So’oialo the hero for Tawa in cliffhanger

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

Ev­ery­one knew James So’oialo had a big kick, but this was ridicu­lous.

The Tawa rugby faith­ful were ju­bi­lant at Hel­ston Park on Satur­day when So’oialo broke the hearts of John­sonville sup­port­ers with a nearly un­be­liev­able kick of 60 me­tres on full­time to break a 15-15 dead­lock in the Swin­dale Shield match.

Mo­ments ear­lier it looked like a break­away try was on for the home side, but a shep­herd­ing call gave So’oialo his chance, and his boom­ing kick won it.

Tawa coach Dion Waller said his side prob­a­bly de­served to win the close con­test, but praised John­sonville.

‘‘There has been some neg­a­tiv­ity around about the likes of John­sonville, Pare Plim and Avalon strug­gling,’’ he said.

‘‘But we’ve been re­ally pushed by some of those so-called lower teams. You’ve got to give them credit.

‘‘To­day was a real battle and they were up for this lo­cal derby. They pinched our ball, were dis­rup­tive, fought hard and have a great cul­ture at their club.’’

Waller said Tawa open­side flanker TJ Fer­ma­nis was an out­stand­ing leader and props Liv­ing­stone Finau and Thomas Ge­orge had mighty games along­side ex­pe­ri­enced hooker Matt Treeby.

Tawa had sev­eral in­jured play­ers, par­tic­u­larly in the pack, and the depth of the club was be­ing tested, he said.

‘‘To have guys like Thomas step­ping up is fan­tas­tic. They’re do­ing a great job.’’

John­sonville led 8-5 at half­time, with a try from So’oialo keep­ing the vis­i­tors close.

Tawa blind­side flanker Te­lea Seu­manutafa scored early in the sec­ond half to give Tawa a buf­fer, but John­sonville clawed their way back.

Waller warned that slow starts to matches would be costly against the other com­pe­ti­tion lead­ers.

So’oialo is the sec­ond-high­est points scorer in the pre­mier grade this sea­son, with 99. Tyler Tane, from Wainuiomata, has 101 points.

The re­sult means Tawa and Hutt Old Boys Marist are the only un­beaten sides af­ter six matches. Hutt have an ex­tra bonus point and are on 28 points to Tawa’s 27. Tawa will play third-placed Marist St Pat’s at Lyn­d­hurst Park on Satur­day in a vi­tal con­test.

Mean­while, in the lo­cal derby at Ngati­toa Domain, North­ern United were far too strong for Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton, win­ning 55-7.

Norths scored nine tries and first-five Jack­son Gar­den-Ba­chop scored two of them and kicked five con­ver­sions for a haul of 20 points.

Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton had strong pe­ri­ods, but Norths fi­nally click­ing was bad news for the home sup­port­ers.

Gar­den-Ba­chop di­rected traf­fic bril­liantly and lock Api Naika­tini had one of his big games, car­ry­ing the ball strongly and mak­ing some bru­tal tack­les.

For Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton, sec­ond- five Jonathan Sabo ran hard and straight and tack­led well, and a try late on to Tane McMillan-Parata was a just re­ward for him. Norths’ win means they have 15 points and are in mid-ta­ble.

In Welling­ton pre­mier club rugby league, St Ge­orge ran into heavy­weights Rand­wick, and came away with a bruis­ing 50-24 loss. Porirua Vik­ings pipped Te Aroha 20- 18 to stay un­beaten af­ter three rounds.In re­serve grade, Ti­tahi Bay Mar­lins beat Pe­tone by de­fault.

West­ern Sub­urbs con­tin­ued on their merry, goal-scor­ing way in foot­ball’s Cen­tral League with an 8-1 ham­mer­ing of Palmer­ston North at Me­mo­rial Park in Palmer­ston North.

That means they have scored 13 goals in their last two matches. The re­sult keeps them sec­ond in the ta­ble af­ter five matches, be­hind un­beaten Napier City Rovers.

Tawa, mean­while, lost 2-1 to Lower Hutt City and re­main win­less.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Tawa hero James So’oialo burst through against John­sonville on Satur­day.

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