Wed, 24 May 2017
The ladies feature as this week’s Counties Power Game of the Week with a massive showdown between Manurewa and Ardmore-Marist at Bruce Pulman Park.
The two Counties Manukau sides are featuring in the premier division of the women’s game alongside four other clubs from Auckland and North Harbour. This week sees the local derby with plenty of Counties Manukau Heat and Black Ferns players squaring off.
Just three competition points separate the two sides on the ladder and a fierce battle is expected.
Ardmore-Marist coach Daryl Suasua, who also doubles as the head coach of the Counties Manukau Steelers Mitre 10 Cup side, has been impressed with his young Ardmore-Marist side in the first few games of the season.
“They’ve been going well,” the former Black Ferns mentor said. “We’ve only had the three games and then during the last week the Black Ferns trials were on so we had a number of players away at that so we weren’t actually able to field a side last week.
“There are a lot of young girls there that have come from the schools which is really encouraging.”
Suasua points to his side’s 24-0 domination of Ponsonby three weeks ago as proof what the side is capable of.
“I think the game against Ponsonby, with everybody on deck, they went really well,” Suasua said. “Ponsonby has about six girls in the Black Ferns and to put a pretty decent score on those guys was good.
“There is a lot of potential there with the young girls there but they haven’t hit their straps yet.”
Suasua acknowledges his side will go into Saturday’s game as underdogs as they face a Manurewa side full of representative experience.
“With Manurewa – you are looking basically at the Counties Manukau Heat. There are a lot of girls from Manurewa that are in that side and they probably bring the real physicality to the game.
“I’d say they’re probably the most physical club side in the country.
“Arihiana Marino, who is also the Counties Manukau Heat captain, she just runs the show there and steers them around the park.”
In premier 1 men’s action the top two sides in the competition meet with Patumahoe Hotel hosting Bombay Gough Cat. There are also fascinating clashes between some of the sides in the middle of the table with Manurewa Kidd Contracting host Pukekohe Mitre 10 Mega and Waiuku Brian James Contracting hosting Onewhero Counties Bulk Haulage.