Leop­ards pre­pare for fi­nal re­demp­tion

Manukau Courier - - LOCALJOBS - ALAN APTED

‘‘We've got to try and play the game that has got us to the fi­nal.’’

The Otahuhu Leop­ards are a win away from pro­mo­tion to the Fox Me­mo­rial Tro­phy.

They must beat the Bay Roskill Vik­ings for the Shar­man Cup at Mt Smart Sta­dium No.2 on Satur­day to pull it off.

It will be a tall ask for coach John Ack­land and his charges be­cause the Vik­ings have had the wood on the Leop­ards in all but one game this sea­son.

‘‘We played them four times this sea­son. They were all tight games. They won three out of the four,’’ Ack­land says.

‘‘We’ve got to try and play the game that has got us to the fi­nal.

‘‘We’ve must get good field po­si­tion, we must do our ba­sics well and we must tackle well.’’

Ack­land says it vi­tal that his team’s se­niors play­ers leave their mark on the game.

The Leop­ards beat the Pon­sonby Ponies 22-18 in the semi fi­nal at Trusts Sta­dium, Henderson on Satur­day for their place in the fi­nal.

Ack­land sin­gled out full­back Geron­imo Doyle and hooker Thomas Vaa­fusuaga as the stand­outs for the Leop­ards.

The pair are among nine play­ers who’s fa­thers or un­cles played for the club.

The oth­ers in­cluded Ethan Nukanuka, son of Al­bie Nukanuka; Ethan Fariu, the son of Graeme Fariu, Peni Pepa, the son of Sam Pepa, Con­ner Pur­cell, the son of Stephen Pur­cell, Richard Holani, the son of Paola Holani and Brodie Clark whose fa­ther Vin­nie and un­cles Dean, Arthur and Dave all played for Otahuhu.

And in an­other match high­light, Holani’s un­cle, prop Freddy Tu­ruwhenua played his 187th game for the Leop­ards last Satur­day.

The Shar­man Cup fi­nal kicks off at 11.40am on Satur­day.

The women’s premier­ship fi­nal will be be­tween the Ma­nurewa Wahine and the Rich­mond Roses.

Wahine coach Rusty Matua says the prospect of adding the premier­ship to the mi­nor premier­ship is ex­cit­ing.

‘‘We need to play qual­ity foot­ball to beat a side as ca­pa­ble and well coached as Rich­mond.

‘‘Our de­fense needs to be sound, we need pa­tience and we need to dom­i­nate both pos­ses­sion and po­si­tion.’’

SUP­PLIED

The Otahuhu Leop­ards cel­e­brate their 22-18 Shar­man Cup semi fi­nal over the Pon­sonby Ponies last Satur­day.

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