Second half blitz for Norths
It was just the 100 kilometre per hour start that Steve Haturini didn’t want. Northern United’s new premier rugby season kicked off in dramatic fashion under sunny skies and on the hard deck of Trentham Memorial Park on Saturday.
All Norths’ points in the 34-34 draw with Wainuiomata came in the second spell.
Haturini said his side was just too keen to blast out of the blocks and with that enthusiasm came errors.
‘‘The key thing we’ve said right through training is to slow it down and play the game at our pace,’’ he said. ‘‘By trying to go 100kmh, things went wrong.
’’The boys were a bit hyped up. Once we slowed it down, it went well and we should have won.’’
Down 24-0 at halftime, Norths found their feet in the second 40 and a try to Daniel Aiono, a double to Inoke Rasabale and a penalty try for a high tackle gave them three competition points.
‘‘We let ourselves down in the last few minutes with an error that led to Wainui scoring, but there were plenty of good things we can be proud of,’’ Haturini said.
‘‘We never gave up and our fitness and accuracy really came through.’’
Tawa, meanwhile, showed they mean business with a 70-15 thumping of northern neighbours Paremata Plimmerton.
It was more than a point a minute in the opening half as Tawa raced away to lead 46-3.
The only time coach Dion Waller’s face darkened was when big lock Telea Seumanutafa, who scored two tries, passed to a team-mate to dot down when he was already over the tryline.
‘‘What I’m most rapt about was our consistency,’’ Waller said. ‘‘We had a plan and stuck to it. There was good discipline and our set piece was excellent.’’
Along with Seumanutafa rampaging about, locking combination Bradd Forster and Pati Gaualofa were brilliant, No 8 TJ Fermanis was everywhere and the backline looked full of menace.
James So’oialo looks set to get among the points-scoring records again. He scored a hat-trick of tries and kicked 20 points for a haul of 35 points.
Although Paremata Plimmerton were outmuscled, they scored the try of the match.
Fullback Ryan McLean counterattacked from inside his 22, linked with No 8 and skipper Tane McMillan-Parata, who ran on and placed a perfect centering kick for his brother, Kewa, to collect and score.
Dave Birnie said it was always going to be difficult against a big Tawa side.
‘‘We scored two tries, but our set pieces need some work,’’ Birnie said. ‘‘It’s a tough adjustment at this level and we’re up against representative players.
‘‘We stood up in many areas and this will be a learning experience.’’
Up the guts: Northern United prop Daley Ena shrugs off Wainuiomata tacklers.
Rising high: Northern United lock Jacob Faletutulu had an excellent game.
New talent: Tawa lock Bradd Forster had a debut to remember.