The Jeremy Wara era in Waiuku started with a bang on Saturday as Waiuku Brian James Contracting got their 2018 McNamara Cup season off to the best possible start – a 64-5 win over Te Kauwhata EnviroWaste at Rugby Park.
The home side completely dominated the game, racking up a 10-tries-to-one victory to erase the memories of a couple of disappointing seasons.
“There were a few stalwarts in the club last night telling stories of the hard times they have been through and yesterday was a real positive in their eyes,” new coach Wara said.
“It went a long way to healing some wounds I think.”
Wara has brought a new style to the club and was pleased with how his side followed that plan.
“The boys played quite well. We have gone for a structure this year that allows us to play with quite a bit of width so we really wanted to nail that and lay some foundations really and I think we were quite successful in achieving that.
“The set piece wasn’t too bad. There were a couple of little execution errors here and there but it is still early days in the season.
“I think that is the big positive – there are still a lot of areas where we can fix but to put a good score on was quite pleasing.”
Manurewa Kidd Contracting jumped out to a big early lead in their clash with Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors at Mountfort Park before the visitors came roaring back in the second spell.
Jeremy Clark’s side held a commanding 33-3 lead at the break but managed to add just two penalties to that tally in the second half as Ardmore Marist countered with five second half tries to set up a thrilling finish.
“We got off to a flyer I guess,” head coach Clark said. “That first 40 minutes was pretty much a perfect half of football. “Everything we had been doing in pre-season we put on the pitch. Our forwards got a real dominant platform set and our backs got away with some quick tries.
“It was the classic game of two halves I guess. I thought we were really good early on but by about the 55th minute we got a bit tired and momentum swung.
“We couldn’t really stop that momentum.
“The score reflected how both sides played really.”
Manurewa have their eyes focused on playing semifinal football this season after a few years in the mid-pack and this win will give them belief that they have the quality to achieve that.
“I said to the boys it doesn’t matter if you win by one point or by 20 – a win’s a win,” Clark added. “To start the competition off against a quality side is a great thing.
“It was a hectic pace. I have been involved with Rewa for the last couple of seasons and there wasn’t a game that went to this sort of hectic pace. It was high level rugby with not many mistakes.”
William Raea scored 19 points to take the lead in the AS Wilcox and Sons Leaderboard.
A short-handed Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel got their campaign off to a good start despite the coaching staff and four key players missing the opener against Papakura due to Josh van Lieshout’s wedding.
Centurion Brendon Moloney took over the clipboard for the game while four players made their debuts and did a cracking job to help last season’s semifinalists to a 41-13 win.
“It was a really good start for us,” Moloney said. “We knew they were going to be a big, physical side so we had a plan to run them around a bit and we did that quite well at times.
“The guys that came in did a really good job. It is quite easy when you have great leaders in Joey Royal and Riley Hohepa really.”
The inexperienced Reid Fullerton had a strong game at blindside as well as Patumahoe scored seven tries in total – James Brady, Mason Hohepa and Sam Furniss each bagging a double.
Moloney did however acknowledge that Papukura will be a much better side in 2018.
“They are really big, they are really physical and I think they will be a hell of a lot better,” he said.
Four-time defending champions Bombay survived a scare at Onewhero as they escaped with a 16-15 win.
Down by a point at the break, Bombay called on their big game experience to secure a narrow victory and get off to a winning start. Tries by Haamiora Clarke and Tulele Masoe set up the win.
Nicholas Perez nailed five penalties for the home side under the tutelage this season of former Kiwis league international Lesley Vainikolo.
“It was a very intense game and came down to the wire, the last play of the game,” new Bombay coach Dave Ross said. “Credit to Onewhero they really took it to us – we were defending for large portions of both halves.
“We got a couple of breakaway tries and that plus a bit of heart at the end got us home.”
Pukekohe ensured they would take the Counties Power Cup into week two of the competition as they got the better of rivals Karaka 31-27 in the Counties Power Game of the Week at Karaka Sports Complex.
Down by 15 points at the break it took a spirited second half performance from the form team of last season’s second round to get the points.
“We had a chat at halftime and spoke about territory, which is really important especially against a good side like Karaka,” coach Waka Setitaia said.
“We talked about playing at the right side of the field and maintaining constant pressure.”
Gregor Christie secured a double while Boaz Magege, Jamie King and William Bond dotted down as well.
“With tougher games coming through, especially with Patty this coming week – it gives the boys a platform to work from,” Setitaia added. “I wouldn’t say it was a perfect game but I take my hat off to the boys for their resilience and sticking to what we talked about.”
Deniro Refiti was Karaka’s player of the day.
In Premier 2 action the results went the same was Premier 1. Pukekohe enjoyed a 25-17 win over Karaka, Manurewa Wise Property Management were too good for Ardmore Marist Ross Roof Group taking a 20-5 victory. Patumahoe Dave Redshaw Electrical held off Papakura 23-20 in a close encounter. Waiuku thumped Te Kauwhata 46-10 while Bombay thrashed Onewhero 38-3.