|Playoffs – Mustangs 34 Lions 62|
Stats: Scorers: Kilian (4); Golledge (1)
#1 Peoples 17 6 88 1 2
# 4 Hunt 15 6 73 1 0
# 4 Hunt 2/13
#84 Kilian 1/47 (1)
#1 Peoples 3/23 (1)
#23 Golledge 5/78
#84 Kilian 12 110 67 3
#25 Mountford 13 47 30 0Defense
|Round 14 – Mustangs 50 Seahawks 14|
|Round 13 – Bye|
|Round 12 – Mustangs 48 Predators 12|
|Round 11 – Mustangs 19 Pirates 26|
|Round 10 – Mustangs 67 Cobras 10|
|Round 9 – Mustangs 26 UTS 47|
|In a key match-up in the fight for the play-offs the UTS Gators had the bite on the Mustangs winning the battle of the turnovers and the game 47 – 26.UTS scored on their opening possession as the Mustangs struggled to halt the UTS running game to take an early 7 – 0 lead. Then they shut down the Mustang’s run to see them go three and out. Both sides were forced to punt on their next possessions with the next UTS drive snuffed out with an intercept by Nic Di Genni just prior to the end of the quarter.
The UTS defence continued to have the measure of the Mustangs offence in a game that was turning into a stalemate until late in the second quarter when the UTS wide receiver made a big play out jumping two Wollongong defenders to haul in a 20 yard pass for a touchdown which UTS failed to convert for a 13 – 0 half time lead.
The Mustangs offence finally got rolling in the third quarter taking to the air with a 19 yard pass to Mitch Hunt and then 21 yard pass to Rhys Kilian for a touchdown and with the two point conversion UTS’ lead was cut to 5 points. But that was as close as the Gator allowed the Mustangs to get returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown.
UTS made the Mustangs pay dearly for turnovers on their following two possessions extending the lead to 33 – 8 by the end of the third quarter. But the Mustangs didn’t give up, posting three fourth quarter touchdowns to Rhys Kilian to see the final score line end a more respectable 47 – 26.
|Round 8 – Mustangs 44 Seahawks 28|
|The Wollongong Mustangs have overrun a third-quarter deficit to win their local derby clash with the Sutherland Seahawks by 44-28, at Berkeley Sports Club.Running back Brad Mountford was the difference between the sides, scoring four touchdowns and rushing for 224 yards in a man-of-the-match performance.
This marks the third time Mountford has broken 100 yards rushing in as many games, but the running back was quick to point to his teammates as the catalyst behind his performance.
“That can be put down to all the boys,” said Mountford.
“They put me in good positions on a good surface here, and I’m feeling fit and healthy.”
“We’ve got to improve our discipline [ahead of next week]; we had a few stupid plays at the start of the game, and we ‘ll have to work on them, but we dug in deep today which was really good.”
Captain-coach Dennis Sentelle Jr. also praised the Mustangs’ fighting spirit, which saw them come from 22-12 down in the third quarter to post 32 straight points, before a late consolation to Sutherland.
“I think that’s what the Mustangs are all about.”
“When I first came here last year, that was the first thing I noticed – that we never gave up, no matter what the score was.”
“We were down in a lot of games last year, and came back and won, so this is typical of what we saw in a lot of games last year.”
“The guys showed a lot of heart, and all three phases played well in the second half – special teams, defense, offence.”
“I’m proud of the boys for a great team performance.”
The Mustangs were immediately thrown onto the back foot after the Seahawks opened the scoring with a long-range touchdown in the opening stages.
Continuing his rich vein of form, Rhys Killian put the Mustangs back on level terms at 6-all, running from the slot receiver’s position to take a Sentelle Jr. pass and score in centrefield.
The second quarter was marred by a brawl, with the Mustangs losing Elijah Nasr, who was ejected along with two opponents.
The game continued to ebb and flow, with a Seahawks touchdown cancelled out by Mountford brought the Mustangs back to within two points by narrowing the margin to 14-12 in the second quarter.
