The Kaiviti Silktails were never headed in their first win of the season, a 30-16 victory over Ryde-Eastwood Hawks in an entertaining Ron Massey Cup clash at TG Milner Field.
Silktails halfback Mosese Qionimacawa dominated from the outset. He set the tone nine minutes in after chasing his own kick to trap the Hawks in-goal, which opened the door for backrower Manasa Kalou to barge over in the next set for a 6-0 lead.
Ryde almost hit back four minutes later, only for winger Josh Boumelham to be denied in the right corner.
The Silktails created most of the early running and jumped further ahead after another powerful try, this time to second-rower Meli Nasau. And when a sublime inside ball from Qionimacawa in the 22nd minute gifted halves partner Rusiate Baleitamavua an open passage to the line, at 18-0, the Fijians were flying.
Several Ryde-Eastwood scoring opportunities were shut down by scrambling defence but a solo effort by Logan Dillion eventually broke the drought to reduce the deficit to 18-6 at the break.
Silktails centre Sunia Naruma crossed 11 minutes after play resumed and at 24-6, the Fijians were well on the way to recording their first win of 2022.
To their credit Ryde-Eastwood never gave up, and quickly hit back with a try to Vilklifi Hopoi. When centre Reg Alofipo planted the ball under the posts to reduce the margin to 24-16 with seven minutes left to play, the contest was still up for grabs.
The Silktails held their nerve, and in the closing minutes when Nasau shrugged off several tired Hawks defenders to grab his second try for the afternoon, it sent the parochial Fijian fans into full voice.
The result was a welcome relief for the Silktails, who have managed only two games in four weeks because of wet weather cancellations and a Round Six bye. As a result, it has been tough for them to bed down combinations but the classy halves pairing of Baleitamavua and Qionimacawa stood up when the Hawks threatened to storm home.
The Silktails head to Ringrose Park on Sunday for a Round Eight clash with Wentworthville.
The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.
The NSWRL receives funding from the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to support the Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup.