Under 17 Boys Match Report: Auckland v Counties Manukau (Day 2)
Auckland - 7 defeated Counties Manukau - 4
It would be no surprise if these two teams ran out on the field on Sunday afternoon for the final in this grade and a good show was put on as both teams sized each-other up and gave nothing away in the opening stages.
Counties defence held strong against a number of Auckland raids but they couldn't contain Ethan Thompson who made the most of a break on the halfway line and touched down in the corner. The teams locked horns again with neither able to get over the line but eventually Counties settled and then built some momentum that saw Shaquille Smiley score in the centre of the field.
Auckland hit back through Alex Hanham who pulled the defence across with him and then managed to step inside his winger for a great touchdown. It was then Counties turn with Julian Panapa-Williams crossing to lock the scores once more. A long pass to Bradley Abbey then put Auckland in the lead again but Counties answered once more; Ethan Taylor stepping his defender to make it 3-3 at the break.
Counties had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half and hit the lead for the first time through Blake Macefield after he made a great break and couldn't be headed. Auckland then stepped up scoring once and then hitting the lead again after Isaac Walker scored in the corner.
This time, Counties couldn't muster a reply and the match soon slipped away from them. The cherry on top for Auckland was a scoop to Joshua Ioane who planted the ball to make it 7-4. Both teams had their chances in this one, but Auckand took all of theirs and will be confident in taking there Championship away with them tomorrow.