There would appear to be some very tasty action in this weekend's Round Six of the NZRL Bartercard Cup.
Saturday sees four games in Auckland.
Otahuhu Ellerslie take on the Hibiscus Coast Raiders. Fans should note that this game was scheduled for Ericsson number 2, but is now set down for Henham Park, home of the Otahuhu Leopards. Otahuhu Ellerslie went down by one point last week against the Tornadoes. They will be looking to improve this week against the Raiders but the Hibiscus Coast side are travelling along well, currently on fifth spot.
Murray Halberg Park plays host to the game between the Marist Richmond Brothers and the all conquering Mt Albert Lions. This one is pretty much a local derby and a replay of the Grand Final last year. The Lions are two points clear at the top of the table whilst the Brothers lie in seventh spot, after a patchy, inconsistant start to the season. Brothers rookie Bartercard coach, Sam Panapa, is a proven coach in lower grades, and, I'm sure he will have his charges playing consistant football in the very near future. The Lions should take this one out reasonably easily, but....there are no easy games in this comp.
The Glenora Bears play the Canterbury Bulls at Harold Moody Park. The Bears have a solitary point, but by all accounts, were unlucky to lose in their round five encounter against North Harbour. Pre-season, I picked that this team would begin to improve around the mid season point and I stand by that. The Bulls are always a tough opposition but they often struggle in Auckland, against Auckland teams. The Bears getting up over the Canterbury side would be a major upset, but don't discount it.
In another game that sees a ground transfer, the North Harbour Tigers take on the Central Falcons at Birkenhead War Memorial Park. Both these teams are on six points each and it's difficult to seperate them. It is actually the Northcote Tigers 95th Jubilee weekend and the Falcons will be out to upset the party. The home ground and the large crowd that will undoubtedly be there may just tip it in favour of the Tigers.
On Sunday, the only game outside of Auckland takes place at Porirua Stadium where Wellington take on the Waicoa Bay Stallions. The Stallions cannot take a trick and are stuck firmly on the bottom of the table. Wellington have only managed one win but have scrambled to a couple of draws. This is probably the best chance so far, for the Waicoa team to post a win. Their coaches will certainly be hoping so.
The curtain raiser to the Warriors / Wests Tigers clash is another local derby. Counties Manukau Jetz match up against the Eastern Tornadoes. The Tornadoes looked anything but convincing, in their last gasp win last Sunday and the Jetz should consolidate their position in second equal place. The Tornadoes certainly have the personnel and the fire power to beat most teams but appear to lack some cohesion. Watch out for their young Half Back, Richard Marsters. He scored two tries last week and kicked the winning field goal.
Saturday 28 May 2005
Otahuhu Ellerslie vs Hibiscus Coast Raiders Henham Park, 2.30pm Kick Off
Marist Richmond Brothers vs Mount Albert Lions Murray Halberg Park, Auckland 2.30pm Kick Off
Glenora Bears vs Canterbury Bulls Harold Moody Park, Auckland 2.30pm Kick Off
North Harbour Tigers vs Central Falcons Birkenhead War Memorial, Auckland 2.30pm Kick Off
Sunday 29 May 2005
Wellington vs Waicoa Bay Stallions Porirua Stadium, Wellington 2.30pm Kick Off
Counties Manukau Jetz vs Eastern Tornadoes Ericsson Stadium No.1, Auckland (C/R To Warriors vs Wests Tigers) 11.35am Kick Off