Gram­mar Carl­ton take op­por­tu­ni­ties

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Morgan

Gram­mar Carl­ton coach Bran­don Jack­son isn’t sur­prised his side picked up their sec­ond win of the sea­son against de­fend­ing champs Pon­sonby on Satur­day.

Jack­son says his play­ers se­cured the 29-6 win be­cause they scored when the op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented them­selves.

“It was an out­stand­ing team per­for­mance.

“Pon­sonby have been the form team for the past few years be­cause they’ve made sure they’ve had the best play­ers and good sys­tems.

“We’ve put a team to­gether that can com­pete, so why would you not back your­self to win.”

Both sides could only man­age penal­ties in the first half, with Gram­mar edg­ing ahead 9-6 at the break thanks to the boot of first five Lachie Munro.

But the home side dom­i­nated the sec­ond half in front of a large crowd at Corn­wall Park.

They put on 20 unan­swered points, with tries to Ono­sai Tololima-Au­vaa and Tony Wood.

Jack­son will now look to give other play­ers a run in the top team af­ter his side faced four of last year’s semi­fi­nal­ists in the first five rounds.

Depth will be es­sen­tial to his squad in com­ing weeks be­cause of the like­li­hood that he will lose sev­eral play­ers to the Auck­land Air New Zealand Cup side later in the sea­son.

And he is sure com­pe­ti­tion for places will keep his side on track if play­ers are se­lected for the Auck­land side.

“If guys don’t per­form then they won’t be picked.”

As a re­sult of the win Gram­mar leap into a tie for first place on the ta­ble with Sub­urbs, while Pon­sonby drops to fourth.

Pon­sonby coach Si­mon Scott isn’t of­fer­ing any ex­cuses for his side’s loss.

“We were in it un­til the sec­ond half, but they sim­ply out­played us.

“We feel as though we were a bit more com­pet­i­tive than shown in the score, but we didn’t play as well as we did against Univer­sity last week.”

Scott says the per­for­mance of some of Gram­mar’s Blues squad mem­bers pro­vided the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two sides.

“Munro con­trolled the game for them and Tololi­maAu­vaa was prom­i­nent in the break­down.”

How­ever, Scott points out that there is still a long way to go this sea­son, with the fi­nals be­gin­ning at the end of July.

“We need to keep im­prov­ing if we’re go­ing to be in that race,” he says.

In other ac­tion Te Pa­pa­paMt Welling­ton beat Waitem­ata 24-20 af­ter lead­ing 245 at half­time.

And Eden-Roskill cracked the half cen­tury against bot­tom placed Manukau, de­feat­ing them 50-12.

Next week Pon­sonby face Eden-Roskill at West­ern Springs, Te Pa­papa-Mt Welling­ton visit Waitakere City at Waitakere Sta­dium and Gram­mar Carl­ton take on Otahuhu at Sturges Park.

All matches start at 2.45pm.

What a shot: Gram­mar Carl­ton cap­tain Lachie Munro slots a penalty for his side in front of a large crowd against Pon­sonby on Satur­day.

Pho­tos: JA­SON OXENHAM

Pace to burn: Gram­mar Carl­ton wing Tony Wood scorches down the touch-line on his way to scor­ing the open­ing try against Pon­sonby at Corn­wall Park.

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