Our own Rick Edgerton is in to wrap Game II of #Origin and looks ahead to the decider in a fortnight...
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The only game this weekend from New Zealand's Bartercard Cup competition is to be played on Saturday evening as the curtain raiser to the NRL clash between the Warriors and the Eels. It is to be a Round 12 fixture between Otahuhu Ellerslie and the Eastern Tornadoes. Round 10 of the competition will continue as normal next weekend.
The Bartercard Cup competition is having a week's grace to allow for the match between New Zealand A and NSW Country which is to be played on Sunday afternoon at North Harbour Stadium.
BARTERCARD CUP TEAM LISTS - ROUND 12 FIXTURE:
Saturday 3 July 2004
Otahuhu Ellerslie come off a fine win over Glenora last weekend playing in wet and windy weather conditions. A well disciplined game, the win saw them move into 4th spot in the competition. With top centre Paul Fisi'iahi out for representative duties on Sunday, the Otahuhu Ellerslie club will look to their reserves.
Eastern Tornadoes also put in a committed performance against the Stallions in Round 9 and will look to continue their form on Saturday night against the Otahuhu Ellerslie side.
Eastern Tornadoes: T. Hewitt, N. Ngametua, R. Piakura, K. Fakalata, I. Paulo, Z. Luisi, W. Morunga, A. Lafaele, L. Lafaele, A. Leau, I. Liava'a (C), N. Pulu, S. Paeu Reserves: M. Latu, P. Menary, S. Smith, H. Rangi Coach: Boss Cecil
Otahuhu Ellerslie: P. Atkin, G. Ruka, J. Tavaga, (No.4 TBA), D. Fisi'iahi, J. Yandall, C. Wetini, S. Faitala (C), G. Va'afuasaga, F. Tupou, T. Frost, R. Johnson, M. Langdon Reserves: A. Fausa, (No.15 TBA), C. Palmer, T. Pulini Coach: James Leuluai
NZ A vs NSW Country North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 2.30pm Kick Off
Seven of the Auckland Premiers side who played NSW Country on Tuesday night in very cold conditions will be backing up on Sunday afternoon for NZ A.
At 32, Duff is a Bartercard Cup veteran, but experience should be an asset when the national residents' team attempts to overcome a Country side which beat Auckland 26-14 on Tuesday night. Duff was called up when the New Zealand Warriors claimed prop Shannon Stowers for the NRL match against Parramatta tomorrow night, and has been given a strong vote of confidence by A team coach Phil Prescott.
"They did a pretty good job of slowing the Auckland play-the-ball," said Prescott yesterday. "Jason has plenty of go-forward and one of the best play-the-balls in the Bartercard Cup."
A 1991 Junior Kiwi, Duff represented Canterbury between 1992 and 1994 before trying his luck in Sydney. He joined Auckland's Northcote club in 1997 and plays for the North Harbour Tigers in the national competition.
Marist-Richmond's Misi Taulapapa has replaced Hibiscus Coast fullback Daniel Floyd, whose season ended when he suffered a fractured cheekbone last weekend.
"Misi played fullback for Auckland in the second half on Tuesday night after being on the wing in the first half. He's pretty quick, gets involved, and was safe under the high ball," said Prescott.
Taulapapa's claims were improved by the presence of three club-mates in strategic positions. He, centre Ricky Henry, second-rower Henry Turua, and replacement half Bernie Perenara will all operate on the left side of the field.
Prescott expects the three players from his champion Canterbury Bulls to make an impression at this level. Andrew Auimatagi starts at hooker, Sam Wallace will be the right-side second-rower, and Chris Newton fills his familiar impact role off the interchange bench.
The country districts of New South Wales have long been the major source of talent for the big-spending Sydney clubs, and the current short tour is being looked on as a stepping stone to professional contracts.
"It's a huge area. Like all the other kids in Australia, this is a chance for them. They have made this team and it puts them in front of the talent scouts from the NRL clubs," said Prescott.
"They play pretty good, and look a fairly slick unit, with decent size in the forwards. When they hit the fringes they had some options going and had some success on Auckland's right-hand side."
Only four of the 22 New Zealand A players who toured Britain last year remain in the squad. Most of the others, including Cantabrians Shane Beyers, Lusi Sione, and Taylor Pelenise, are now with overseas clubs.
Eight of the current players are backing up from the losing Auckland team, but Prescott has no concerns their Country rivals might believe they have a psychological advantage going into Sunday's game.
"This team has three from Canterbury, Jason Duff, Ben Valeni (who has been cleared of the hamstring strain which caused his withdrawal from the Auckland team) and a few other Aucklanders who didn't play the other night. We have different options," he said.
The New Zealand A players were given a fillip yesterday when told they would be matched against a Sydney Jim Beam Cup team in the curtain-raiser to the October 16 Tri-Nations test between the Kiwis and Kangaroos at North Harbour Stadium
The curtain raiser will see the Wellington U18's up against the NSW Country U18's who lost to the young Auckland side on Tuesday night by 30-12. The Wellington U18 side are the current National champions.
NEW ZEALAND 'A' vs N.S.W COUNTRY 2.30pm Kick Off NEW ZEALAND 'A' Misi Taulapapa, Karl Johnson, Paul Fisi'iahi, Ricky Henry, Rowan Baxter, Steve Buckingham (C), Aoterangi Herangi, Kurt Cawdron, Andrew Auimatagi, Jason Duff, Sam Wallace, Henry Turua, Frank-Paul Nuuausala Interchange: Bernie Perenara, Chris Newton, Lee Tamatoa, Ben Valeni Coach: Phil Prescott N.S.W COUNTRY Gary Dowling, Adam Blake, Luke Taylor, Faud Suljkanovic, Geoff Johnson, Jacob Briggs, Warwick Colley, Kip Miranda, Darren Jackson, Mahe Hala, Peter Jensen, Ben Murphy, Phil Stonham Interchange: Dean Amos, Damian Seears, Kurt Hancock, Todd Pavlou Coach: Scott Meini
Curtain Raiser Match: WELLINGTON 18's vs N.S.W COUNTRY 18's 12.45pm Kick Off WELLINGTON 18's Issac Luke, Misi Samueli, Joshua Davis, Viliami Manu, Desta Buchanan, Marvin Karawana, Joseph Parekura, Tim Natusch, John Te Reo, Hanan Laban, Simon Mannering, Alan Schirnack, Tuwharetoa Whakatihi Interchange: Hayden Magele, Wiremu Weepu, Manu Weepu, Lale Ausage, 18th Man - Michael Lealava'a Coach: Gordon Pepere N.S.W COUNTRY 18's Dylan Skee, Chris Noble, Warren Williams, Will Merritt, Mitch McPherson, Chris Borgese, Tim Holman, Jack Rampling, Chad Nealon, Brodea Sanders, Jaob Hull, Kris Krause, Mitch Aubusson Interchange: Dylan Crawley, Trent Jansen, Trent Grundy, Zachary Hill Coach: David Scott
It may be interesting to note that De La Salle College pupil, Frank-Paul Nuuausala will play alongside one of his teachers, Ben Valeni For the New Zealand 'A' this coming Sunday.