Wed, 21 Jun 2017
Patumahoe Hutton Builders will look to keep bolster their semifinal aspirations as they face second-placed Manurewa in a big Premier 2 battle at Patumahoe on Saturday, which features as the Counties Power Game of the Week.
After causing the upset of the season last week when they beat the previously undefeated Karaka side 21-20 at Karaka Sports Park Grant Wallace’s side will be looking to pick off another leading contender and force their way into the semifinals.
Patumahoe is currently four points out of fourth place, with three matches remaining and will be enthusiastic after last week’s heroics.
“They were pretty excited but hopefully they still have their feet on the ground,” Wallace said.
He knows a win this week will really open up a shot at fourth spot.
“That’s what we are hoping for but we know that it is a bit of a long shot,” Wallace added. “Manurewa have been going really well lately – they have been one of the form teams the last month or so.”
The Manurewa side has looked like a semifinal team all season and a win would all but confirm their place in the knockout stage but coach Terry Myers has his eyes on a home semifinal.
“Our aim since the start of the second round is to finish second,” he said. “Karaka is at the top and unachievable but second is a home semi and that has been our aim.”
Myers admits Patumahoe are a dangerous proposition coming off the big win a week earlier but he could have the services of some players that had been promoted to the premier side now that they are out of semifinal contention.
“Patumahoe are one of those up and coming teams in our grade so they are fighting for that fourth spot,” he said.
“With our top side being out there is a chance for them to look at bolstering their stocks in reserve grade for this weekend’s game. We are going to have to plan for that as well.
“We’ve got to show some faith to the guys that have taken us through too.
“It is the tough end of the season where you have to make some tough choices and give people not bad news but sad news that they might not be stripping this weekend.”
This weekend also sees the Waiuku women’s team take on Papatoetoe in the development grade of Auckland women’s rugby.
Playing 10-a-side this year hasn’t really suited Waiuku, who had strong numbers from the outset and they’ve been disrupted a bit with byes and teams pulling out.
But they remain an outside chance of making the playoffs and run into a Papatoetoe side this week that sits in a similar position on the ladder.
Coach Paul Graham has coached numerous Waiuku sides over the years including premiers and he has enjoyed his experience coach these ladies as much as any other.
“This is the 20th Waiuku team I have coached and this has been a whole lot of fun,” Graham said. “These girls just want to learn. I guess with men they reach a point where they think they know everything where these girls know they don’t.
“We have some girls that have never played before where we have some girls that have played rep rugby.”