Kaitaia far classier than rank suggests
KAITAIA 35 KAEO 46: Kaeo continued the build-up towards its memorable centennial celebrations by taking the spoils in a highly entertaining encounter (the closest) from round 5 of the North Zone senior club rugby championship at Arnold Rae Park on Saturday afternoon.
The match was testimony to the quality of the competition with Kaitaia far more impressive than their position at the bottom of the standings might suggest.
The homeside pretty much trailed throughout, often only by two or three points but whenever they scored to reduce the margin, they seemed unable to prevent the visitors from striking back straight away, pushing their lead back out again to the point that Kaitaia would have needed to score twice to claim the lead.
However, Kaitaia had earned its very first point of the season, a bonus point, which manager Clayton Murray said was totally deserved.
“Well we never got the win again, but I must say we have improved a heck of a lot from the previous weeks.
“I knew we’d get it together sooner or later. Guess we just need to start pre season a bit earlier next year,” he said.
Murray said fullback Darryl Smith was outstanding in scoring “his usual freakish tries from all over the place” but gave the biggest credit to the rest of the team for stepping up.
The first thing Kaeo coach Paul Nathan said was how happy everyone was to see the rain, from the farmers to those not on town supply, and especially the players who had to deal with the rock hard grounds left over from the summer thanks to this season’s unusually early start.
“I’m pleased with the rain! Really nice to see. Been a bit dry up here.”
“It was a good game for both sides. They [Kaitaia] are a good side. I was very pleased with the way our boys played coming after last week’s loss to OT, to see if they could bounce back and they did, [by making] good decisions this week, and just their all round play.”
Standouts included prop Richard Cool (best forward) and halfback Chase Hughes (best back) with Nathan giving his overall POTD award to the whole team: “Just fantastic!”
EASTERN 44 KAIKOHE 24 (HT 27-7): A comfortable win for the hosts at Taipa although Kaikohe managed to score three times in quick succession after the second half started to bring it to 27-24. Eastern eventually regathered to stay well within
top four contention.
Coach Dave Jurlina said Kaikohe were very physical and competitive, particularly in the forwards.
“First quarter they were just barging it up through their forwards, we defended really well.
“Got past the brunt of that, started getting into the game as well, played really well in the last half of the first half, got a few tries.
“Second half they had all the momentum. We finally clicked into it, held them out and got back into the game. Little bit disappointed in that third quarter, that second turning into a bit of a trait for us.
Tries by Hayden Jurlina 3, Dane Subritzky Clarke 3, Jake Simpson (the No.7 named forward POTD), Anthony Rogers with Brodus Ngaruhe kicking two penalties and a conversion and Mitch Jurlina kicking a conversion; with winger Anthony Rogers given back POTD award.
Kaikohe coach Wally Harris said this was another great game between Bay and Mangonui teams, and started with both teams fighting for dominance,
“We always knew it was going to be a tough one,” he said, noting that while Kaikohe kept Taipa down in there 22 for the first 25 minutes, errors and lack of communication allowed Eastern to post the first points on the board and get away to a 20 point advantage at half time.
Kaikohe went straight on the counter after the restart, scoring after two minutes and continued to apply pressure to bring the score within two points.
However, like the first half, errors and communication let the visitors down allowing Eastern to score another 18 points in an eight minute spell.
“Slightly disappointed we have proven that we have the ability to bring games back within reach, letting go at the end is not good enough. I believe in our team . . . we will be resilient, we will regroup accept our losses and move forward.”
OTIRIA 50 OHAEAWAI 24: Otiria coach Te Rangi Allen said the hosts continued what is becoming a historic campaign with this win over Ohaeawai “for the first time that anyone living can remember”.
“Otiria were comfortably ahead in both halves but leaked points in the final quarter of both halves. Just another milestone as we continue to develop a winning culture. We know that we have yet to play last year’s top four,” he said, noting the focus was now on playing a Panguru “who are also developing well” away.
Standouts on Saturday were Paora Allen in the forwards and Lucas Read in the backs.
“We still have much to work on before Saturday but will celebrate this special occasion,” Allen said.
UNITED KAWAKAWA/ MOEREWA 61 TE RARAWA 5 (HT 21-5): Despite suffering one of the biggest scores of the round in this match at Simson Park (transferred from Kawakawa), Te Rarawa coach Thomas Rogers couldn’t have been more proud of his team’s performance.
