‘Unbelievably proud’

Battered, bruised, beaten . . . but still alive in spirit

Battered, bruised, beaten . . . but still alive in spirit

PLAYER OF THE DAY: Ngati Porou East Coast winger Fabian Kahaki has support in (from left) No.8 Buchanan Maxwell, flanker Jack Richardson and halfback Sam Parkes in Saturday’s Heartland Championship match against Wanganui at Tolaga Bay. Kahaki had his best game in the Sky Blue jersey as the home side went down 56-10 to the reigning champions. Picture by Paul Rickard

WANGANUI collected the maximum five points to book a Heartland Championship top-four home semifinal with a 56-10 win against Ngati Porou East Coast in Tolaga Bay on Saturday.

With one round-robin game to play, the defending Meads Cup champions, going for four titles in a row, are on 37 points — seven points clear of South Canterbury and Thames, both on 27 points.

But while a polished Wanganui team took the points, the Sky Blues earned the respect of their opponents and the crowd with a gutsy performance.

The Coast went into the game as lambs to the slaughter and came out battered, bruised and beaten but still alive in spirit.

Wanganui have dominated the Heartland Championship since its inception in 2006. Pre-game talk of a defeat by 100 points or more — the Coast lost 100-7 to South Canterbury in Week 4 — seemed borne out when the Butcher Boys scored a try after four minutes and camped inside the Coast half for the next 10.

“At that stage I was worried that the talk of 100 points would become a reality,” co-coach Troy Para said.

“But the boys did themselves proud . . . and us as coaches, and the supporters who continually back them.”

An emotional Wayne Ensor, co-coach with Para, said he was “unbelievably proud of every one” of the team.

'The boys played out of their skins'

“The boys played out of their skins,” he said. “If we play like that against West Coast next week, we’ll give them a game.”

After being under the pump for the first 15 minutes, the Coast came alive.

Led by captain and lock Hone Haerewa, halfback Sam Parkes, right wing Fabian Kahaki, lock Adaam Ross, blindside flanker Rikki Kernohan and props Perrin Manuel and surprise starter Daniel Knubley, the home side took the game to their much-vaunted opposition.

Kahaki had his best game in a Sky Blue jersey and was a worthy winner of his side’s player-of-the-day award. He and his teammates tackled themselves to a standstill. A classic example of this was fullback Jayden Milner. Not long after Milner had been injured making a tackle, Wanganui left wing Shandon Scott looked certain to score in the corner only for Milner to came flying across and smashed into touch — commitment and courage that earned applause from Wanganui’s supporters and their water-carriers.

For many, the local hero was Uawa prop Knubley

For many, the local hero was Uawa prop Knubley, getting a rare start, on his home ground to boot.

“We were forced to make a late change to the starting line-up, with Dan starting ahead of Pera Bishop,” Ensor said.“The plan was for Dan to give it everything for 20 minutes, then come off and we’d put Pera on. But the way he was playing, we couldn’t take him off. If he hadn’t been sin-binned (five minutes into the second half), I think we would have had trouble getting him off the field.”

The Coast were trailing 7-0 when Hone Haerewa stunned Wanganui in the 26th minute. His try in the corner finished off a move involving centre Verdon Bartlett, Manuel and left wing Epeli Lotawa.

It came on the back of domination of possession and territory, and was no more than the home side deserved. First five-eighth Ngarangi Haerewa converted.

Stung by this reversal, Wanganui replied within minutes. Lock Jack Hodges scored a try to make it 14-7. Wanganui would surely steamroll the Coast now.

But no . . . back came the Coast. Ten minutes before halftime, Haerewa kicked a penalty to make it 14-10.

The Wanganui tight five, with No.8 Bryn Hudson heavily involved, took up the challenge, and scored two more tries to lead 28-10 at the break. After conceding a penalty try shortly after the restart, the Coast held out the visitors till 15 minutes from the end when all that tackling took its toll.

By fulltime, Wanganui had eight tries and first five-eighth Craig Clare succeeded with all seven of his conversion attempts.

