Turbos trip up Wellington
Relegated from the ITM Premiership, but at least the Turbos gave departing coach Jason O’Halloran a decent farewell present with a win over Wellington.
It’s not often that Manawatu beats its much bigger southern neighbour, so when the ‘Green-Goes’ scraped home 39 – 33, after leading 22 – 12 at half-time, there was plenty cause for celebration.
And to do it with five tries on the opposition patch in a game most pundits didn’t expect them to win, must have been especially satisfying. It was the siver lining in the season’s beige cloud and would have been a decent collect at the TAB with the Turbos paying around $4.50.
Uncharacteristically, the Turbos were the first to score with a try in the first minute to captain Callum Gibbons. That was followed by two more first half tries to Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, and to Toby Morland after a brilliant run from Ambrose Curtis.
After the break, Nathan Tudreu was next across the line while brother Nathan was the other try-scorer after a foxing double-around from Otere Black, who also slotted four conversions and two penalties.
Meanwhile, as the Turbos tired and the bench was cleared, Wellington were making up ground and looked to have scored potentially the winning try in the dying seconds of the game, only to be denied by the TMO. Talk about a nail-biter!
Despite the almost inherent defensive lapses, handling problems and ball control, the game has been rated the Turbos best outing of the year.
However, despite the bonus point win, the result still left Manawatu at the bottom of the Premiership ladder with 19 points – two behind Waikato and five behind Counties-Manukau.
That’s especially annoying because Waikato and Counties-Manukau were two teams the Turbos should have put away earlier in the season. Manawatu have themselves to blame for a patchy Premiership that only offered supporters tantalising glimpses of the team’s potential.
If blame is to be shared, there is another culprit in the loss of Premiership status – northern neighbours, Hawkes Bay.
All the Magpies had to do was hang on to the log o’ wood and it would have been Waikato cowbells tolling in the relegation zone.
Turbos centre Jason Emery (left) celebrates Nathan Tudreu’s try against Wellington at the Caketine on Saturday.