The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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A wet and wintry Puketawhero Park in Rotorua greeted the two top runners in NZ's Bartercard Cup competition so far in 2004. A small but vocal crowd braved the sloppy conditions to watch the home side Waicoa Bay Stallions take on the might of Marist Richmond Brothers. Both these sides were undefeated going into the match, and after an 80 minute slog with the rain worsening as time went on, both sides remain unbeaten as they fought out to an 18 all draw.
The result in the game was a fair indication of how both the sides played. Total committment and powerful tackles were the order of the day. 6-6 at the halftime break, the game could've gone either way. An early try in the second half to Waicoa Bay saw them starting to hit their straps however when fullback Blair Ingram was sin binned in the 48th min, Marist were quick to take advantage 2 quick tries while the fullback sat on the sideline.
A try to the home side with 9 minutes left in the game saw them take a 2 point lead at 18-16. Marcus Perenara evened up the scoreline in the 76th minute with a penalty right in front, and there the score stayed.
A thoroughly entertaining match and great to see ball rentention in the wet conditions was superb by both these two top sides. Stand out performance by Waicoa Bay's big centre Tukua Matthews and Glen Rota for Marist Richmond Brothers
Both sides now have 5 competition points each and are at the top of the table along with Counties Manakau Jets, all on 5 points.
By the clock:
Waicoa Bay first try in the 13th min to Blair Ingram, converted by Hayden Karena. 6-0
38th min, Marist equalize Henry scores, Marcus Perenara converts. 6-6
Waicoa hit the lead in the 42nd min, try to Joe Kaho, converted by Hayden Karena. 12-6
Ingram for Waicoa Bay sin binned in the 48th min.
Straight away Brothers score a try to Ivala Vaaelua. Perenara misses the conversion. 12-10 to Waicoa Bay.
58th min Tangi Ropati scores a try for Marist, Perenara converts. 16-12 to Marist
71st min - try to 17 Waicoa - Tusitala Soti. Karena converts 18-16 Waicoa Bay.
76th min - penalty to Marist Richmond right in front, Perenara levels the score 18-18.
Final score 18 all draw
Scorers Wai-Coa-Bay 18( Tries Blair Ingram, Joe Kaho,Tusitala Soti, Goals Hayden Karena 3) Marist Richmond 18 ( Ricky Henry,Tangi Ropati, Ivala Vaaelua, Goals Marcus Perenara 3)