It was a historic day for Macarthur rugby league fans on Saturday.
The Western Suburbs Magpies made a return to the state’s top competition after five years in the wilderness.
And it was a spectacular return – defeating the Canterbury Bulldogs 32-10. Ruse resident David Nofoaluma – who rose through the Magpies junior ranks – scored a double after being demoted from the Wests Tigers side, while Macquarie Fields product Sauaso Sue also managed to cross the line for a rare four-pointer.
Magpies chief executive Leo Epifania said the tries to Nofoaluma and Sue were “the cherry on top" of a sweet victory.
Epifania also said seeing the Magpies back playing in state’s top competition was a reward for those who had stuck by the club in testing times.
“It was a great feeling,” he said. “The club has been through some tough times so to see the Magpies jersey, logo and name up in lights made us all feel pretty good.”
Though he wasn’t popping the champagne just yet.
Asked about the reality of a potential finals berth, Epifania said “I wouldn’t expect anything less at the moment”.
The following game didn’t disappoint either.
Wests Tigers were given very little chance against one of the 2018 NRL favourites, the Sydney Roosters. The task was made tougher for the black, white and orange after star recruit Josh Reynolds was forced to withdraw from the game due to injury.
However, a late try to new Wests Tiger Corey Thompson and a successful Tuimoala Lolohea sideline conversion, saw the joint-venture record a famous 10-8 victory.
It was a bittersweet moment for the club who were forced to witness Macarthur junior James Tedesco don a Roosters jersey for the first time. He was jeered by the crowd each time he touched the ball.
Arguably, the loudest jeer came when the NSW fullback dropped the ball with the line wide open – costing his team four valuable points.
His combination with former Melbourne Storm player Cooper Cronk was shaky, however Benji Marshall showed he could still hold his own in the NRL, starring at five-eighth for the Wests Tigers.
Wests Tigers will take on the Storm on Saturday night.