05/06/17 | 10:01 AM

Eagles finish 3rd in Swindale Shield


Hutt Old Boys Marist 36 (LA Moemai, Opetera Peleseuma, Sheridan Rangihuna, Joe Apikotoa, Tasi Fidow tries; Rangihuna 4 con, Brandyn Laursen pen) Northern United 31 (Jordan Mellars-Rose, Denny To’o, Parekura Lalaga, James Tangtamaitai, Likisone Siliga tries; Cameron Craig 3 con). HT: 33-0.

Best and fairest: 3 points: Sheridan Rangihuna (HOBM halfback); 2: Parekura Lalaga (Norths flanker); 1: Cameron Craig (Norths first five-eighth).

Venue: Hutt Recreation Ground

What happened: Northern United were strangely lethargic in the first half as Hutt Old Boys Marist ran in five tries.

However, there was no doubt who was the dominant team after the break. Norths at last displayed how dangerous they can be on attack, and against that assault Hutt were severely stretched as Norths grabbed five tries of their own.

HOBM could only add three points in the second spell from a penalty goal, and they would have been relieved at the final whistle. Their attack no longer had the sting of earlier, and Norths would have been regretting they were so slow to get into the battle. The last of their tries came in the 78th minute, and in an effort to quickly regain possession Cameron Craig chose to drop kick his conversion attempt, which failed.

The big play: It occurred in the 29th minute just when Norths were starting to make an impression. They ran left from a scrum just out from the Hutt goalposts, and HOBM centre Opetera Peleseuma intercepted a floating pass, and sped 90 metres to score. With Sheridan Rangihuna’s conversion they were ahead 26-0 just when Norths were poised to cut into the lead.

Who stood out: Much of Hutt’s first-half success revolved around halfback Rangihuna whether kicking for territory, to set up LA Moemai’s try or for goal, and he also dived over for a try on the stroke of halftime. Team-mates, flankers Tasi Fidow and Jared Woodward, and prop Joe Apikotoa,were among others to shine. Norths first five-eighth Craig played with poise, and inventiveness on attack, captain and flanker Parekura Lalaga displayed great all-round commitment, and big No.8 Mike Ioapo was in a group who posed problems for the Hutt defenders with their explosive runs.

Story – Peter Bidwell, Dompost


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