THE Mt Albert Lions, today consolidated their position at the top of the Bartercard Cup table with a convincing second half romp over the Waicoa Bay Stallions, running out victors, 44/18.
The first half however was a different story, with the Stallions taking the game to the Lions and really testing them. It looked at the start that it was going to be an easy one for the home side.
Five minutes in and they were up 12/0, thanks to tries to Fabian Souter and Loose Forward, Paul Fisi'iahi, both converted by Steve Buckingham.
The Stallions regrouped fairly hurriedly though, and seven minutes later, posted their first points through a try to Centre, Michael Moore, following a penalty and a scrum feed up near the Lions line. Te Teira Davis converted and they were well and truly back in the ball game.
For a very long period of play, Waicoa were camped well inside the Lions half. Time and time again they attacked the Mt Albert line but the Lions defence was good. Eight minutes to go and the Lions were getting close to going in. Te Teira Davis swooped on a long pass, scampered 80 metres and scored under the sticks. He converted his own effort and it was 12 all. Virtually on the hooter and Fisi'iasi went in for his second try. Buckingham converted and we went to the break at 18/12 to Mt Albert.
This game wasn't exactly going to plan. Someone had obviously forgotten to give Waicoa Bay the script. Forty minutes to go though, and this Lions side is a classy outfit.
Sure enough, first Lions set and speedster, Robinson Godfrey, scores for Mt Albert. Minutes later, young Stallions star, Te Teira Davis scores and converts, 24/18 to the Lions and the parochial crowd is getting really nervous.
No cause for alarm though as, in an amazing passage of play, Mt Albert Loose Forward, Paul Fisi'iasi scored another three tries, to bring his total for the match to five. I haven't checked the records at time of writing but this must be close. That effort just blew the Stallions right off Fowlds Park.
A final try to the Lions through number 15, Seni Pate, following a great run and gift pass from Pat Ah Van, sealed it up at 44/18.
The class of the Lions and Fisi'iasi got them home in the end but the Stallions proved just how competitive they can be. Had they played any team but the Lions today, they would have gone home with the points.
FOWLDS Park Auckland, home to the Mt Albert Lions, is the only park on Saturday to catch some Bartercard Cup action.
REIGNING Queensland Cup premiers, the Burleigh Bears have put in a dominant second half display, handing out a 42-16 defeat to the Toowoomba Clydesdales on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
THREE good wins last weekend for the Club with the A Grade and Colts winning games on Saturday night against Runaway Bay while the Premier Grade were victorious over Tweed at Piggabeen in a tough contest Sunday afternoon.
NEW Great Britain captain Paul Sculthorpe will lead St Helens in their fifth-round Powergen Challenge Cup tie with York City Knights at Knowsley Road on Friday night.
WHILE few would argue that the ESL competition is currently more competitive than ever, this weekend reinforced the fact that there is still a clear division between the genuine contenders and the also-rans. After coming so close to springing upsets Warrington, Widnes and London fans must be crying in their beers, after their teams were mowed down by ?Big Four? opponents.
ST Helens coach Ian Millward attended a disciplinary meeting last night, and was told of the three charges under which he has been suspended on full pay.
AS many as 2,500 St Helens fans stayed behind for over an hour after the club's 62-0 home victory Challenge Cup round five win, to show their support for suspended coach Ian Millward.
St George Illawarra Dragons 42 v South Sydney Rabbitohs 10
IN THIS WEEK?S BULLS EYE COACH BRIAN NOBLE AND ROBBIE PAUL LOOK FORWARD TO SATURDAY?S POWERGEN CHALLENGE CUP ROUND FIVE GAME AT THE KC STADIUM BETWEEN THE BULLS AND HULL FC, WHICH IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE TIE OF THE ROUND
THE St George Illawarra Dragons have received a boost ahead of today?s match with South Sydney at Wollongong with the news that star centre pairing Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier will take the field.
Penrith Panthers 18 v Canberra Raiders 26
SHARKS 28 v WARRIORS 24
City vs Country 2005
Country Origin 22 v City Origin 29
THE Penrith Panthers celebrated the return of star players Craig Gower and Ryan Girdler with a comprehensive 42-8 win over the Canberra Raiders at the Penrith Football Stadium tonight.