Waiuku made a massive statement in the opening round of McNamara Cup action as they knocked over the defending champions Bombay 21-18 in the Counties Power Game of the Week at Bombay Domain.
While most people looked elsewhere for pre-season favourites Waiuku’s stunning opening day win will make them the talk of the region.
“It was a real tit-for-tat affair,” Waiuku co-coach Buck Manning said. “We scored and we emphasised that when we score, we need to back it up by scoring next to keep that momentum going but unfortunately we let them in easily a couple of times.
“We worked hard for our tries, but we coughed up a couple of easy ones and bombed a couple as well, so we have a lot to work on.
“It was good going up there and beating them. We have a few guys out with pre-season injuries so to go up there and play average in some areas is pretty good.
“It is exciting knowing we have a lot to work on but still got a good result.”
On the back of a disappointing season in 2019 and not having the numbers for a Premier 2 side this year there wasn’t a whole lot of expectation that Waiuku would prove one of the teams to beat in 2020 but this result will do wonders for their confidence.
“We have a great team culture and we have been working on that for a little while since coming together,” Manning said. “We have good balance of local boys and a few guys that have come in from elsewhere to join us.
“The club hasn’t been in a great position the last few years and we want to fix that at all levels.”
Sam Cole was named the AS Wilcox and Sons Player of the Day.
Patumahoe Troydon Patumahoe Hotel opened their season with a comfortable 32-14 bonus point win over Onewhero Summit Homes at Patumahoe Domain.
The home side scored first and never looked in trouble, although it took them until the final minutes to completely put a plucky Onewhero outfit away.
“I am very happy – this is why we worked so hard in the pre-season,” new coach Siua Pole said.
“There are work ons to be done but I am very happy with how today went.
“I think our defense,” Pole added. “One of our goals was to keep points against to 15 and under and today we gave up 14 so it was just under.
“Our young fellas standing up and putting their hands up also – I was happy with that.”
Karaka got their campaign off to the perfect start with a convincing 57-12 win over Pukekohe at Karaka Sports Complex.
The home side was a little slow out of the blocks last season and it cost them come the final couple of weeks, but they don’t need to worry about that after a ruthless opening week performance.
The Craig Hill-coached side ran in nine tries to two and led last year’s semi-finalists 33-0 at halftime.
“The first half, we played very, very well,” Hill said. “If we were being very critical we could say we missed a couple of chances but we were very accurate in the main.
“Set piece time, we were very accurate with our line outs.
“Everyone knows the strength of our back-line but we got three push over tries from attacking line-outs so that was very pleasing.
“In the second half it became a little bit messy at times but that gives us plenty to work on moving forward.”
Steelers representative Kalione Hala scored a try and kicked six conversions for a personal haul of 17 points.
Karaka will face fellow first round winners Waiuku in week two.
Manurewa Kidd Contracting were forced to work hard as they recorded a 27-22 win over Papakura at Mountfort Park.
The home side took a comfortable 24-8 lead into half-time, but Papakura came storming back into the game in the second spell.
Both teams scored three tries in what ended up a close contest.
“I think the first game of the season is always a tricky one because you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into,” Manurewa coach Jeremy Clark said.
“We knew Kura were going to be big up front with a solid forward pack so we worked this week to match it up front.
“In the first half we got off to a bit of a flyer thanks to our new first-five Ollie Paulson. We got three tries but Papakura scored before halftime and really made a game of it.”
Clark believes Papakura will be big improvers this season.
“I think they are well coached. Sione Sione has done a good job with that group of men. It looks like they have got a few new players and I think they will scare a few teams.”
Counties Power Cup holders Ardmore Marist had a first up bye.
Karaka opened up the Premier 2 competition with a 38-27 win over Pukekohe PPG Distributors. Manurewa Wise Property Management claimed a 33-22 win over Papakura while Ardmore Marist thumped Weymouth 40-7.
Bombay and Patumahoe both had byes.