Mighty Mt Al­bert Li­ons won’t rest

Central Leader - - SPORT - By JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Put your­self in Steve Buck­ing­ham’s shoes.

The Mt Al­bert Li­ons pre­mier rugby league coach has mas­ter-minded his side’s past six con­sec­u­tive wins – scor­ing an av­er­age of 42 points a game.

Their last was the crush­ing 62-4 victory over the Man­gere East Hawks at Wal­ter Massey Park on May 23.

Auck­land Rugby League com­pe­ti­tions take a break this week­end with the Li­ons then fac­ing the Otara Scor­pi­ons on June 6, who have yet to put to­gether a win.

With a team trav­el­ling this well and with most of the com­pe­ti­tion strug­gling to keep up, what do you do with a week off?

‘‘We’ll keep Buck­ing­ham says.

‘‘It can be a long year and we’ll take the op­por­tu­ni­ties like this when they come.’’

Mt Al­bert shares top of the ta­ble with Pt Che­va­lier and Pa­pakura, with a healthy points dif­fer­en­tial keep­ing them ahead.

The prob­lem is the top four Fox Me­mo­rial Shield sides, in­clud­ing the Glenora Bears, are start­ing to get too far ahead of the chas­ing pack.

Buck­ing­ham says it’s time for the other clubs to step up their game.


‘‘We’ve got a good re­serve grade to call on.

‘‘If those other clubs want to get up to the top four sides, they’ve got to do things bet­ter,’’ he says.

‘‘Man­gere East weren’t fit enough to com­pete . . . they were beat­ing them­selves be­fore they took the field.’’

Mt Al­bert were sub­lime in testing weather con­di­tions, with a field sur­face that held up in the rain but with lit­tle crowd at­mos­phere.

‘‘We held on to the footy and scored some good tries.’’

Li­ons cen­tre Dil­lon Rota was one player who stood out, scor­ing a hat-trick of tries.

He’s one of a hand­ful of play­ers in­volved in the rep­re­sen­ta­tive round this week­end in Ro­torua, where the New Zealand Maori Res­i­dents play Auck­land on May 30.


Mar­cus Fraser throws a pass to a Mt Al­bert run­ner.

Mt Al­bert’s Soape Kava­liku is caught from be­hind.

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