Aoraki Eels end season with home win
The Aoraki Eels finished their first South Island Rugby League premiership season in strong fashion with a 33-24 win over the West Coast Chargers in Timaru.
Aoraki’s tries came from Josh Robson with a double, Anam Mana, Aifala Taelega, Tyrone Hill and Nathan Robinson, while West Coast scored four of their own on Saturday.
Aoraki coach Sonny Hammond said it was a great way to end the season.
‘‘Yeah, definitely we’re happy with the way we managed to bounce back from last weekend and play the way we did.’’
He said it was a good reward for the team, who had made massive strides since the opening round.
‘‘I’m really pleased with the guys. They’ve done really well to get to where they have in their first season.
‘‘It gives us plenty to work with for next year but also shows them what work they need to do to be the top team, and hopefully I get to take them again.’’
Hammond said they played a good style of game against the Coast.
‘‘We hit it up more in the forwards and that seemed to
‘‘"The Coast were quite a tough, fit team. We had to work hard."’’
‘‘Our big ball runners, Tom Fleming, Anam Mana and John Simon, really gave us some muchneeded go forward.
‘‘The Coast were quite a tough, fit team. We had to work hard.’’
He said a number of players had taken their chances and deserved a place in the Southern Scorpions if the opportunity came about.
Hammond said Mana, Simon and Fleming played well, while outside back Robson has been one of their best this season.
‘‘I mentioned the Southland game and how a win there could’ve won us the title, but I wanted the guys to think more about how good the season has been.’’
The victory secured Aoraki second place overall, after they finished with two wins, a draw and a loss.
Hill was the first to score for the Eels after finding space off a short ball from Nathan Robinson.
Robson made it 10-0 when he outsprinted his West Coast opposite to score off a Robinson kick.
They were in again soon after when Taelega bulldozed over.
A show-and-go from Robinson made it 22-0, before West Coast hit back with a try on halftime.
West Coast outscored the Eels 18-11 in the second half.
Eels playmaker Robinson managed the rare feat of scoring by every possible method, via a try, three conversions, a penalty goal and a field goal.
Otago won the competition with a 76-16 drubbing of the Tasman Titans.
Aifala Tealega, of the Aoraki Eels, hits the ball up against the West Coast Chargers at Ashbury Park.