The Mustangs responded to a dour first-half display immediately following the resumption, with Liam Vuik running 74 yards from the kickoff return for a touchdown, putting the Mustangs into a 24-22 lead that they held for the remainder of the quarter.
Mountford then took centre stage, doing it all himself to rush in for three consecutive touchdowns and seal the win for the Mustangs.
Mitch Kirk added a late six-pointer after stripping the ball and rushing 30 yards, before a late Seahawks consolation gave a final score of 44-28.
(Match Report by Blake Foden)
|Round 7 – Mustangs 42 Sharks 12|
|Pennant Hills hoodoo broken
Until now, the Wollongong Mustangs had never won at Pennant Hills, and the lead up to the game seemed to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one, for many.
The stand out quarter for the Mustangs was the second, where they scored four touchdowns, and showed those watching, how each team within a gridiron squad should work to achieve a common outcome.
Offensive linesman, James Caputi, said “In that second quarter we were very strong, but I think that first quarter really set us up for that second quarter effort. That effort in the first allowed us to find out what we can do, we found out where the weaknesses are, where the strengths are.”
Starting line receiver, Wayne Peoples, agreed saying the win will increase confidence in the team as a unit.
“It’s obviously good to win, but it’s better to win back to back because of the momentum factor and especially in the fashion that we did, where it wasn’t just the defence performing well, or the offence performing well, it was really a team effort.”
A special mention went to the kick off team.
“We almost had three for three, it was good, you don’t see that a lot,” said Peoples.
“I think the special team stepped up, gave the offence the ball and we were able to score on those
It was Peoples’ first match back from injury.
“Physically I was pretty good, mentally it’s more of a challenge for me. I didn’t get hurt so that’s a positive.”
Other than his usual position, he also had a run as quarterback, scoring a touchdown from each position.
Head coach, Dennis Sentelle, said he took advantage of the 30-nill half time lead, to rotate player’s positions.
“We want to get people reps at different positions, just so when we get those instances when we’re 16 deep and guys have to jump in and play, that they’re more experienced.”
He said there were a few reasons for giving Peoples the reigns in the second half.
“I wanted to give myself a rest, plus also get Wayne some reps, cause he’s probably the future of the Mustangs, cause I’m older and I’ll be going back to the states before he is.”
At the end of the third the Wollongong side had a 42 nil lead, but rather than hold out the Central Coast Sharks, they let their defence slide in the fourth.
Peoples said, “I’m not disappointed in the team, I’m just disappointed with the performance that we put up at the end, because we did well the first three quarters and then the fourth quarter we kind of slacked off, so I think we need to play the game till the last whistle.”
The final score was 42-12.
(Match Report by Tanya Dendrinos)
|Round 6 – Mustangs 14 Raiders 7|
|Rain, hail the winHeavy rain, a 40-minute thunderstorm delay and the Bondi Raiders best efforts, couldn’t keep the Wollongong Mustangs from victory on Saturday night. Their defensive side made amends for their last match, with a stellar performance.
Head coach, Dennis Sentelle, said the defensive side well-implemented what they had been working on in training.
“The team just swarmed to the ball which is what we’ve been talking about, cause everybody’s got to get there, not just one or two guys, and that was the difference in how our defence played today as opposed to the previous two weeks.”
“They stepped up big, defence is the story today, that’s for sure. They kept them out of the end zone most of the game, even after I gave them (raiders) the ball basically at the 10 yard line, so I give a lot of applause to the defence they really did a great job,” he said.
The Wollongong side had almost 90 per cent of possession in the first half, which they capitalised on scoring two touchdowns.
Much of this momentum was lost after the half time break though, with a thunderstorm threatening to end the game prematurely.
Despite the weather conditions the crowd were impressive, waiting out the 40-minute delay to support the home side throughout the second half.
Sentelle said, returning to play after the extended break was tough both mentally and physically.
“It’s always difficult with that because everyone gets tight and loose, loose in the mind but tight in the body and start losing concentration on the game, which I mean, we had guys changing and showering and stuff.
Our mindset wasn’t right I don’t think coming back, especially in our offensive side but the defence
The back end of the game was a challenge for both sides, with a sloppy and scoreless third quarter.
