While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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The Auckland Lions had little trouble accounting for Harbour League as they secured victory in the last Bartercard Cup grand final at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday 10 September.
After leading 8-0 at halftime, the Brent Gemmell-coached Lions stretched out to take the title 28-4.
Scoring five tries to one, the Lions snared their fourth straight Bartercard Cup. The last two were under the name of the Auckland Lions after the Mt Albert Lions and Marist Richmond Brothers merged into one franchise; the wins in 2004 and 2005 were achieved by the Mt Albert Lions. Mt Albert also won the 2002 grand final with the Canterbury Bulls breaking the sequence with success in 2003.
In the curtain-raiser at Mt Smart Stadium, Central Districts beat Auckland 18-16 in an NZRL zone under-18s clash. It was a tight contest, especially in the second half when Central were down to 12 players, and was a match that again showcased some of the future stars of New Zealand rugby league. In the second Under 18 match to take place last weekend, North Districts beat Southern Districts 32-20.
The latest Under 18 results means both Central and Northern Districts have two wins each, making for a close match this weekend when the two teams will meet in Rotorua. After this match a trial team will be selected to play against the Australian-based Under 18 New Zealanders.