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Last year's defending champions, the Mt Albert Lions were defeated by Marist Richmond Brothers. Marist beat the Mt Albert Lions in New Zealand's Bartercard Cup Major semifinal, played on Saturday night at Ericsson Stadium as a curtain raiser to the Warriors/Tigers clash.
Marist came out firing right from the whistle and never looked back. With the lead to Marist at the break by an impressive 32-0, it was always on the cards that a quality side like Mt Albert would hit back in the second spell which they did with gusto. But it was not enough to shake the lead Marist had. A great spectacle for the growing crowd.
Stand out performances by Jerome Ropati for Marist and Ben Lythe for Mt Albert certainly added spark to the game. The defence shown by Ropati was outstanding on numerous occasions.
Marist Richmond Brothers 36 R. Henry, E. Tuimavave, J. Ropati, G. Rota, F. Prescott tries G. Rota 4 goals
Mt Albert Lions 26 S. Dewhurst 2, S. Falogo, K. Wright 2 tries B. Lythe 2 goals
Halftime 32-0 to Marist Richmond Brothers
The Marist Richmond Brothers now go through to their first ever Grand Final to play the Canterbury Bulls Sunday September 14 at Ericsson Stadium. The curtain raiser to this game with be the Fox Memorial final.
Players in the Final have a great incentive with Greald Stokes, the New Zealand A coach stating there is still an opportunity for players to impress before the squad is announced at the end of play on the day.The squad of 22 assemble in Auckland on October 9 before leaving on October 14.