And then there were 10

The Northland Age - - Sport -

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.

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