Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel grabbed bragging rights over arch-rivals Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega with a 22-13 win in the Counties Power Game of the Week to open the Counties Manukau club rugby season.
Steelers squad member Jarrod Halliday opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a monster 55m penalty to delight the home crowd at Colin Lawrie Field but it was all Patumahoe from that moment on in the first half.
A trio of well-executed tries to Jimmy Brady, Lionel Evans and new recruit Dylan Leckner ensured the visitors had a healthy 22-3 lead at the break and would turn with the wind at their backs in the second spell.
Poor handling and infringing saw a stop-start second half from both sides. The home side threatened at times and scored the only points of the half with a brace of tries bringing them back into the contest in the final quarter.
A late red card for number eight Palu Ale and a couple of injuries will be of concern to Patumahoe but coach Reon Graham was happy to bag the points first up.
“Always happy to beat the old foe first up, especially at their home ground,” Graham said. “Happy with the first half performance in particular. The boys played to their potential I think.
We had a short pre-season so there is heaps to work on but some good signs as well. Happy with our D for most parts of the game.
“Everybody was pushing and we have some broken bodies in there.
“Willy Furniss was a stand out, our front row was strong and Richie Tonga up against his old club was strong as well.”
Ardmore Marist South Auckland Motors came out on top 19-18 in a classic topsy turvy encounter with Manurewa Kidd Contracting at Pulman Park in a clash of two of the competition heavyweights.
The game went back and forth before a late penalty saw the home side grab the points. Simon Toleafoa’s boot proved the difference - he had a conversion and four penalties.
“It was a very average game in terms of quality – we are still way under prepared but that is also what pressure does to you,” Ardmore Marist coach Doug Sanft said.
“The game really could have gone either way and like they say it is always better to win ugly than lose but play well.”
Sanft said the sample size is obviously way too small to get a proper gauge on where both sides rank compared to their rivals.
“I feel like there are other sides that have recruited really well or have good depth this season.
“Patumahoe, Karaka and Waiuku have all recruited well.
“We had a few guys missing yesterday so our depth was tested and it was the same for Manurewa.”
No-one said it would be easy jumping back into the top echelon of the sport and Weymouth found out just how tough Premiership rugby can be as they were thrashed 86-0 by reigning champions Bombay Super Freight at Bombay Domain.
It was one-way traffic as the home side piled on 14 tries in a lopsided score to celebrate captain Matiaha Martin’s 100th game for the club.
Alex Tuiloma and Vaitagutu Williams both had hat-tricks for Bombay.
New Bombay coach Sam Aiono was pleased with how his side performed first up.
“Definitely happy with the performance,” the former Steelers prop said. “We have 11 new guys play their first game for the club.
“Weymouth started the game off strongly and looked good. Our plan was to try and run them around and tire them out and that is what we did.
“Credit to them though – they took it to us from the start until the final whistle and we had to work really hard for that score line.”
Waiuku Land & Sea Civil opened the season with a 29-8 win over Papakura Thirsty Liquor at Rugby Park in Waiuku.
The home side have seven players make their club debut while it was the first game in charge for coach Peter Nock.
“It was a start,” Nock said. “You could see what we were trying to do.
“I’m pleased we kept at it all the way through the game. The last try we scored was from 85 metres out, with no time left and all seven reserves on the field.
“We didn’t stop and we stuck to the theme of what we’re trying to play like.”
Karaka ran out comfortable 62-22 winners over Onewhero in their battle at Karaka Sports Complex.
Winger Penisasi Malimali scored four tries in the demolition for the home side.
Coach Craig Hill was pleased with a few individual performances from his players.
“We were dangerous from wide out. There were a few bits of individual brilliance and the tries weren’t shared around – they were basically the same guys scoring them.
“Malimali was impressed – he wasn’t just the guy at the end of the move getting the tries – he had to beat a few guys at times and was very sharp.
“Toi Peni played really well at first-five and steered us around well. He has lost about 25kg heading into the season.”
Karaka had nine new players debut for the club and Hill was satisfied by and large with what he saw.
“They got four tries so there was a bit of a lack of defensive attitude there at times,” Hill said.
“We need to sharpen up on defending line-out drives, most of their tries came that way.”
The McNamara Cup takes a break over Easter before returning for round two in a fortnight.
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