Ngati Porou East Coast 10 (Hone Haerewa try; Ngarangi Haerewa con, pen)

Wanganui 56 (penalty try, Tyler Rogers-Holden, Jack Hodges, Viki Tofa, Tom Symes, Campbell Hart, Angus Middleton, Jack Yarrall tries; Craig Clare 7 con).

WANGANUI collected the maximum five points to book a Heartland Championship top-four home semifinal with a 56-10 win against Ngati Porou East Coast in Tolaga Bay on Saturday.

With one round-robin game to play, the defending Meads Cup champions, going for four titles in a row, are on 37 points — seven points clear of South Canterbury and Thames, both on 27 points.

But while a polished Wanganui team took the points, the Sky Blues earned the respect of their opponents and the crowd with a gutsy performance.

The Coast went into the game as lambs to the slaughter and came out battered, bruised and beaten but still alive in spirit.

Wanganui have dominated the Heartland Championship since its inception in 2006. Pre-game talk of a defeat by 100 points or more — the Coast lost 100-7 to South Canterbury in Week 4 — seemed borne out when the Butcher Boys scored a try after four minutes and camped inside the Coast half for the next 10.

“At that stage I was worried that the talk of 100 points would become a reality,” co-coach Troy Para said.

“But the boys did themselves proud . . . and us as coaches, and the supporters who continually back them.”

An emotional Wayne Ensor, co-coach with Para, said he was “unbelievably proud of every one” of the team.

'The boys played out of their skins'

“The boys played out of their skins,” he said. “If we play like that against West Coast next week, we’ll give them a game.”

After being under the pump for the first 15 minutes, the Coast came alive.

Led by captain and lock Hone Haerewa, halfback Sam Parkes, right wing Fabian Kahaki, lock Adaam Ross, blindside flanker Rikki Kernohan and props Perrin Manuel and surprise starter Daniel Knubley, the home side took the game to their much-vaunted opposition.

Kahaki had his best game in a Sky Blue jersey and was a worthy winner of his side’s player-of-the-day award. He and his teammates tackled themselves to a standstill. A classic example of this was fullback Jayden Milner. Not long after Milner had been injured making a tackle, Wanganui left wing Shandon Scott looked certain to score in the corner only for Milner to came flying across and smashed into touch — commitment and courage that earned applause from Wanganui’s supporters and their water-carriers.

For many, the local hero was Uawa prop Knubley

For many, the local hero was Uawa prop Knubley, getting a rare start, on his home ground to boot.

“We were forced to make a late change to the starting line-up, with Dan starting ahead of Pera Bishop,” Ensor said.“The plan was for Dan to give it everything for 20 minutes, then come off and we’d put Pera on. But the way he was playing, we couldn’t take him off. If he hadn’t been sin-binned (five minutes into the second half), I think we would have had trouble getting him off the field.”

The Coast were trailing 7-0 when Hone Haerewa stunned Wanganui in the 26th minute. His try in the corner finished off a move involving centre Verdon Bartlett, Manuel and left wing Epeli Lotawa.

It came on the back of domination of possession and territory, and was no more than the home side deserved. First five-eighth Ngarangi Haerewa converted.

Stung by this reversal, Wanganui replied within minutes. Lock Jack Hodges scored a try to make it 14-7. Wanganui would surely steamroll the Coast now.

But no . . . back came the Coast. Ten minutes before halftime, Haerewa kicked a penalty to make it 14-10.

The Wanganui tight five, with No.8 Bryn Hudson heavily involved, took up the challenge, and scored two more tries to lead 28-10 at the break. After conceding a penalty try shortly after the restart, the Coast held out the visitors till 15 minutes from the end when all that tackling took its toll.

By fulltime, Wanganui had eight tries and first five-eighth Craig Clare succeeded with all seven of his conversion attempts.

Ngati Porou East Coast 10 (Hone Haerewa try; Ngarangi Haerewa con, pen)

Wanganui 56 (penalty try, Tyler Rogers-Holden, Jack Hodges, Viki Tofa, Tom Symes, Campbell Hart, Angus Middleton, Jack Yarrall tries; Craig Clare 7 con).

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you agree with the Government’s new guideline for police, to not prosecute drug users when a therapeutic approach would be more beneficial or there is no public interest in prosecution?