In the fourth, an offensive error from the Mustangs saw the Raiders intercept the ball and surge to the end zone. Although the Wollongong side failed to keep Bondi scoreless, their defence regained strength to ensure the win was theirs.
Starting line receiver, Wayne Peoples, said although there is room for improvement a win is always a positive.
“It’ll give us a lot of confidence and momentum. It’ll make the guys believe in themselves, believe what they’re capable of, so we just need to keep this momentum going and keep it in our favour.”
The final score was 14-7.
(Match Report by Tanya Dendrinos)
|Round 5 – Mustangs 20 Lions 59|
|A win for effortThe Wollongong Mustangs were defeated on the scoreboard but took a win for effort in Saturday night’s clash, recoding the highest score against the undefeated Sydney Uni Lions so far this season.
The offensive team in the Mustangs squad gelled together to produce three touchdowns. Injured starting line receiver, Wayne Peoples, watched eagerly from the sideline and said the offence should be proud of their efforts.
“We ran our offence extremely well, everyone was on the same page our offensive side. Our head coach, Dennis, he made great play calls. We were actually gutsy on fourth down and those paid off, so our fourth down conversions actually ended up turning into a scoring drive.”
Running back, Brad Mountford, was a standout for the Mustangs. He played in the backfield for the first time and showcased his speed and talent, crossing for each of Wollongong’s touchdowns, as well as a two point conversion play.
“Brad was obviously a standout, he was just making excellent plays with his cutbacks and runs that he was doing, and getting into the end zone for us,” said peoples.
Despite the efforts of the offensive side, the defence just couldn’t keep up.
“Putting score on a team that’s how you win, and getting scored on is obviously how you lose, so no matter how many points you put up on a team, you also need to hold them to a certain score. Their offence just out worked our defence and that’s pretty much what it comes down to.”
“We need to work on finishing tackles, attacking the ball not always pursuing, and I think we need to get a bit more aggressive.”
Head coach, Dennis Sentelle, agrees that the defensive side needs work, but is proud of his team’s efforts despite the loss.
“We were out manned with a lot of injuries on our side and a lot of guys getting hurt during the game, so the guys showed a lot of heart. There were a lot of guys playing both ways which generally doesn’t happen in this game, that showed itself towards the end of the game, we just wore down, especially on the defensive side.”
The Mustangs will be making use of the week off for the long weekend, to rest injured players and work on the weaknesses that arose in this game.
“We need to work on maintaining our gaps and lanes and getting to the football in the right way, because sometimes we pursue it in the wrong way and that creates big gaps for opposing teams, but that comes with training.”
Overall, the Mustangs have come away from this game with a little more confidence, Peoples is looking forward to the next clash.
“We’ve really been riddled by injury this season, we don’t have a lot of our starters, myself included, but I think once we’re back up to full strength it will make quite a significant difference to when we see them again.”
With the final scoreline at 59-20, Peoples has this message for the heavily manned Lions squad, “We might only have 18 dudes on the sideline but the 11 people on the field are what makes the difference.”
(Match Report by Tanya Dendrinos)
|Round 4 – Mustangs 20 Pirates 57|
|Mustangs Defeated Heavily by Pirates
Despite suffering a crushing 57-20 defeat at the hands of the West Sydney Pirates on Saturday, the Wollongong Mustangs showed they are a team heading in the right direction.The performance was highlighted by a scintillating performance from receiver Mitch Hunt as he finished the game with 11 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns.Hunt was back to the form he showed when he was selected to the NSW Wolfpack side last season and before an ankle injury that left him confined to the sideline.
“It felt good to be back out there and connecting with Dennis [Sentelle] again,” said Hunt, “it was a good game for me and certainly a confidence boost.”
“It’s definitely a hollow performance though since we didn’t win the game, that’s always the most important factor, personal stats mean nothing if we don’t win.”
The Mustangs were unable to contain the Pirates on the day as they gave up a whopping 548 yards and eight touchdowns to the powerful offence.
