Petone Panthers storm home to upset second-placed Te Aroha

Petone Panthers storm home to upset second-placed Te Aroha

After a big win over the Upper Hutt Tigers the previous Saturday, the sixth-placed Panthers knew they would have to focus on their defence against the second-placed Eels.

With a strong wind at their backs in the first half, Te Aroha opened the scoring with a try to fullback Greg Strickland which followed a 40-20 kick.

To the delight of their big home crowd, the Panthers struck twice in the 22nd and 29th minutes to take the lead, before the veteran Te Aroha loose forward Denzil Hokianga crossed to give the Eels a 12-10 halftime lead.

Te Aroha increased the lead to 18-10 when wing Fa'amanu Anae scored after his scrumhalf Mohi Aupouri displayed some Shaun Johnson-like footwork and passing around the ruck.

The turning point came shortly afterwards when Petone scored three unanswered tries in the space of 15 minutes to regain the lead, before holding on for the last quarter of an hour as Te Aroha tried wave after wave of unsuccessful offensive runs.

It was Petone's first win over Te Aroha in four years and was achieved not only through excellent work shown by loose forward Ben Carter, standoff Shan Bradbrook, fullback Jayson Aquila and substitute Tevita Mafi, but through also being allowed to increase their speed around the ruck in the second half. 

A strong first half allowed the Wainuiomata to comfortably beat the Victoria University Hunters 36-10 at Wise Park after being 22-0 up at halftime. 

Wainuiomata centre Joseph Oti contributed three of his side's seven tries, while his team-mate Murphy Albright successfully slotted four converted goals. Their effort was made possible through the good field positioning that had been set up front in the forwards.

The third-placed Randwick Kingfishers also put in a strong first half to beat the St George Dragons 44-20 at Cannons Creek after leading 30-0 at halftime.

The Kingfishers outscored the Dragons by nine tries to four with Andrew Lankham and Laman Ah Wong benefiting the most with three and two tries respectively for the blue and golds.

In Otaki there was more misery for bottom-placed Upper Hutt whose match against leaders Whiti Te Ra was called off early in the second half at 84-0.

Whiti Te Ra rattled up a 78-0 lead by halftime against the hapless and vastly understrength Tigers at the Otaki Domain.

Upper Hutt travelled up without any substitutes and after several injuries had reduced them to the below minimum number of nine, the game was called off by the referee, six minutes into the second half.

The home side used their classy backs to great effect with centres Tanaria Cooper and Aaron Whitikia both picking up a hat trick of tries, while the competition's leading tryscorer Mania Osborne, also went over three times, from his position at hooker.


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Wellington Rugby League Premier 1 - 2018


Wellington Rugby League Premier 2 - 2018