Epic second-half comeback
On a clear but chilly Rotorua day Pacific Sharks were up against Central in the reserve grade and the hapless wooden spooners Ngongotaha Chiefs in the premiere game.
The reserves battled it out in a top of the table encounter. Pacific Sharks bulked up their team to match Central who uncharacteristically fielded a speedy and agile team. In the first 10 minutes, Pacific were dominant with pivot Jack-Bond Peraua and barn storming forward Dominic Mea scoring tries. Sharks’ captain Jade Hawkins converted for a 12-0 lead in as many minutes.
But Central had a game plan with their speed across the park replying with six unanswered tries to take an unassailable lead into the halftime break of 28-12.
However, in the second half it was all Pacific who used their powerful forwards to wear down the Central defenders scoring five more tries. Sharks’ player of the day and hooker Dane Clark kept the Central marker defence busy with two tries and uncompromising centre Delaney Takiri was unstoppable close to the line with two tries.
The final score of 40-34reflected the attacking potential of both sides and their entertainment value as the crowd that gathered were rapturous throughout the game.
Sharks’ premieres were stunned when Ngongotaha scored two well executed tries to their left wing after 20 minutes for a lead of 10-0. Sharks were struggling to find any rhythm in the backs and clout in the forwards.
After 30 minutes Sharks began to assume dominance territorially and from an attacking scrum, winger Victor Reu cruised over for a try, 10-4. From the restart of play Sharks forwards Callin Tereu and Peter Letoga promoted the ball for halfback Patariki Takiri to place a well weighted bomb and centre Tamatoa Reu to score, 10-8.
After halftime the Sharks lifted their intensity and had the Chiefs in all sorts of bother trying desperately to get out of their half.
Sharks fullback Vinny Morunga was in blistering form and Captain Patrick Russel who retrieved his own in-goal grubber attempt sent centre Weyan Hewett in to score. Takiri converted, 14-10.
Minutes later, Russell was again involved with a deft grubber kick behind the defence for winger Reu to score, 18-10.
After 55 minutes Russell who was able to get on the scoreboard when from an attacking scrum Hewett and heady forward Israel Vano helped the play towards to the goalpost. Russell was unstoppable from dummy half Takiri converted, 24-10.
After 65 minutes, centre Reu showed his class from 40 metres out when hesped away to score in the corner, 28-10.
Pacific added misery to Ngongotaha’s day by scoring a further five tries to Hohepa Gibb, 2, Yannis Mea, 2, and winger Victor Reu to complete a hat-trick for a final score of 52-10.
Retox Player of the Day went to Patrick Russell.
Pacific Sharks player Yannis Mea is too quick for the Central defence.