Are East­ern now favourites for Man­gonui ti­tle?

The Northland Age - - Local Classifieds -

FROM PAGE 28 com­pe­ti­tion , are now strug­gling to make the top eight. Their hope now is the buf­fer they have over the next bot­tom side. Their 4-36 thump­ing by Pen­rith with­out their State of Origin play­ers was ab­so­lutely shock­ing. Coach Stephen Kear­ney is con­fi­dent the side will bounce back against the Bris­bane Bron­cos on Satur­day night.

“We need to be bet­ter, ev­ery­one needs to im­prove to go from here,” he said. The guy is kid­ding! Sadly, for the pro­gres­sion of league in this coun­try, we look to the War­riors but the pos­si­bil­ity of this side making the top four play offs now looks very un­likely. Like­wise, what’s hap­pen­ing in the lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion? With sides giv­ing up and de­fault­ing, are we about to see league per­ish again? More on this later.

You have got to give it to this East­ern side. Tough and full of con­fi­dence, their 23-16 win over arch rivals Awanui sug­gests they are favourites to win the Man­gonui se­nior club rugby ti­tle for the sec­ond time. The dif­fer­ence here is that they are well coached. Awanui will al­ways be tough but the prob­lem is this is a side which re­lies on a few of their top play­ers. If they are not on the pad­dock, Awanui are just a shadow. Now the East Coast­ers face Kaita¯ia in town, a side that has given them headaches. The town­ies have plenty of team spirit and they have the num­bers but the class of East­ern’s play and the fit­ness will be their down­fall.

Picks: Te Rarawa a big one over Pan­guru, East­ern to thump Kaita¯ia. And that’s how Mat sees it.

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