Wollongong had difficulty remaining organised on defence as they struggled to adjust to the tempo of West Sydney’s offensive scheme.
Defensive end Michael Goor had another impressive outing, however, as he picked up his second sack and interception combo in as many games.
The biggest positive for the Mustangs was the huge improvement on offence as they showed their ability to move the ball down the field with an aggressive passing game.
Head coach Dennis Sentelle thought that despite the loss there were many positives to take from the game.
“We definitely had some positives on offence, we moved the ball well for pretty much the entire game,” said Sentelle.
“Having Rhys [Killian] come up from the juniors was a big help just because of his speed and talent.
“It was also great to have Mitch [Hunt] back, he’s not quite back to 100% yet but he’s close and he had a big game for us.
“Mitch and I have a lot of chemistry built up from last season that makes the receiving corp that little bit better.”
On top of Hunt’s performance, young receiver Rhys Killian also had a solid outing as he hauled in three passes for 75 yards including a 66 yard touchdown midway through the second quarter. Killian added another 47 yards on two rushing attempts.
The Mustangs matched the Pirates for majority of the first half and they even lead the game 8-6 at the beginning of the second quarter.
However, after the score was tied at 14-14 midway through the second quarter the Pirates began to take control as they put 35 unanswered points in the second and third quarters.
West Sydney head coach Ian Taylor was delighted by his team’s performance but is wary of what a fully fit Mustangs team can bring to the table in the future.
“The Mustangs always give us a tough game and I knew that they were missing a number of players due to injury,” said Taylor.
“I was very happy with our performance as a team but I think there are definitely issues we still need to work on as a unit.
“I expect the game will be a lot closer when we meet again in a couple of months’ time down in Wollongong.”
It wasn’t the ideal send off for left tackle Jordan Stalker in his final game as a Mustang, but Wollongong can take heart from a promising offensive display against one of the better teams in the competition.
Man of the Match: Mitch Hunt’s outstanding play at the receiver position on the day made him this week’s Man of the Match. Honourable mention to Jordan Stalker who played on both offence and defence in his last appearance for the club.
(Match Report by Julian Keith)
|Round 3 – Mustangs 18 Cobras 0|
|Mustangs Victorious in Steel City Bowl
Michael Goor (#27) had a career day against the Newcastle Cobras on Saturday.It’s rare that you see a total shutout in Gridiron, but the Wollongong Mustangs defence provided one in dazzling fashion as they beat the Newcastle Cobras 18-0 on Saturday at Craik Park, Liverpool.
The defence was dominant finishing with eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception in a game where they completely shut down the Cobras offence.
“The defence played well all day, they really stepped it up from last week,” said head coach Dennis Sentelle, “it’s hard to lose when the other team doesn’t score any points.”
The Mustangs were off to a slow start offensively in windy conditions that played havoc with the passing game so it was up to the defence to keep them in the game early on.
It wasn’t all defence though as Newcastle persisted with their Option run scheme throughout the game, running the ball on 61% of their offensive snaps and creating some nervy moments for the Mustangs.
The Cobras were let down by their poor ball security, coughing up possession on three separate occasions during the game which was the difference maker between both sides.
For Cobras head coach Paul Ryan it was his team’s mistakes which cost them the game in the end.
“We gave away too many rookie mistakes and that caused us to backwards instead of forwards,” said Ryan, “the rookie mistakes are killing us this year.”
“We’re a young team that’s still learning and there were definitely some positives out there, we ran the ball well and hit harder than they expected us to; we’re getting better as each game goes on.”
Newcastle’s hard hitting continued to hassle Wollongong as they struggled offensively into the second quarter with the young team failing to gel and get the ball moving.
This forced injured veterans Mitch Hunt and Brad Golledge back into the game earlier than expected as they looked to inspire the team into action.
It proved to be exactly the spark the team was looking for as they put together a seven play, 53 yard drive down the field which ended in a 10 yard touchdown pass to the left side of the endzone from Sentelle to Golledge.
