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Rooster trophy stays in the Lions' den 26 July 2006
By BRENTON VANNISSELROY
The Roope Rooster trophy is safe inside the Mt Albert clubrooms for another week after the Lions overcame a stiff challenge from Mangere East Hawks to win 16-12 at Fowlds Park on Saturday. As well as defending the trophy for the ninth time this season, the victory puts the Lions four points clear of Papakura and Northcote at the top of the Fox Memorial Premiership. They held an 8-2 advantage at the interval before capitalising on the second-half sin binning of Hawks' centre Saimone Makahili to score twice and secure the competition points.
The win was a much-needed tonic for the Lions after losing their first game of the season against Papakura Sea Eagles the weekend before.
The Lions were without star hooker Fale Talaepa and several other Bartercard Cup players but welcomed back experienced playmaker Kelvin Wright. "He is awesome," coach Dave Talamaivao says. "He has been around for a while and knows the ins and outs of this level of football."
Sixteen-year-old prop forward Sam McKendry made his Lions debut and showed he is a talent to watch. Hawks coach Mike Nathan was pleased with his team despite the loss to the competition leaders. He said too many errors and the second-half sin binning were significant factors.
The Lions' quest to finish the round robin as competition leaders was aided by close neighbours Marist Saints, who upset in-form Papakura 36-28 at Murray Halberg Park. Danny Siave and Inoki Feki were both influential for the Saints who recorded their third win of the season to sit one victory away from the fourth and final playoff spot.
In the Sharman Cup, Bay Roskill Vikings had to work hard to beat determined Glenora Bears at Harold Moody Park. The Vikings held a seemingly comfortable 19-6 lead at the break but had to hold on for a 25-20 win. The result allows the Vikings to maintain the pressure on league-leading Manurewa Marlins, who have a one-point advantage.
At Victoria Park, Richmond Rovers fought back from 18-4 against Ponsonby Ponies to win 30-22. Rovers lock forward Polaga Malo scored a hat-trick to help move the home side into a shared fourth spot on the competition ladder with Howick Hornets.The Ponies remain in sixth place, five points behind the Rovers.
In the Phelan Shield, Pt Chevalier Pirates suffered their 13th loss of the season, going down 32-24 to Glenfield Greyhounds. The Pirates are in sixth spot, a massive 13 points behind North Shore in fourth and four points behind league-leading Pakuranga Jaguars.