Tauili’ili a Tawa man now
Logan Tauili’ili played 160 games for Upper Hutt’s premier rugby side, but he was one of the architects of their defeat on Saturday as Tawa remained on target to retain the Swindale Shield.
The unbeaten Tawa side prevailed 29-20 at Maidstone Park, but despite the closeness of the score, the visitors were in control.
Although Tawa were down 7-3 early, their forwards asserted dominance and three tries before halftime to a backline that included George Tilsley and Tu Umaga-Marshall could not be contained.
Yellow cards in the second half to Tawa’s Siaosi Mafi and Matt Treeby kept Upper Hutt in the match, but another bonus-point win keeps Tawa six points clear at the top.
The entire forward pack was outstanding and Tawa’s electric backs, coupled with the calming influence of fullback Randall Bishop, were the difference.
Tauili’ili said he had mixed emotions coming back to a club that he gave so much to, as a player and a coach. But his mind was firmly on ensuring Tawa would come out on top.
‘‘It was Old Timers’ Day, so there was plenty to play for.
‘‘I was thinking about what to say to the boys before the game, but I decided that the past is the past. Tawa is my family now and they’re my focus.’’
He picked up the Upper Hutt game plan within 10 minutes and got the message out to his team. They adjusted and he was proud of the result.
The coming weeks would really put the heat on his squad, Tauili’ili said.
Oriental-Rongotai, Petone, Old-Boys University and Marist St Pats are to come.
‘‘For us, and I know how this sounds, but it is one game at a time. Sure, we’re unbeaten, but you’re kidding if you say we’ve got nothing to work on.
‘‘There are just little things where we need to improve, but the quality and character within this club is amazing.’’
Elsewhere, Northern United are in ninth place after a forward-dominated 29-20 win over Wellington at Hataitai Park. Norths piled on 20 points in the opening half and then had to withstand a strong-finishing home side to take the crucial four points.
Dudley Parson’s sending off made for some nervous moments at the end for the visiting supporters.
Jackson Garden-Bachop was a standout for Norths, scoring 24 points, including two tries.
In Senior 1, Paremata- Plimmerton prevailed 20- 10 in the gloom against Wainuiomata at William Jones Park.
A key moment was just before the break, when Kewa McMillan-Parata charged down a chip and sprinted 60 metres to score.
The fourth-placed Paremata-Plimmerton play table-topping Avalon this weekend.
In premier women’s play, Northern United ran riot in smashing Poneke-MSP 118-0 and Tawa went down 72-12 to OBU.
In Central League football action, Tawa have leapt into sixth spot after an excellent 3-1 win over Lower Hutt at Redwood Park.
William Gibbons netted first for the hosts after 15 minutes and then Mike Ramaekers showed his class with an over-the-shoulder volley to make it 2-0.
Lower Hutt pulled one back on the hour mark, but Todd Painter got a fortunate third for Tawa not long after. Lower Hutt goalkeeper Reed Collingwood’s attempted clearance struck Painter and the ball ended up in the back of the net.
The win was Tawa’s second of the season and belies early predictions that they were destined for the wooden spoon.
Western Suburbs’ credentials took a further hit after they came away from the trip to second-bottom Palmerston North Marist with a 2-2 draw.
Noah Billingsley and Ben Sippola were on target for Wests. The result leaves Wests in eighth, with three losses, a win and a draw.
In Wellington premier rugby league, St George and Porirua Vikings suffered heavy defeats, falling to the unbeaten Te Aroha (32-10) and Wainuiomata (34-4), respectively.
Wainuiomata leapfrog Porirua into third and St George remain sixth.