Magpies last week they headed into the Grand Final for retribution.

“I still don’t know what happened two weeks ago. They totally outplayed us that’s for sure, and the boys were hurting from that,” Hills Bulls coach Mark Withers said.

“The good thing was we got to play again the next week (22-12 over Wentworthville) in the Preliminary (Final) and then came here with three games under our belt.”

The Bulls team produced two players with international experience, with Fijian five-eighth Henry Raiwalui in the back-line and Malta and Scottish lock Tyler Cassel in the forward-line.

The main player leading the team in the final was prop Taniela Lasalo, who played 40 games for the Paramatta Eels across six years with them.

Greg Eastwood provided much needed finals experience for the Dirty Reds. (Photo: NRL.com)

The Dirty Reds were led by former Manly Sea Eagles play-maker Riley Travers, Cronulla single-gamer Jackson Ferris, and superstar Greg Eastwood. A former New Zealand international forward and NRL Premiership winner, he led by example for the rest of the team.

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The Bulls would open up the scoring through front-rower Taniela Lasalo, but their lead wouldn’t last long. The Dirty Reds hit straight back with Dylan O’Connor getting over the line. Tied 6-6 after the opening ten minutes, the game was controlled in the forwards.

With ten minutes to go before the half-time break, the Bulls would go on to score two quick tries. This would be through play-makers Blake Goodman and Henry Raiwalui.

Goodwin was set-up by Aloki Mataela, while Raiwalui showed some razzle dazzle. The Fijian international stepped Glebe fullback James Coyne to give them a 12-point lead at the break.

Bulls captain Taniela Lasalo scored the first try of the game. (Photo: NSWRL)

In the second-half, the Dirty Reds put pressure on the Bulls as they tried to subtract the lead. They would get closer to tying the game after a successful conversion by Eli Levido brought the game back to within six points after a Jonah Ngaronoa try.

With the game on the line and a couple of minutes to play, Glebe winger Johnathan Tufaga nearly got over in the corner of the field. But a tenacious Bulls defence pushed him over the sideline, guaranteeing their victory.

The final score ended up 18-12 in favour of the Hills Bulls as the players celebrated after the full-time siren. The Bulls celebrations could be seen throughout the entirety of the field. In pure joy and happiness the players jumped up and down in celebration.

Second-rower Jerry Key would go on to take home Player of the Match due to his defensive efforts. Talking after the game in ecstasy, coach Mick Withers had some final words to say about the game.

“I would have like to have scored more points but on the back of defence in those big games is what wins them,” he said.

“We’ve been the best defensive side all year.”

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