SATURDAY, March 19
AUCKLAND Crowns sides in both Foundation Cup and Kiwi Cup consolidated their positions at the top
of the table in the Lion Foundation National Junior Competition at North Harbour Stadium today.
In hot and sunny conditions both teams comprehensively beat their South Auckland rivals, the Sea Lions,in a much anticipated local derby.
In a very entertaining Foundation Cup game, both teams arm wrestled for the first ten minutes,
before gun young half-back, Sioeli Makaui, crossed for the Crowns. His halves partner, Jody Henry, converted and the game was well and truly on. About eight minutes later, Sea Lion's winger, Kelo Tuitavake, claimed their first points. The Crowns began to take the edge in the game, scoring twice more beforethe break, with halves Henry and Makaui both dotting down. Half time saw the score board reading 14/4.
The Sea Lions had played ok, but ball retention ( of lack thereof ) was causing their downfall and the Crowns had scored twice through dropped ball. The Crowns were looking the better side.
The second half saw a fairly scrappy start with the Sea Lions getting a couple of easily gained sets upnear the Crowns line. The Crowns defence was strong and they were able to withstand back to back sets and eventually work the ball up and perform a brilliant back move that saw half back, Makaui,involved three times, allow winger, Dylan Holtom to score in the corner. A try to second rower, ConstantineMika, about four minutes later saw the score blow out to 22/4. Sea Lions stand-off, Ronnie Va'asa grabbed one back, but the game was pretty much gone by then. One last try to the Crowns and a late consolation to the Seal Lions saw it end up 28/16 to the Crowns.
This Crowns U16's side is the best Foundation Cup team I have seen since the inception of this competition in 2002. I can't see them being beaten and Coach, Frank Harold, must be a happy man to have so much talent to work with.
The Kiwi Cup game, by comparison, was a major anti-climax. The game saw a fairly physical start, but it was not long before the Crowns claimed first blood through centre, Cooper Vuna. Sea Lions winger, Miguel Start, scored the first his team, but a fair procession of tries to the Crowns saw half-time at 20/8.
There had been some good individual play from guys in both teams but it had been less than entertaining.The second half was much of the same, it seemed lumbering. Five tries were scored in the half, three to the Crowns and two to the Sea Lions and it finished up 38/18 to the Crowns.
There were no real stand outs but Aaron Pawley and Paki Ormsby from the Crowns deserve a mention
and winger, Solman Foki, had a good run for the Sea Lions.
THIS weekend sees the half way point in this, all too short, competition. Two rounds left after this Saturday and teams in the top four of the six team competition are desperate to get that, all important, number one spot. Finishing first means a home semi-final against the fourth placed team and a huge advantage to make the final.
Currently, in both Foundation Cup and Kiwi Cup, the Auckland Crowns are ruling the roost, but only on points difference. The Canterbury Kiwi Cup side are proving to be something of a dark horse, right behind the Crowns and they have the advantage of playing them at Rugby League Park in Christchurch in Round 4, having already toppled the highly fancied Auckland Sea Lions on the same ground.
The games of the week, this weekend are undoubtedly the clashes between the two Auckland sides, in both grades, at North Harbour Stadium this Saturday. In the Foundation Cup, the Auckland sides hold positions one and two with only twelve points differential between them.
THE Mt Albert Lions, 2004 Fox Memorial winners,
opened their 2005 account, by taking out the Auckland Rugby League Pre Season Trophy, The Roope Rooster.
THE Australian Police Rugby League is pleased to announce the first ever tour of Argentina by any Rugby League-playing nation.
THE Dolphins A Grade side got out of the gates with a good win over Norths at Bishop Park last Sunday. With so many new faces it was a real testament to Coach Ian Graham and his players to "gel" so quickly. It is too hard to name a stand-out with all 17 players contributing to a good performance. This weekend sees the side take on last years premiers Easts at Dolphin Oval on Sunday which should be a good contest based on last weeks hit out.
IN Bulls Eye this week, Brian Noble and Karl Pratt look ahead to Friday's Engage Super League Round 6 game at Odsal when high flying Hull FC are visitors to take on the Bulls.
PAUL Cullen has named his 20 man squad to face the Huddersfield Giants in Round 6 of the Engage Super League this Sunday, kick-off 3pm.
WIGAN welcome back Great Britain winger Brian Carney for his first appearance of the season after recovering from an ankle problem and second rower Harrison Hansen also returns from a knee injury. Youngsters Joel Tomkins and Dave Allen make way.
LONDON Broncos, unbeaten at Griffin Park this year, will have to do without their most experienced Broncos player for the rest of the season.
Rabbitohs 49 v Eels 26
BRONCOS 12 v WARRIORS 24
Panthers 20 v Roosters 28
Storm 46 39 v Dragons 12
Raiders 39 v Knights 14