Counties Power games of the week - Premier 3 Grade

DateWed, 10 May 2017

A double-header at Maramarua features as the Counties Power Game of the Week this week as all four sides in Premier 3 square off at the one place.

A popular addition to this year’s championship is seeing both Premier 3 games played at the same venue so all four sets of supporters can come together and see the teams play.

The initiative is the brain child of Puni stalwart Jack Kani.

“I approached the other clubs and told them if we play at one venue with two games and four clubs it will create a bit of atmosphere,” Kani said.

“It has really been helping our team. The young boys are really excited before and after the game to see a lot of people at the venue.”

Maramarua club president Russell Hana agrees and thinks the concept has worked really well and encouraged the four-team competition.

“There is a very good group of people to be working with among these clubs,” Hana said.

“It is really good having all four clubs at the one club each week.”

Maramarua plays host to the games this week and the home team faces a tough challenge from Te Kohanga with Hana expecting a close contest.

“They’re a pretty young side but they have got some goods in there.

“We are expecting them to be pretty tough – they were tough the first time we faced them. They have a strong forward pack and a young back line and we expect a big challenge.”

Seeing the other teams in action each week helps with strategy and scouting and Maramarua have targeted one area where they think they will have an edge.

“Our boys are pretty good – we have a core group that comes to training every week and are pretty fit,” Hana said. “We are hoping that our fitness will get on top of them in the end.

"When we first played them they were leading most of the game and our fitness kicked in during the last 10 minutes and we took the win.”

Puni, who are yet to win a game, come up against the unbeaten Weymouth side this week and Kani knows it will be a big challenge.

“Every week the boys are getting better,” he said. “We have got a really brand new bunch of boys – a lot of inexperience – a lot of guys are playing rugby for the first time so this has been a challenge.

“The talent is really raw and they are just trying to knit in together.

“They don’t have the experience of Weymouth but in saying that they are a very gutsy bunch of boys. All they want to do is play the game and learn as they go.

“Weymouth is a very good team. They come with that experience of being in the premiers for the last few years. They have lost some of their players but they are trying really hard to keep their club going.”

Weymouth coach Mike Tuua is looking long term as he attempts to grow the club again.

“We are rebuilding as well and there are some young players as well. Our goal is to get our club back in prems at some stage.

“We just want to build each week and improve on our last performance and we look forward to our challenge and not drop our guard.”

In premier 1 action there are some spicy match-ups with second-placed Bombay meeting fifth-placed Onewhero, third-placed Karaka hosting seventh-placed Pukekohe and fourth-placed Ardmore-Marist taking on sixth-placed Manurewa.