Warriors 30 v Knights 26
AUCKLAND Sea Lions Kiwi Cup Coach, Lewis Godsmark, will be scratching his head following his team's 28 - 20 loss to Canterbury in the first round of the Lion Foundation National Junior Competition. Widely tipped as favourites to take out the competition, the Seal Lions take on a very handy looking Wellington side, this Saturday, at Wise Park in Wellington. Wise Park has long been a grave yard for Auckland teams, and I suspect that the local side could well have the cigar at full time in this match.
In the Foundation Cup, the Seal Lions were untroubled by the young Canterbury side and should have no difficulty this week, in dealing with the Wise Park bogey.
Auckland Crowns Kiwi Cup squad, this week, take on First National Northland, in the curtain raiser to the Warriors at Ericcson Stadium on Sunday. This Auckland side lacked consistency in their narrow win over Wellington in round 1 and the Wellington side could consider themselves unlucky not to go home with the two points.
This game will be televised on the Sky Sport Network but the channel is still TBA.
The other games Waicoa Bay travel to Christchurch to take on Canterbury at Rugby League Park on Saturday and the Crowns Foundation Cup side take on Northland at Cornwall Park, Auckland on Saturday at 12.45pm
LION FOUNDATION NJC - ROUND 2 FIXTURES
WAITEMATA Seagulls: 16 Howick Hornets: 14
THE First National Northland U16's struck the Auckland Crowns on a very good day at Cornwall Park this afternoon.
Under cloudy skies, in near perfect playing conditions, the Auckland Crowns Foundation Cup team set about taking their Northland visitors apart. In a much improved performance over last Saturday, they were almost ruthless in their very structured game. Half-Back, Sioeli Makaui, showing maturity way beyond his years, lead them around the park like a seasoned veteran, on the way to their 46/6 victory. Makaui was ably assisted in the halves by five eight, and captain, Jody Henry. Henry finished the day scoring 22 points for his side.
Northland started well with a great opening set, featuring their two big props, only to be brought undone by a spilled ball. The Crowns took their opportunity, scoring two quick tries and taking control of the game. With about 15 to go, in the first half, the intensity of the game began to take it's toll and mistakes from both sides began to creep in.
I think I wrote a headline on Saturday that said the Auckland Crowns were "rampant" over the First National Northland team in the Foundation Cup. I think I used that word a little early, Ericcson Stadium on Sunday saw the Auckland Crowns absolutely annihilate Northland in the Kiwi Cup game by 70 points to 4
I expected more, I expected a lot more, from the Northland side. They started well, scored shortly after kick off, through dummy half, Sam Moli. That was about the point where they ceased to take any further part in the game. The Auckland side replied to the visitors try, fairly quickly through Five Eight, Darin Kingi. Paki Ormsby converted and the Crowns took over. Five further tries to the Crowns, including a second to Kingi, saw the scoreboard at the break reading 36/4 to the Auckland side.
The Northland side had their heads down when it got to 20 odd to 4 and things were not going to get any better at all.
The Auckland Crowns came out after the spell and went up a gear. At a point, about half way through the second half, they were scoring off every set. Northland simply had no answers. A couple of individual breaks showed some promise, but nothing eventuated. The Crowns just kept going. It was with some relief, for the First National Northland team (and for most of us in the crowd) when the the final hooter blew.
For the Crowns, Paki Ormsby, a Warrior Development player, had a huge game. A hat trick and a heap of goals saw him pick up 24 points for the game. Darin Kingi, a player involved in the Manly Kiwi connection, scored a brace in front of the Manly bosses at Ericcson for the NRL game. Winger, Nui Talau, had another big game. Pona Jack, off the bench, scored a couple. Props, Alistair Taua'a and Alex Tafili played extremely well in setting the platform and Second Rower, Tyler Cassidy worked all day.
AT an extremely hot Cornwall Park in Auckland today, both U16's and U18's Auckland Crowns teams were victorious over their Wellington counterparts in the first round of the Lion Foundation National Junior Competition.
The U16's Foundation Cup was a very close encounter with Auckland holding a two point lead at half-time.
