THROW a blanket over them, from one to seven in the Lion Red Fox Memorial. Unbelievably, with two games left until the semi-finals, seven teams in an eight team competition are in contention for the play-offs.Whilst I did hint at some upsets last week, I did not really believe that Marist would have beaten the Mangere East Hawkes, particularly by 34 points to 16, or indeed that the Otahuhu Leopards would roll the Te Atatu Roosters, pushing them out of the five (on for and against).Two games out and the Lions are in front by four points. They cannot yet be proclaimed winners of the Rukutai Shield as, technically, the Papakura Sea Eagles could still overhaul them but, it has to said, that is a fairly remote possibility. By 4.00pmish tomorrow, I would imagine the Lions would be declared both Minor Premiers and 2006 Roope Rooster winners, as their game against East Coast Bays is the last Roope challenge of the season.Papakura, on sixteen points, are the only other team completely assured of a spot in the semis. Two points separate Northcote, Otahuhu, Mangere, Te Atatu and Marist. Let the battle begin.Walter Massey Park at Mangere plays host to the game between the Hawkes and the Roosters. Mangere will be severely smarting after their beating last week. Lets cut to the chase here, I?m tipping a big win to the Hawkes on their home ground with their partisan crowd behind them.Papakura Sea Eagles play the Otahuhu Leopards out at Prince Edward Park. The Sea Eagles still have a technical crack at the Minor Premiership and they will be going hard out with that in mind. There will be no upset this week for the Leopards. The Sea Eagles will win this one and win big.Marist versus Northcote at Halberg Park. This one is much more difficult to pick. The Tigers look like really struggling to hang on in third spot but they are not going to lie down. Marist, on the other hand, now have a real sniff at the semis and I think will go the distance tomorrow on their home ground. Saints by four points.The Lions, at home, against East Coast Bays. Not much to say about this one. I?d love to say the Barracudas will give them a fright but it?s just not going to happen. Mt Albert will win this one by a lot.All games commence at 2.30pm.
A mug punter taking a quick sticky at the Lion Red Fox Memorial draw for this weekend might reckon that it?s fairly easy pickings. This particular, more mature, mug punter however, has been bitten before, badly, so maybe more than a quick sticky is required.The Top Five remains pretty much as it did prior to last weekends games. The Lions maintain their four point buffer out in front. With just three games left, and their final two games being against bottom of the table teams, it?s hard to not see them being Minor Premiers. Papakura Sea Eagles are really their only (mathematical) danger, sitting in outright second spot, on fourteen points. The Northcote Tigers, despite their fairly hefty loss to Papakura last week, are in third place on twelve points. Mangere and Te Atatu make up the balance, both on eleven points, but with the Hawkes in front on points difference. Both Otahuhu and Marist still have every chance of cracking the five, but time is marching on for them. East Coast Bays now languish, firmly at the bottom of the table and one can only wonder how much of a loss to the team was the retirement of Andrew (Slipper) Green. Slipper was a star back in the Lion Red Cup days so maybe the time was right to hang up the boots.Game of the round this week is probably the clash, at Birkenhead War Memorial, between the Northcote Tigers and the Mt Albert Lions. First against third, so there is not a huge amount between these teams. Despite being in third spot, and remembering they were gifted two points through an out of order opposition, Tigers still don?t look like a Grand Final team. However, if I?m being honest, the Lions appear to have been only just doing enough as well and maybe they are both about to go up a notch. A high point of the Tigers year to date, has been the form of 17 year old full back, Nobby Locke. Nobby has been playing outstanding footy and I believe has been rewarded with a Warriors Development contract. Mt Albert by ten points.Another very juicy game will be the match between the Marist Saints and the Mangere East Hawkes. Only three points separate these two with Marist playing to gain a spot in the five and Mangere playing to retain theirs. The equivalent game in Round five saw the Saints hammered 44/4. I don?t see a similar score line in this one but I think a fairly comprehensive win to the Hawkes.Otahuhu Leopards versus Te Atatu Roosters at Henham Park tomorrow. Two points separate them, Roosters in fifth spot and the Leopards in sixth. This the toughest one to pick. The Leopards got the cigar last time, but only by four points. Te Atatu look like they may be starting to hit some form and they may be hitting it at the right time. Roosters by ten.The Papakura Sea Eagles come up over the bridge to take on East Coast Bays at Freyberg Park tomorrow. I am now very wary about suggesting the Sea Eagles should walk it in, in any game, but surely, if all things are indeed equal, that?s what should happen tomorrow. The problem is, although the Barracudas have not gone at all well this year, you just never know when they are going to pull out a blinder, particularly at home. Still, all things are equal?..aren?t they.All games commence at 2.30pm
GEE whiz, the bloke that wrote this column last week needs to take himself outside and give himself thirty uppercuts. He picked one from four and that was the Lions over the Hawkes. He reckoned the Sea Eagles would walk it in over Marist. Marist beat them 36/28. He spouted on about how the game between the Tigers and Roosters would probably be a draw, if not, the Roosters would win. Final score in that game Tigers 22, Roosters 18. Finally, he put the mockers completely on East Coast Bays, by suggesting the Bays would win a narrow one over the Otahuhu Leopards. The Leopards kicked their butt 34/14.
THE Auckland Rugby League Lion Red Fox Memorial competition is rapidly approaching the sharp end of the season, with five rounds left before the Top Five play-offs commence. A hazy Top Five is beginning to take shape, but with ten points still up for grabs, anything can (and probably will) happen.
