Karaka, Manurewa through to final

Karaka, Manurewa through to final

Karaka and Manurewa showcased the importance of getting it right on the day as they each won their McNamara Cup semi-finals to book a spot in the championship final.

Having lost twice to Patumahoe during the round robin stage, Karaka went into their semi-final as underdogs, but the 2021 champions demonstrated more composure and took more of their opportunities as they secured a 18-16 victory at Patumahoe Domain.

Patumahoe had the chance to steal victory with a long-range penalty goal after time had expired but the attempt came up short and Karaka celebrated a famous victory.

“Really proud of the boys,” coach Craig Hill said. “We had to be way more disciplined than how we had been playing. I think we have been trying to push it too much and we just had to play at the right end of the field and put Patty under pressure and see how they reacted to that.

“We didn’t get everything right, but we got a lot right.

“We have probably been guilty of periods in games where we do switch off but that is something we spoke about – I know it’s an old cliché - but playing the full 80 minutes.”

Defending champions Manurewa had struggled for their best form through the round robin stage but have been getting better and better in recent weeks.

Like Karaka, Jeremy Clark’s side used their big game experience to produce their best footy when it counted most as they knocked over the top qualifiers Pukekohe 16-12 at Colin Lawrie Fields and earned the right to defend the title they won last season.

“We knew the game was going to be a titanic battle and it was,” said Manurewa coach Clark.

“Puke got off to a flyer, scoring two tries in the first 10-15 minutes. We needed to be patient and work into the game.

“We picked up two penalties in the first half and at halftime got things sorted to come out firing in the second half and we did that getting a penalty and then a try to put us in front 16-10.

“Defensively we were outstanding, stopping endless attacks and defending their driving lineout mauls, which we had done the homework on during the week.

“The boys gave it everything and now we are on to the big dance.

“Big games bring out the best in players and this playing group has put in a the work for an opportunity in the big one.”

The results set up an intriguing final played between the two most recent McNamara Cup winners – the game will be staged at Navigation Homes Stadium from 3pm next Saturday.

Patumahoe demolished Bombay 30-0 to advance to the final of the Bob Chandler Cup Premier Reserves competition.

Karaka had no problem in dispatching Pukekohe 46-22 to set up a final between the competition’s two best sides all season.

Top qualifiers Drury survived a second half comeback from Waiuku to make it through to the final of the Sid Marshall Shield.

They will face Te Kohanga in the championship game after the latter edged Weymouth 25-18 in a thrilling semi-final at Te Kohanga.

Waiuku eased to a 33-3 win over Pukekohe to move into the final of the U85kg competition. The round robin leaders had no problems in booking a spot in the decider.

Patumahoe defeated neighbours Karaka 28-19 in the other semi-final to advance.