Leopards prepare for final redemption
‘‘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.’’
The Otahuhu Leopards celebrate their 22-18 Sharman Cup semi final over the Ponsonby Ponies last Saturday.