Both side's big props were continually making big barging runs up the middle and setting a great platform for the nippy outside backs. Both teams were defensively very strong and the scoreboard showed 6/4 at the break.
The second half saw the Auckland side begin to dominate and tries to Loose Forward, Pete Lavea, and rampaging Prop, Leo Faafaeete sealed the victory for the home side. The Wellington team scored a late consolation and the game was over at 18 points to 10.
The U18's game was a replay of last year's Kiwi Cup Grand Final. The Wellington side had been victorious in that game but the tables were turned today.
FOR the second year in a row, the Hibiscus Coast Raiders have taken out the Scottwood Trust NZ Rugby League National 7's Cup.
NEW Zealand League 7's selectors, Graeme Norton, Duane Mann and John Ackland will really have their work cut out for them following day one of the Scottwood National 7's Tournament held at North Harbour Stadium today. The talent and skills on display would make the task difficult for the most experienced selectors, something these guys are. Tomorrow afternoon they will name the NZ Residents squad to play in the St Mary's Invitation 7's in Sydney on February 12 & 13.
The abating of the heat and humidity that has been Auckland recently, meant that the teams were competing in almost perfect playing conditions. Unfortunately the morning rain obviously scared a lot of fans away, as day one of the tournament was fairly poorly attended. If I suggest there was 1100 folks there at it's peak, I would probably be being very generous. The hardy punters who attended, however, were treated to a fete of League 7's. Just how good is it to witness teams from Hawkes Bay, Otago, Taranaki, Gisbourne/Tairawhiti, the West Coast and provincial Canterbury competing on a league field in Auckland. How good is it....it's damn good. It's damn good and even better that every team is competitive and given the right nuturing you would have to think that a lot of these teams, in a fairly short time frame, could be competing at a national level in the 13 man game.
With 20 teams competing in five pools you would reasonably expect that there may be a little biffo along the way. No, every game played was played in excellent spirit and I can count the pentalties awarded for foul play on one hand. A pretty good result for thirty games. The day produced no major upsets, although the provincial Canterbury side (as opposed to the Canterbury Bulls) came within a whisker of upsetting the mighty Mt Albert Lions. The Cantabs lead the entire game with Mt Albert grabbing the lead and the win right on the hooter. In the the first half of the Gisbourne/Tairawhiti versus Hibiscus Coast Raiders, the team from Poverty Bay got out to a very lead. Inuargural Scottwood Cup winners, Hibiscus Coast Raiders, had to pull everything out of their arsenal to get the game back on track and run out winners. Just on the Raiders it was interesting to note the return of centre, Shaun Ata, after a stint with the Penrith Panthers club.
So, who were the standouts. Time and space does not permit because there were more than a few. Some players though, do deserve special mention. Daniel Floyd from the Hibiscus Coast Raiders. Josh Davis and Wesley Henry from Wellington.
Wesley Henry had an absolutely awesome day. It takes a bit to impress this old writer but I was impressed - this bloke is so strong. For the Otago side, Robbie Rameka was head and shoulders. Gisbourne/Tairawhiti produced an amazing number 7 by the name of Storm Kiddie. This young bloke is slightly built but his enthusiasm and skills are a delight to watch. For the Waicoa Bay team, Heyden Kerena was the absolute goods. Gee, is this guy a future Kiwi half or not. Canterbury Bulls regular second rower, Chris Newton, is a guy who reminds me so much of Nathan Hindmarsh - not in size, but the body shape is all wrong, the loping gait seems more suited to a trotter, the centre of gravity is all up the creek but can this guy play. He's an absolute try scoring machine. Tangi Ropati for the Marist Richmond franchise was extremely classy and I'll be very surprised if he doesn't pay a visit to St Mary's shortly. There are so many more and I wouldn't be a selector for quids.
Can't wait for tomorrow. More fantastic 7's footy. Finals time in Bowl, Plate and Cup......and then the squad announcement.
CLOSE to 29,000 league fans were greeted with some razzle dazzle football yet again with the Broncos showing the NZ Warriors that visitors can be beaten at Suncorp, winning 28-20 in hot, muggy conditions.