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Round 3 of New Zealand's Bartercard Cup competition has shown just how close things will be in 2004, with three out of the six results ending in a draw. All 6 games saw a great tussle in the 2nd half with some of the best league action you could hope to see anywhere in the world. The two newcomers in the competition this year, the Jets and Stallions, along with Marist Richmond Brothers now hold the lead on the ladder with 5 points each and no losses.
At North Harbour stadium on Friday night, the North Harbour Tigers had to fight back the early 2nd half lead to the Tornadoes, and battle on for a draw, 20 all.
With the halftime score of 10-8 to the Eastern Tornadoes, the battle in the second half was outstanding by both sides. A field goal chance late in the game for the North Harbour side could've sealed the win for the home side, but unfortunately for them it wasn't to be. The Tornadoes quite happy to run down the clock and settle for the draw, when it looked earlier on they were headed for a great win.
North Harbour Tigers vs Eastern Tornadoes North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 7.30 pm Kick Off
North Harbour Tigers 20
Tries: S. Fatui, B. Macpherson, A. Aukafolau, J. Kamariena Goals: J. Trott (2)
Eastern Tornadoes 20 Tries: M. Latu (2), N. Ngametua, Z. Luisi Goals: H. Rangi (2)
Out at Papakura the Jets took on the Hibiscus Coast Raiders and came away with a excellent win to see them still undefeated in the Bartercard competition this year. With the halftime score locked at 10 all, it was anyone's match in the 2nd half. The home side put on a scoring spurt in the last few minutes which flattered the scoreline in what had been a close match right through. Henry Fa?fili, not needed at the moment by the Warriors, had a great game for the Jets.
Counties Manukau Jets vs Hibiscus Coast Raiders Massey Park Papakura, Auckland 7.30 pm Kick Off
Counties Manakau Jets 32
Tries: H. Fa'afili, P. Tafea, J. Ioapo, A. Herangi, W. Barnett, S. Foketi Goals: A. Herangi (4)
Hibiscus Coast Raiders 16 Tries: T. Jurgensen (2), O. Manuel Goals: D. Floyd (2)
The third match on Friday night was between Wellington and Otahuhu Ellerslie in which the home side came out the victors in a very close match. Unwanted NZ Warrior player Thomas Leuluai turned out for the Otahuhu side and score a try. A halftime score of 10 a-piece shows once again just how hard the teams had to work for a victory.
Wellington vs Otahuhu Ellerslie Porirua Stadium, Wellington 7.30 pm Kick Off
Wellington 22 Tries: D. Hape (2), J. Te Reo, J. Tuimaualuga Goals: J. Te Reo, J. MacDonald (2)
Otahuhu Ellerslie 18 Tries: M. Vatuvei, P. Fisiiahi, T. Leuluai, F. Tikinau Goals: J. Tavaga
Saturday - May 1st:
A wet Puketawhero Park greeted the Bartercard Cup sides in Rotorua for a top of the table clash between Wai-coa Bay and Marist Richmond Brothers. Right from the first whistle to the final whistle the game was hard and tough for both sides, the final score of 18 all a fair indication of how even the teams were. Locked at 6 all at the break, one team had to set the pace and the Stallions fought well to take the lead. Unfortunately for them, the sin binning of their fullback Ingram, allowed Marist back into the match with two quick tries. A spirited comeback by the home side saw them take the lead close to the end of the match. However a penalty taken by Perenara for Marist locked the game up 18 all. Very well played by both sides in horrid conditions.
Waicoa Bay Stallions vs Marist Richmond Brothers Puketawhero Park, Rotorua 3.00 pm Kick Off
Saturday night in Christchurch at Rugby League Park is hardly ever a good place to be for visiting teams to take on the Canterbury Bulls as was shown time and time again in 2003. Unfortunately for the visiting Mt Albert Lions, this year appears to be no exception as they were hammered by the Bulls, 54-4.
A amazing 3 try bag by Bulls interchange forward Chris Newton set the scene as the Bulls piled on 44 unanswered points. 10 tries to one victory against one of Auckland's most highly rated Bartercard Cup sides propelled them from ninth to fourth, just one point from the leaders.
Generally, the Bulls forwards were too fast, in mind and foot for the Lions. A beaming Phil Prescott (Bulls coach) at fulltime said it all, moreso after the second half scoring blitz by the 2003 champions.
Canterbury Bulls vs Mt Albert Lions Rugby League Park, Christchurch 7.30 pm Kick Off
Sunday - May 2nd:
Early comers to Ericsson on Sunday saw the two bottom placed sides fight out a niggly match to a 20 all draw, the third draw of the round. The Bears and the Falcons are both yet to nab a win in this year's competition, and were looking for the elusive two points. However some very hard hits resulting in dropped balls and slippery conditions all contributed to a stop/start affair with neither side taking control of the match.
With the halftime score of 8-4 to the Falcons, once again the 2nd half held the key to victory. The sin binning in the 30th minute of the Bears five-eighth George Lilo could've changed the match. However credit to the Glenora side, they dug deep and held off any attack by the Central Falcon pack.
A see-sawing match in possession, and scoring, the end result a fair indication of the match.
Glenora Bears vs Central Falcons Ericsson Stadium, Auckland (Curtain Raiser To Warriors vs Storm) 11.35 am Kick Off
Glenora Bears 20 Tries: K. Alefosio 2, L. Waqa, G. Lilo Goals: Lilo, S. Ieremia
Central Falcons 20 Tries:G. Kerrisk, P. Aumua, D. Kahuroa Goals: T. Clune (4)
Round 3 - games at a glance:
North Harbour Tigers 20 - Eastern Tornadoes 20
Counties Manakau Jets 32 - Hibiscus Coast Raiders 16
Wellington 22 - Otahuhu Ellerslie 18
Wai-Coa-Bay 18 - Marist Richmond Brothers 18
Canterbury Bulls 54 - Mt Albert Lions 4
Glenora Bears 20 - Central Falcons 20