Norths still on track for cup

Vik­ings win points fest

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

North­ern United left it late to knock over Pe­tone in a thrilling Ju­bilee Cup rugby match at Porirua Park on Satur­day.

The 60-and 70-point mar­gins of the Swin­dale Shield are a dis­tant mem­ory as Norths are scrap­ping for ev­ery win at this part of the sea­son, typ­i­fied by the 25-23 vic­tory over Pe­tone. They sit in third place now, on 15 points, be­hind Ori­en­tal-Ron­go­tai and Poneke (both 19), with just three matches left be­fore the semi­fi­nals.

Block­bust­ing No 8 Mana Faraimo cre­ated the open­ing try for winger AJ Va’alepu within the first 10 min­utes, with cen­tre Ala­p­ati Leiua heav­ily in­volved. Faraimo would go off in the sec­ond half with a knee in­jury, which will be of concern to the Norths coaches.

A Dud­ley Parsons penalty made it 10-nil but Pe­tone struck back with a try and two penal­ties, be­fore Nene Va’alepu darted through to make it 15-13 to Norths at the break.

It was see-saw stuff in the sec­ond half, the vis­i­tors tak­ing the lead cour­tesy of a penalty try that didn’t go down well with the home crowd. Lo­cal whistler David Walsh ruled that Norths had in­fringed from a fiveme­tre scrum and Pe­tone took a de­served lead.

What fol­lowed was a con­certed Norths at­tack and grim de­fence from Pe­tone, with Leiua butcher­ing a try with a ter­ri­ble pass, then Ai­den Cains be­ing held up over the line.

Norths sup­port­ers were singing Leiua’s praises with just min­utes left on the clock. A big blind­side from a scrum about 30 me­tres out saw the bril­liant cen­tre leave tack­lers in his wake and scoot over for the try, se­cur­ing a 25-23 win.

Tawa, mean­while, kept their Hard­ham Cup hopes breath­ing with a tense 13-5 win over Norths B. Avalon, Tawa, Wests and Rimu­taka are now sep­a­rated by just three points and all are chas­ing three spots in next year’s Swin­dale Shield.

Tawa led 10-nil af­ter 20 min­utes and 13-5 at half­time in heavy con­di­tions at Ngati­toa Do­main. Ex­cel­lent goal-kick­ing kept Porirua Vik­ings ahead of a com­mit­ted Univer­sity side in a 74-point thriller in Welling­ton Rugby League play on Satur­day.

A good crowd at As­cot Park was treated to a cracker, Univer­sity fly­ing out of the gates to lead 10-nil early in the match. But the vis­i­tors let them­selves down with ba­sic han­dling er­rors and the cham­pion Vik­ings took ad­van­tage.

Ge­orge Mafi and his fel­low for­wards set a plat­form for the pow­er­ful back­line and the Porirua side hit back to lead 18-14 at the turn­around.

They scored two con­verted tries in the open­ing ex­changes of the sec­ond half, but Univer­sity stormed back to draw level with just over 10 min­utes re­main­ing.

But the home-side ral­lied and their 40-34 win keeps them sec­ond in the ta­ble, just a point back from Wainuiomata.

Rand­wick have fallen two points be­hind the Vik­ings in the stand­ings af­ter a shock 14-12 loss to Te Aroha.

St Ge­orge re­main in bot­tom po­si­tion af­ter Wainui handed them a 62-14 hid­ing, play­ing some ex­pan­sive foot­ball in favourable con­di­tions.

Dragons for­ward Kosi Kelemete was a stand­out in the los­ing ef­fort, while half­back Chris Taraeka also had a fine game.

The Dragons come up against Pe­tone this week­end at McEwan Park, with the Vik­ings trav­el­ling to Whakatiki St to take on Up­per Hutt.

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Lock­ing it in: Norths lock El­don Paea had a huge work­load against Pe­tone on Satur­day, as the Porirua side se­cured a vi­tal bonus-point win to keep their de­fence of the Ju­bilee Cup alive.

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