And then there were 10
Organisers of this year’s Taitokerau Rugby League Premiership have been forced to backtrack and revise the season draw following the withdrawal of another team after the Moerewa Tigers became the latest casualty to follow Otaua into the abyss.
This has reduced the competition to what some believe is a more manageable 10 teams. The following is a round up of results from the round 2 games played around the district on a wet Saturday afternoon.
Te Hiku o te Ika Mavericks 50 Waipapakauri Bombers 4: The Mavericks once again running riot on the Kaitaia College top fields with spokesman Connor O’Sullivan pleased with the outcome considering the hosts were only able to field 14 players. While this made for what could be regarded as a bit of a B-team, the performance highlighted the depth available to the pretenders to the throne.
“Really physical game. Our boys held their ground, dug really deep. Being a new team we really needed a hard game to test our mental toughness. Waipap are same as us in terms of age, quite young, energetic, there were some big hits in the game. First 20 minutes ran really tight. After that our fitness, our solid structure, our pre-season set it. [We eventually] Ended up playing our game, shifting the ball wide,” he said, adding conditions weren’t the best with a heavy shower beforehand making for a heavy, boggy track.
Tries for O’Sullivan, Te Puhi Rudolph, Hayden Lloyd, Kevin Jobe, Dan Waenga, Aaron Graham, Dave McBirnie (and earning the POTD), and Haze Wode, the latter two scoring on their debuts.
“We have our sights set being the best team up here. We are progressing towards that but we also want to stay humble, and respect and thank the other teams.”
The result also allowed the team to get back on track after having its opening round win against the Broncos reversed for fielding an unregistered player (Rudolph, who has returned home after a stint playing and studying in the Waikato).
The issue highlighted a dilemma in that with the TRL cutting its ties with Northland Rugby League and, thus, effectively with the NZRL, what difference should it make if someone starts playing for a side in the competition? O’Sullivan described the loss of points as a “technical hiccup” and said the side had already moved on.
Pawarenga Broncos 16 Ngati Wai Seahawks 16: Both sides sharing the points from a tense standoff at Ludbrook Park, with Broncos coach Hone Wikitera noting the two teams began short on numbers before late arrivals boosted the ranks.
“I think we were happy with the performance more than last week [the big loss to the Mavericks]. Bit more satisfaction. It was an improvement. Managed to complete a few sets, quite a few positives. Game was close all the way through.”
The Broncos fielded several new youth players, and one was a standout, teenage centre Cannon Barry scoring the first try of the day as well as making some good breaks to earn his team’s POTD award in his first game of senior footy. Looking forward to more players returning to the fold, Wikitera extended a warm welcome to the Sea Hawks, one of the competition’s new teams this year: “They were good, played to the spirit and the integrity of the game.”
The match was supposed to have been the main game in a double header (before the Aupouri Repo/ Ngati Wai Seahawks match was called off..
Kaikohe Lions 28 United Valleys Crushers 14: Crushers coach Peter Makiha said the result showed last year’s grand finalists were back on the mend following their opening round default to the Sharks at Taipa.
“They had a good squad, we just turned up flat,” said Makiha, noting the Crushers were still in good health and reporting good numbers.
Tries by Koby Warmington 2 and Haylin Rogers, while standouts were second rower Matt Rogers and Jordan Slade, the latter impressing at prop in his first game of league.
Other results saw champions Ngati Kahu Sharks savage the Kerikeri Makos 54-24 at Taipa; while the Aupouri Repo vs Taiamai Taniwha match — due to curtain raise the Broncos/ Seahawks match at Ohaeawai — did not get played with the Repo unable to make the trip south due to the massive slip on SH1. ■ STANDINGS: Not advised. There are no games this Saturday with the competition taking a break for Easter Weekend.