He noted the visitors arrived with a skeleton crew to take on the competition leaders and delivered a performance of Braveheart proportions.
“Another good game from us. [Yeah, we went down by] Another big score… We had a cracker of a first half.”
Rarawa’s sole try by Tunney Thrupp, with Rogers giving the overall POTD to the whole 16 boys that fronted. Rarawa now prepare to host Eastern in a night game on Friday.
Moerewa UK coach Wayne Martin admitted on paper, top side vs a lower table side with the bare minimum, was never going to shape up to be much of a scrap. But it at least allowed him to give some of those on the cusp of first team selection a gallop.
“Trying to get the boys who haven’t had a lot of game time some time on the field. Just to make sure they were familiar with our patterns and processes. We still put out a really strong side. We aren’t taking anyone lightly, Rarawa proved that, they really battered out boys, they sure know how to tackle!”
Tries by Axel Goodhue 2, Buster Tahere 2, Warren Dunn 2, Josh Owen 1, with fullback Kane Brooks kicking 8 conversions (and earning back POTD award); while hooker John Hickey was named forward POTD: “Really ground it out up front.”
AWANUI 77 OKAIHAU ¯ 19: Like Rarawa, O¯ kaihau also given a tough assignment; an away gig to an Awanui which has been building up an ominous head of steam since the opening round loss to Moerewa UK.
Coach Paula Scutt said the side had prepared for the match appropriately having heard Okaihau were strong on the set piece and had a solid forward pack.
“Our systems, our backs, were just poetry in motion,” said Scutt.
Awanui fullback Matt Tuatagaloa was in rampant form scoring seven tries (the club record is something like 8 or 9 and held by Rupeni Caucaunibuca, he also converted some himself) to finish off some good team plays, with Kuli Baleisomosomo and Aisea ‘Ice’ Tuifeleaki
each grabbing two and newbie winger Dan Morgan one, with Tiano Arona kicking the difference. Scutt also praised coach Paul Bolton who had reffed Awanui the previous week and coached Saturday’s visiting unit.
“Just people like that in Northland rugby are really valuable,” he said.
Okaihau manager Clint ‘Chops’ Clayden said the visitors were still pleased to score three tries against such esteemed opposition, two for big prop Mark Lavakieaho (also named POTD: “He really had it at them”), the other by No.8 Damien Halliday.
Both teams also observed a minute’s silence before kick-off out of respect for O¯ kaihau rugby patron Peter ‘Rado’ Radovanovich, who passed away at 8am on matchday. Rado was a well respected member of his local community, a veritable “legend” — someone described him as the “unofficial mayor of O¯ kaihau” — and a staunch — in the very essence of the term — stalwart of the local rugby club. This made for an emotional game as several of the visiting players were related.
Elsewhere, Clayden was impressed at learning Awanui had an embarrassment of riches with something like 40 players on the books; 18 of whom were apparently unavailable on Saturday. “[And] They’ve got a lot of imports,” he noted.
■ STANDINGS: Moerewa UK* (played 5, for 238/ against 98) 24 points, Awanui (5, 249/132) 22, Otiria (4, 150/ 87) 20, Kaeo (4, 171/96) 17, Eastern (5, 205/140) 16, Kaikohe (5, 129/139) 13, Panguru (4, 110/103) 10, Taiamai Ohaeawai (4, 96/151) 7, O¯ kaihau (5, 128/224) 6, Te Rarawa (5, 88/233) 3, Kaitaia (4, 77/238) 1.
In the Bayleys Premiership, Kerikeri were beaten 12-24 by Kamo in the Prem A grade, while the reserves drew 29-all in the curtain raiser; the Bay teams thus remain winless after two weeks of competition.
Darryl Smith on way to scoring a try in the North Zone game between Kaitaia and Kaeo at Arnold Rae Park on Saturday. The visiting Kaeo won but Smith’s contribution to the homeside’s score allowed Kaitaia to claim its first legitimate point of the 2019 campaign.
A minute’s silence was held before the Awanui/ O¯ kaihau game as a sign of respect to O¯ kaihau rugby club stalwart Paul Radovanovich who died that morning.