Win­ning fin­ish is Steel­ers’ goal


The Coun­ties Manukau Steel­ers plan to fin­ish their Mitre 10 Cup rugby cam­paign in style.

They’re up against semi-fi­nal bound Tas­man at ECOLight Sta­dium, Pukekohe, on Satur­day at 7.35pm, in a match where the re­sult is of lit­tle con­se­quence to ei­ther team.

The Makos can’t be over­taken by the Steel­ers, and the Steel­ers’ place in the Pre­mier­ship is se­cure af­ter their ner­vous 29-24 win over Manawatu, and Auck­land and Waikato’s re­spec­tive losses to Tas­man and North Har­bour.

Coach Darryl Sua­sua says his Steel­ers are as mo­ti­vated as they were at the start of their sea­son.

‘‘We cer­tainly still want to go out with a bang. We want to put to­gether a per­for­mance that we can be proud of. It would be great to do it in front of our sup­port­ers.’’

Sua­sua be­lieves the Steel­ers are not too far away from their best form, say­ing they showed enor­mous char­ac­ter in the vic­tory over Manawatu at Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena in Palmer­ston North last Thurs­day.

‘‘That was a very gutsy per­for­mance against a team that had en­joyed wins over Pre­mier­ship sides Tas­man and Waikato,’’ Sua­sua says.

‘‘The last­ing im­age I have of that game is the way the play­ers col­lapsed to the ground at the fi­nal whis­tle. They’d emp­tied their tanks.

‘‘Manawatu is a side that likes run­ning their op­po­si­tion. But we stuck with them even though we were down to 14 men for 30 min­utes of the match.

‘‘I took a photo of the play­ers af­ter the match and put it up on Face­book as a re­minder of what it’s like to empty the tank. I want them to do it again against Tas­man on Satur­day.’’

Tim Nanai-Wil­liams and Te­vita Nabura were each sin­binned for 10 min­utes, while cap­tain Au­gus­tine Pulu was red­carded for mak­ing con­tact with a player’s head.

Ron­ald Raay­mak­ers, Stephen Don­ald, Or­byn Leger and Nigel Ah Wong scored the Steel­ers’ tries, while Don­ald kicked three con­ver­sions and a penalty.

In the women’s rugby, the Coun­ties Manukau Heat are back at the top of the Farah Palmer Cup af­ter their 43-13 whip­ping of Welling­ton. First-five Vic­to­ria Subritzky-Nafa­tali scored three of her side’s six tries.

They play Manawatu in the fi­nal game of the round robin at Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena on Satur­day at mid­day.

The Heat’s first-five Vic­to­ria Subritzky-Nafa­tali scored a try hat-trick against Welling­ton.

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