AFTER a bye weekend last weekend, tomorrow sees the resumption of the Lion Red Fox Memorial competition.
WELCOME now my friends, to the round that never ends. That could actually describe this Round 13 of the Bartercard Cup as it struggles into it?s third (and hopefully final) week. Having a Bartercard selection (NZ Residents) playing a QRL country side and a Jim Beam Cup selection is a fantastic concept - just not in the middle of the season over two weekends.However, be that as it may, two games left in the round. Competition leaders, Auckland Lions take on the Northern Storm at Fowlds Park today. This should be little more than a training run for the Auckland side as the Northland side languish at the bottom of the table on five points. They have won a couple of games and are capable of upsetting any team - just not todayAuckland LionsDAVID FISI?IASIMALOFOU SOLOMONAMIGUEL STARTANTHONY SWANNLUI TOIMOANASTEVE BUCKINGHAM (C)DANIEL O?REGANTONY TUIALEE WETHERILLDYLAN DAVISSALA FA?ALOGOPALETASALA ALEFABIAN SOUTERREGAN WIGGEDDIE LEAVAISIONE POUHA TBANorthern StormBRENDON HIKAKADYLAN WERELINTON PRICEMASON PUREINOKE TAUFADALEY JOHNSONJOEL FREEMANFINAU MOALAHENRY GODINETHANS MASOEADAM DONALDSONVICTOR TUTUILAKAHURANGI HENAREBLAKE EWEJOE RAU ?JOSEPH TOOTU-IOANESTEVE RAUMonday nights Maori Television game is the match up between Harbour League and the Wellington Orcas at North Harbour Stadium. Not an easy game to tip, this one. Both teams are two points apart. Neither team is showing a lot of consistency and the Orcas took the points on their first meeting this year. Harbour seem to be travelling a little better now that they have veteran hooker, Sonny Cavanagh, back in the number nine jumper. Harbour by a couple.Harbour LeagueDYLAN RAMEKAJOE VAIFALESHAUN METCALFJEREMY GOLFHOPOATE TUIHALANGINGIEJARED TROTTDWAYNE GLASGOWDAMON TROTTSONNY CAVANAGHTANE HART (C)JEREMIAH PAIARTY SHEADJASON KAMARIERADANIEL BELLROCKY EDWARDSCHRIS TUPOUIVALA VAAELUAWellington OrcasDION LAULUMELI KOLIVAUTOLOVAE AUVAAOMPALUS KUADESTA BUCHANANASHLEY PARKERLEON BOYDTAYLOR PELENISEBEN TARAEKAMOSE MASOEDANIEL MISABEN MATULINOHAYDEN DAVISALEHANA MARAPAUL RUDMANJUSTIN CARNEGIEDALLAS RENNIE
SATURDAY 1 July 2006
SATURDAY July 1 sees the beginning of the Auckland Rugby League Lion Red Fox Memorial second round. Seven games played and seven remaining to determine the make up of the top five going into the play-offs. Fox competitions tend to very tight affairs but this one seems more so than usual and only four points separate second place to eighth place. Only the Mt Albert Lions stand out above the rest on 13 points but a quick glance at their ?for and against? shows that they haven?t exactly been flogging the others, but, like every other comp, a win by a point is still a win.It?s just too hard to pick a top five at this point. Mangere East, Papakura and Northcote all sit below the Lions on eight points. It may be pertinent to remember that two of Northcote?s points come from an East Coast Bays unregistered player indiscretion.Below these four teams, we have Te Atatu on six, East Coast Bays on five and Otahuhu and Marist on the bottom of the table, both with four points.For Auckland Rugby League, this is the first year of revamping this venerable competition, with a major step up in prize money and increased promotion, although this cynical old writer is yet to see much increase in promotion. To be fair, they have employed a full time ?Projects Manager? to work the promotions aspect and I do accept that these things often take some time. The manager is well known League identity, Gordon Gibbons, who, given time should bring some entrepreneurial aspects to the comp.Tomorrows games promise some fascinating match ups. Game of the round is undoubtedly the Mangere East v Papakura clash at Walter Massey Park. The Mangere club have been dogged by losing top players to the Counties Manukau Jetz Bartercard franchise and it?s not a hugely happy camp out in South Auckland. Papakura appear to be struggling a bit this season, but have still managed to rack up three wins.Cellar dwellers, Marist and Otahuhu hit out at Halberg Park. The Leopards are another club who have had two points deducted for not being in good order and they may find this very expensive at the business end of the season. Marist have managed a win and two draws and really are not that far off the pace.Te Atatu host Mt Albert at Jack Colvin Park. Te Atatu were the club to be in receipt of the two points removed from Otahuhu, so they are actually looking better than their two wins and five losses would suggest. They have a wily old coach in Del Hughes but I would tip another loss for them tomorrow with the Lions being on something of a roll.The North Shore derby between the Northcote Tigers and East Coast Bays Barracudas promises to provide huge entertainment and lots of fire. A true mate against mate encounter with no quarter given or received. East Coast Bays will be all out to get their points back off their neighbours.All games commence at 2.30pm.
AUCKLAND Rugby League Premier Competition, The Mad Butcher Fox Memorial, is entering that very interesting stage, with five games remaining in the round.
MAD Butcher Fox Memorial Premiership