Pt Chevalier win Stormont Shield again
The Pt Chevalier Pirates have retained Auckland Rugby League’s Stormont Shield for the fourth consecutive year.
The Pirates defeated Papakura 38-24 in round one of the Fox Memorial Auckland premier grade competition on Saturday in what was a repeat of last year’s Grand Final.
They also picked up the Roope Rooster - rugby league’s equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield contested during home games of the current holder, in this case, Papakura.
The Stormont Shield is usually played between the winner of the previous year’s Fox Memorial competition and the holders of the Rukutai Shield - for the minor premiers - though this year Papakura held both so it was contested between the 2016 grand final teams.
The winner is crowned the ‘‘champion of champions’’ and locks away the Stormont for the entire season.
Pirates head coach Zane Pocklington said the first half, in which the Pirates led 24-0, was a great start for his side against a notoriously strong team.
‘‘Papakura is a classy outfit, and they set the standard last year,’’ Pocklington said.
Despite locking away the silverware, Pocklington, in his first season as head coach, won’t let one game affect his team’s mentality.
‘‘Championships aren’t won in the first week and we still have a lot to work on,’’ Pocklington said. ‘‘We probably weren’t as fit as we hoped towards the back end.’’
Pirates captain Siua Otunuku was surprised his side had such a big halftime lead, but also said his side wouldn’t look too far into the result.
’’We expected a bit more of an arm wrestle from Papakura in that first half,’’ Otunuku said.
‘‘It was a bit of a shock going in with a halftime lead like that. But we’re not reading too much into it, it’s still early days.’’
Other notable results around the competition included the Mt Albert Lions 44-20 win over Marist.
The Lions wouldn’t let a late coaching change affect the start of their season with Willie Swan announcing just two weeks ago that he wouldn’t return, handing the reins to the reserves coaches.
Meanwhile Richmond made sure Te Atatu’s first game back in the Fox Memorial competition was a tough one, winning 38-26 at home.
The Pt Chevalier Pirates claim Auckland Rugby League’s Stormont Shield yet again.