Mt Albert Lions - Champions in New
Zealand league

The Mt Albert club in Auckland yesterday took out the Bartercard Cup competition along with the Mad Butcher's Fox Memorial trophy.

Mt Albert Lions captain Steve Buckingham guided his side to victory brilliantly to defeat Marist Richmond Brothers in the Bartercard Cup final by 40-20.

He produced two pieces of magic to decide things, running at the tiring Brothers forwards from 15 metres out to stem a burst of Marist-Richmond scoring and maintain the lead.

He then produced a run-around and delivered the ball to veteran Gus Malietoa-Brown charging and changing the angle for the decider.

The second of those came thanks to the great defence that was characteristic of the Lions' performance.

Buckingham's downfield kick landed in-goal, the Brothers passing three times behind their line in endeavour to get back to the field of play, defenders everywhere to prevent them and the try following a goal-line drop-out.

The Lions two wingers were the first scorers, continuing good form they've shown through the season.

Misili Manu opened the Lions' account after 10 minutes when quick hands beat the up-and-in defence of the Brothers.

Rowan Baxter followed him across at 16 minutes, diving under tackles from dummy-half.

The Brothers had opportunities down the north end of the ground after using the strong wind to gain territory through their kicking game but their combinations were off.

Last-passes went to touch, wrong options were taken and tries bombed.

It was 29 minutes before they crossed thanks to a solo run from halfback Bernard Perenara who beat the big forwards.

They closed to 22-16 when left wing Misi Taulapapa profited after the Lions failed to cover a bomb.

As the Brothers were retreating from the goal-line words and then punches were exchanged between Junior Kiwi Robinson Godfrey and Bernard Perenara and both were sin-binned.

Buckingham stepped his way to a try under the bar. Brothers centre Ricky Henry replied down the left flank and it was 28-20.

When the Lions forced a goal-line drop-out in the 70th minute, Buckingham was allowed to run on the return and he found Malietoa-Brown coming at speed on an angle to take it under the bar again and with the conversion they were safe at 34-20.

Manu got his second with two minutes to go, halfback Kelvin Wright running off the scrum and delivering a slip-pass, Manu putting one hand in the air as he crossed half-way and he realised he had the last points in the bank, the cover left well behind.

In the earlier match, the Mt Albert club defeated last year's Fox Memorial champions, Mangere Eat Hawks by 14-10 in a close fought match. The Mt Albert club (pictured) last held the trophy in 1986.

GRAND FINALS DAY: Ericsson Stadium, Auckland - Sunday 19 September 2004

NZ National Secondary Schools Grand Final: St Paul's College vs Aranui High School St Paul's College 38 Sebastian Filipe, Pita Godinet, Iuomalo Su'a, Nathaniel Pito (2), Tuu Maori (2), Scott Jones (5) : Goals Aranui High School 18 Josh Tauti, Setima Pua'avase, Regan Marriott : Tries Phillip Asi (3) Goals Halftime Score : 22 - 6 To St Paul's College

Mad Butcher Fox Memorial Grand Final: Mangere East Hawks vs Mt Albert Lions Mt Albert Lions 14 Graham Rattenbury, Census Johnston : Tries Graham Rattenbury (1), Jack Noble (2) : Goals Mangere East Hawks 10 Michael Munday, Talipope Tuifelasai : Tries Michael Munday (1) : Goal Halftime Score : 10 - 8 To Mangere East Hawks

Bartercard Cup Grand Final: Marist Richmond Brothers vs Mt Albert Lions Mt Albert Lions 40 Rowan Baxter, Steve Buckingham, Reagan Wigg, Misili Manu (2), Gus Malietoa-Brown (2) : Tries Steve Buckingham (6) : Goals Marist Richmond Brothers 20 Jan Tiavale (Patelesio), Misi Taulapapa, Bernard Perenara, Ricky Henry : Tries Glen Rota (2) : Goals Halftime Score : 20 - 6 To Mt Albert Lions