Wests Devils go top after fiery win over Dapto
Wests exacted some revenge and claimed top spot on the ladder with a tense 22-16 victory over Dapto on Saturday in match that ended with 10 players on 11 as tempers flared shortly before full-time.
Wests skipper Matt Clarke and Canaries half Jake Hawkins were sin-binned for their part in starting the skirmish with Greg Reh and Nick King from the Devils and Dapto interchange prop Josh Vaartjes joining them.
The incident will likely earn the attention of the match-review committee but - while the one-punch rule necessitated the sin-bin - as far as on-field melees goes it was far from the ugliest.
It drew attention away from what was otherwise an enthralling encounter between traditional rivals which ended three tries apiece. The reliable boot of Mitch Porter - who landed two long range penalty goals - was the difference.
Wests coach Jason Ryles believes the on-field action was sufficient punishment.
"It'll be interesting to see what happens there but I think the penalties and the sin-binnings were enough," Ryles said.
"It was a tough, hard game played on a pretty heavy track which made it harder and it just boiled over a bit at the end.
"It erupted quickly and it was over quickly. You leave it on the field and hopefully that's the end of it."
Without Bronx Goodwin and Daniel Holdsworth, replacements Jordan Harty and Justin Rodrigues were among the Devils' best.
"They had a pretty red-hot side and we had a few guys who normally would've been there for us weren't but it was good to see some other guys get a opportunity and it was a really good win in the end." Wests led 14-10 at half-time on the back of tries to Porter and Clarke, while Dapto's points came from tries to Dillon Capaan and Tyrone Crantson. Nathan Dureau strolled across seven minutes after the break, but Dapto hit back with a James Ralphs try to make it 20-16 before Porter's second penalty goal iced the result.
This article originally appeared in the Illawarra Mercury on 31/5/2015