Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega shook off an opening round bye and jumped straight into mid-season form as they dismantled Karaka 50-5 at Karaka Sports Complex on Saturday.
Having missed the semifinals the past two seasons Pukekohe highlighted a strong title-drive in 2019 from their first performance under new coach Sean Polwart.
The visitors jumped out to a commanding 29-0 at the break before going on to complete a solid all-round performance.
Coach Polwart, a former Blues and Auckland representative, was pleased with his side’s showing.
“The boys just went out there and executed what we wanted to do really,” Polwart said.
“Obviously having the bye first up the boys were pretty anxious just too hook into it.
“We were able to stay to our game plan and what we are trying to achieve. One of the things for our focus was skill execution and we were able to do that for long periods and that sort of wore Karaka down a bit.”
There is a strong feeling that Pukekohe will be the big improvers in 2019 and that a return to the playoffs is likely.
“Without a doubt that is where we want to be - back to where Pukekohe should be really but we are not looking too far ahead,” Polwart explained.
“We have a tough challenge coming up with Patumahoe so we will focus on that.”
Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel collected the Counties Power Cup as they won for the second straight week in beating Waiuku Brian James Contracting 44-5 at Patumahoe Domain.
The home side got a stern test from a committed Waiuku side in the opening half but kicked clear in the second spell as the dangerous Patumahoe back-line started to pry open the defense.
“It was a pretty sticky, hot and humid day so our forwards especially had to battle through that,” coach Reon Graham said.
“It was a typical tight sort of a game against Waiuku especially in the first half. I was pleased with how the boys held their composure and stuck to the game plan. Things started to open up for us as the game went on.
“Alex Eruera was good again for the second week in a row. George Wynn was good as well. It was pleasing to see some of the debutants stepping up from the Under 21s too.”
Patumahoe will get their strongest test of the season so far when they meet long-time rivals Pukekohe in a battle of unbeaten sides next weekend.
Defending McNamara Cup champions Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors made it two big wins on the bounce as they scored a 48-24 win over Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees at Bruce Pulman Park.
While the home side secured a four-try bonus point win coach Doug Sanft was not overly happy with his side’s performance.
“We left a few points on the field yesterday but in saying that we just didn’t finish off some of our opportunities,” Sanft said.
“I thought Onewhero were in the fight. They gave it to us up front.
“We got some good learnings. It was a bit frustrating watching but I would rather have this happen now so we can get some learnings out of it.”
Sanft admitted he thinks his side is slightly in front of where they were at the same stage last season – an ominous warning to the rest of the competition.
Bombay continued their strong start to the season with a comprehensive 64-17 win over Papakura Ray White at Bombay Domain.
The home side collected 10 tries in the one-sided result but will be a little frustrated to concede three at the same time.
Manurewa Kidd Contracting had the bye.
Their Premier Reserve side enjoyed a 41-19 win over Weymouth however as the Bob Chandler Memorial results mirrored that of Premier 1 with a run of lopsided scores.
Defending champions Patumahoe, Pukekohe and Bombay all enjoyed wins.
McNamara Cup (Premier 1)
(Abel Enosa-Taifau, Jordan Goldsmith, Reece Joyce, Rowland Kotobalavu 2, David O’Connell, Steven Savali, James Slater, Tuise Toai-key 2 tries; Ki Anufe 7 cons)
Papakura Ray White 17
(Valeli Fu’a, Onni Mesake, Faalae Peni tries; Faalae Peni cons)
(Aporose Vuniyayawa tries)
Pukekohe Metre 10 Mega 50
(Joshua Baverstock, Connor Brooke-Cowden 2, Gregor Christie, Sione Fifita 3 tries; Juan Benadie 2, Brendan Clark 4 cons; Brendan Clark pens)
Patumahoe 44 (Counties Power Cup Holders)
(Palu Ale, Alex Eruera, Glynne Evans, Tamati Fromm, Sam Furniss, Shea Furniss, Kalim North 2 tries; Jonny Wilkinson 2 cons)
Waiuku Brian James Contracting 5
(Tevita Halafihu tries)
Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors 48
(Bryan Mulitalo, Waiora Rangiwai, Savelio Ropati, Jonathan Taumateine 2, Sam Toloke, Sailosi Vatubua 2 tries; Simon Toleafoa, Sailosi Vatubua, Tevita Hala 2 cons)
Onewhero Silver Fern Marquees 24
(Filipe Pau, Filimone Fifita, ?, tries; Luke Makris 2 cons; Luke Makris pens)
Bob Chandler Memorial (Premier 2)
Bombay 29 Papakura 10; Karaka 5 Pukekohe 37; Patumahoe 35 Waiuku 6; Weymouth 19 Manurewa 41