Brunsdon stakes his claim
Is Dean Brunsdon the best player in Wellington club rugby right now?
The openside flanker was a key man again for his Northern United side as they overcame a disruptive Johnsonville side 28-3 in the misty drizzle at Helston Park on Saturday.
The win means Norths secure top spot for the Hardham Cup semi-finals – they play Wests at Porirua Park on Saturday.
Brunsdon has been a standout all year and has scored seven tries in the Hardham round.
Norths coach Thomas Perenara said the team’s mix of veterans and bright, young talent was holding them in good stead.
‘‘ I know higher honours are being looked at for Dean and he utterly deserves it.
‘‘I could put him up against anyone in the comp, only Ardie Savea is on the same level, so fingers crossed Dean gets the call-up [to the Wellington Lions].
‘‘He plays hard and fast, he has the total game and is a leader.’’
Perenara said Norths had won every trophy in Wellington aside from the Hardham Cup, and that they didn’t lack for motivation.
‘‘We’ve said, ‘Let’s go and win this’. We respect the cup and it hasn’t been hard to gee them up.
‘‘Yes, we would rather be in the Jubilee Cup, but this is a huge building block for us for next year.’’
Tawa, meanwhile, secured top spot and booked a home semi-final in the Jubilee Cup after beating Hutt Old Boys Marist 23- 9 at Lyndhurst Park.
That was despite having two players sin-binned for the second consecutive week.
Tawa host Old Boys-University at Lyndhurst Park on Saturday.
Northern United women’s side thrashed OBU 63-5 and will be warm favourites to lift the Victoria Tavern Trophy against Oriental-Rongotai at Porirua Park on Friday at 7pm.
In Central League football action, Western Suburbs stay in the hunt for the title after seeing off Wairarapa United 5- 3 at Endeavour Park.
Wests coach Lloyd O’Keefe said his young side continued to improve and had ‘‘everything to play for’’.
‘‘We’re keeping the ball well. When we turn it over we get it back quickly. Having won five games in a row and welcoming back our [New Zealand] under-20 players, we’re really bullish and Rangers and Olympic should be looking over their shoulders.’’
Tawa, meanwhile, lost 1-0 to Napier City Rovers and stay rooted at the foot of the table.
Porirua Vikings saw off Wain- uiomata 34-8 in the first round of Wellington club rugby league playoffs and play Randwick on Saturday in Naenae.
The winner goes straight to the grand final, and the loser gets another life against the winner of the Wainuiomata v University clash.
Fearsome flanker: Dean Brunsdon gets his hands on the ball often, tackles his heart out and is even a lineout option for Northern United.