Vikings show championship calibre
Porirua Vikings will go into this weekend’s finals series with their tails up after a 74-14 hiding of neighbours St George on Saturday.
The win sees the Vikings clinch first place following the completion of the round-robin part of the season, after Wainuiomata fell to Randwick. Both Wainui and the Vikings finish on the same number of points, but the Porirua side has a superior points differential.
It was just reward for the team, who were denied a sure two competition points when their previous fixture, against Upper Hutt, was rightly called off because of the threat of lightning.
St George, who finished bottom in the competition, flew out of the gates at Ascot Park on Saturday, piling on the pressure and points in the opening exchanges.
But the quality of the Vikings eventually won through and the second half, especially, was a romp.
Coach David Lomax was pleased with the way his charges weathered the early Dragons’ onslaught, then showed their championship calibre.
‘‘St George always play with a good attitude and we were expecting them to come out like that. They scored the first two tries but we got on top and eventually ran away with it. Often you’ll see teams do all the work early and then sit back but it was the other way with us this time, we finished well and that was pretty pleasing.’’
In the 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 format, the winners of the Vikings/ Te Aroha and Wainui/ Randwick matches go straight into the semifinals and have a week off. The losers will face off against the winners from the bottom four playoffs ( St George will play Petone).
Randwick loom as a real danger in the post-season play.
‘‘They had a few injuries at the start of the season, but they’re at full strength and they will be tough to beat,’’ Lomax says.
He and Vikings chairman Bernie Wood are already lauding a successful 2011 for the club, with the reserves unbeaten and the under 19s only suffering a single loss.
‘‘We’ve recruited well – it shows that there are succession plans in place at the Vikings,’’ Lomax says.