“Having those guys come into the game was a pretty key moment for me,” said Sentelle, “we have a lot of good chemistry together in the passing game so I knew where they were going to be and it made it a lot easier.”
“They were frustrated because it wasn’t happening out on the field so they needed to step in and help and they did so we managed to put it together.
Mustangs defensive end Michael Goor had a career day as he recorded three tackles, one sack and an interception as well as 23 yards rushing as he flipped over to the offensive side of the ball as well.
“I was inspired by the injured guys coming back and getting involved which made me want to step up and be one of the better players on the field,” said Goor.
“Usually I play defence but this season I wanted to learn a new skill and get involved offensively so I’ve been practicing a lot at training and to get that opportunity today was really great.”
Despite an interception from Cobras cornerback Dan Gow early in the third quarter the second half was all Mustangs football as they put another 12 points on Newcastle through a 14 yard touchdown pass to Liam Vuik and a 23 yard quarterback scramble by Sentelle.
Wollongong are now sitting at 1-1 in the division and will take confidence from their 18-0 victory into their Round Four fixture against the West Sydney Pirates.
Man of the Match: Michael Goor for his dominant performance on defence this week resulting in three tackles, one sack and an interception as well as his valuable contribution on offence.
(Match Report by Julian Keith)
|Round 2 – Mustangs 6 Predators 14|
|The Wollongong Mustangs have gone down 14-6 in a hard fought loss to the North West Predators at 5Sports, Caringbah on Friday night. This was the season opener for the Mustangs after the Penrith City Outlaws regrettably withdrew from the 2012 season leaving the team with a first round bye.Early season nerves were on display during the first quarter with the Mustangs struggling to contain an aggressive Predator’s running game. The ‘Stangs caught a break on the Predators first possession when a 20 yard touchdown run was called back for unsportsmanlike conduct.
It was the Predators offensive penalties which initially kept the Mustangs in the game whilst they found their feet but towards the end of the first quarter the Predators made a breakthrough with their Quarterback hitting a receiver in the back of the endzone for a 16 yard Touchdown. The Predators made the score count by making the two point conversion leaving the Mustangs trailing 8-0 at the end of the first quarter.
During the second quarter the Mustangs found their stride in the form of a stout offensive line and the hard running of Peter Traynor who finished the game with 19 carries for 49 yards.
Towards the end of the half the Mustangs were well and truly settled and starting to build momentum. The offense put together a 44 yard drive down to the Predators five yard line and things were looking optimistic for the Wollongong club.
Unfortunately for both teams, a Predators player went down in a tackle on Traynor and had to be taken to hospital for treatment. With 2 minutes left on the clock the referees called the half but ensured that the game would be resumed on the Predators five yard line with ball in Mustangs possession.
The game was resumed after a 45 minute stoppage with the Mustangs hoping to tie up the scores before the end of an unconventional second quarter. However it wasn’t to be with the ‘Stangs going three and out then failing on a fourth down conversion attempt to end the half trailing 8-0.
The Mustangs came out firing in the second half putting together a 14 play, 75 yard drive which ended with Head Coach and Quarterback Dennis Sentelle Jr hitting Wide Receiver Lachlan Hingley on a go route down the right sideline for a 23 yard Touchdown. The two point conversion was no good leaving the score 8-6 to the Predators midway through the third quarter.
The Predators hit back on their next possession after a long drive from inside their own half culminated in a seven yard TD pass from the Predators number 10; leaving the score at 14-6 after a failed two point conversion midway through the fourth quarter.
Despite putting a promising drive together the Mustangs couldn’t reel the Predators back in and the ball was turned over on downs. The Mustangs defence needed to come up with the ball to give the team a shot at victory and the moment almost came when Kevin Manderson jumped an out route and made a play on the ball. Sadly he couldn’t reel in what could have been a pick-6 and the Predators ran the clock out with the game finishing 14-6 in their favour.
The loss can’t be put down to a lack of effort from the undermanned Mustangs who had many guys playing both sides of the ball. The game was a match for three out of four quarters with the only difference being that the Predators already had a game under their belt.
(Match Report by Julian Keith)
|Round 1 – Bye|