Kaitaia far classier than rank sug­gests

The Northland Age - - Age Sport -

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.

Bye: Pan­guru

■ 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.

PIC­TURE / SUPPLIED

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.

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