The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions remain unbeaten after three rounds of New Zealand National Rugby League action after a 18 all draw with fellow competition leaders Marist Richmond.
The match played in dreadful conditions in Rotorua was a close tight tussle throughout with both sides forward packs hammering each other from the outset. An early try to hero and villain Blair Ingram saw the Stallions lead early but a Marist reply by centre Ricky Henry saw the scores locked up at 6 all at the break.
The Stallions scored first in the second half through hard running centre Joe Kaho followed by second rower Tusitala Soti after a neat kick in behind the defence from half Hayden Karen.
Ingram a solid and fierce competitor was despatched to the sin bin for the third time this season and whilst off the field Marist scored twice to bring them back into the game.
Ahead 18-16 the Stallions defensive efforts were acknowledged when Marist received a penalty ten metres out elected to take the two points rather than go for the win.
The Stallions did have one last opportunity to set for the field goal but play broke down and the game finished locked up at 18 all.
Stand out performers were Kelly Tumoana and Epiha Kete in the forward pack and Kaho plus the gritty Nick Kaa at stand off.
In hindsight the draw was a true indication of how the match panned out but the new boys on the block proved against last years beaten grand finalists they can compete at this level and would derive confidence from their performance.
Scorers Wai-Coa-Bay 18( Tries Blair Ingram, Joe Kaho,Tusitala Soti, Goals Hayden Karena 3), Marist Richmond 18 ( Ricky Henry,Tangi Ropati, Ivala Vaaelua, Goals Marcus Perenara 3)