League’s undefeated set for epic clash
It’s taken five rounds, but the heavyweights of Auckland Rugby League’s Fox Memorial competition are set to clash this weekend.
The Mt Albert Lions and Pt Chevalier Pirates will meet on Saturday as each team looks to end the others unbeaten streak.
In addition, the Roope Rooster trophy is on the line with the match played at Pt Chevalier’s home at Unitec.
Both clubs have won their first four games of the season, and have quickly set the pace around the league.
However, Pt Chevalier come in as definite favourites having made the Grand Final last year and having already knocked off champions Papakura in the opening round of the 2017 season.
Mt Albert co-coach Phil Gordon said his side needed to focus on ticking their own boxes, but couldn’t deny the strength of his opponents.
‘‘The opposition does comes into it a little bit,’’ he said.
‘‘Over the last few years, Pt Chev has been one of the benchmarks in the comp so we’re under no illusion of how tough this week’s task is going to be.’’
Mt Albert has always held their own in the premier competition, however, when 2016 coach Willie Swan announced he was leaving the club just two weeks out from the start of the 2017 season, question marks were raised over how the club would progress.
Evidently, that hasn’t been a problem and Gordon said it was the leadership of his senior players that has kept the club at the top.
Meanwhile, Pt Chevalier also had a coaching change to deal with, with Zane Pocklington taking the reigns at the club for the 2017 season.
Coupled with a number of player movements, Pt Chevalier’s season was also looking to be one of apprehension.
For, Pocklington this match would be the true test to see where his team are at this season.
‘‘I’m really looking forward to it, it’s going to be a massive game,’’ Pocklington said.
‘‘Apart from Papakura, we haven’t really had a hard team in terms of the top four, whereas Mt Albert has had three in a row so they should be primed for it.’’
The two sides last met in 2016’s Preliminary Final, where Pt Chev walked away with a 22-18 win, however Mt Albert beat the Pirates during the regular season.
Mt Albert’s Chaz Brown will hope his side can topple the in-form Pt Chevalier Pirates.