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Two from two for Whalers, Falcons

HITTING A GAP: Turupa Green from the Seeka Falcons looks to burst through the Turanga Panthers’ defence in their rugby league clash in Gisborne on Saturday. The Falcons won the game 46-10. Picture by Paul Rickard

RUGBY LEAGUE

PAIKEA Whalers and Seeka Falcons both have two wins from two games in the Gisborne Tairawhiti rugby league competition but the Manutuke Mustangs have also shown they could be a force to be reckoned with.

The Whalers are the 2018 champions and on Saturday they were up against the Mustangs, who have returned after a decade away.

The Whalers ended up winning it 36-24 but player-coach Daniel Taituha said they had their work cut out.

“It was a massive game, with huge hits and awesome attack from both sides,” he said.

“It was a great team effort for us, and it needed to be.”

In the other matches on Saturday, the Falcons — last year’s beaten finalists — defeated Turanga Panthers 46-10 and Waengapu Stallions beat the Ngatapa Stags 50-28.

Player-coaches for the Whalers and Mustangs scored the first tries for their teams — Rana Wharehinga for the Mustangs and Chris Brown for the Whalers.

Taituha said his co-coach Brown was a threat every time he carried the ball.

Key players were away, so Maru Leach led much of the attack and was the Whalers’ player of the day.

“Young guns Isaiah Leach, Jonathan Markowski, and Matenga Taihuka showed great enthusiasm on attack and defence,” Taituha said.

“But the crucial play of the game for us was when our winger Tharin Cox-Peratiaki stopped a certain try, somehow holding Willis Tamatea up over the try-line . . . forcing him to knock the ball on with the score at 24-20.

“From the ensuing set of six tackles, we scored ourselves.”

The Whalers dedicated the game to one of their originals, Hemi Leach, who died that morning.

Taituha said it was great to have the Manutuke Mustangs back in the competition.

“They have an awesome team, full of talent,” he said.

“It’s great to see some of Poverty Bay’s best rugby players choosing to play league, as it makes our competition highly competitive, which is what everyone wants.

“The Mustangs are going to worry every team and have the potential to take out the comp.”

Falcons coach George Tanirau said he felt his team improved on their performance from the previous week, when they beat Waengapu Stallions 42-32.

They played a more structured game against the Panthers on Saturday and their attack was tidier, he said.

His centres pairing — Tipi Jones and Boydie Te Nahu — were strong on both attack and defence, he said.

Marquand Samuels was a shining light, kicking seven conversions from eight attempts and scoring a try.

Ngatapa Stags were under-strength but still managed to front with a team against Waengapu Stallions.

Stallions coach Jay Casey said his side were led well by Dylan Williams and senior players Pepene Hoepo and Matthew Marino, who scored a hat-trick.

That allowed new young players Henry Kepa, Reef Harris, Moko Kiwara and Steiny Riwai to show their talent, he said.

The Stags put on two early tries and never gave up, Casey said.

Waengapu Stallions were up 20-12 by halftime, with a runaway try from Hylam Tukariri being a key blow.

The Stallions ran away with the game in the second half, though the Stags scored three tries at the end.

RUGBY LEAGUE

PAIKEA Whalers and Seeka Falcons both have two wins from two games in the Gisborne Tairawhiti rugby league competition but the Manutuke Mustangs have also shown they could be a force to be reckoned with.

The Whalers are the 2018 champions and on Saturday they were up against the Mustangs, who have returned after a decade away.

The Whalers ended up winning it 36-24 but player-coach Daniel Taituha said they had their work cut out.

“It was a massive game, with huge hits and awesome attack from both sides,” he said.

“It was a great team effort for us, and it needed to be.”

In the other matches on Saturday, the Falcons — last year’s beaten finalists — defeated Turanga Panthers 46-10 and Waengapu Stallions beat the Ngatapa Stags 50-28.

Player-coaches for the Whalers and Mustangs scored the first tries for their teams — Rana Wharehinga for the Mustangs and Chris Brown for the Whalers.

Taituha said his co-coach Brown was a threat every time he carried the ball.

Key players were away, so Maru Leach led much of the attack and was the Whalers’ player of the day.

“Young guns Isaiah Leach, Jonathan Markowski, and Matenga Taihuka showed great enthusiasm on attack and defence,” Taituha said.

“But the crucial play of the game for us was when our winger Tharin Cox-Peratiaki stopped a certain try, somehow holding Willis Tamatea up over the try-line . . . forcing him to knock the ball on with the score at 24-20.

“From the ensuing set of six tackles, we scored ourselves.”

The Whalers dedicated the game to one of their originals, Hemi Leach, who died that morning.

Taituha said it was great to have the Manutuke Mustangs back in the competition.

“They have an awesome team, full of talent,” he said.

“It’s great to see some of Poverty Bay’s best rugby players choosing to play league, as it makes our competition highly competitive, which is what everyone wants.

“The Mustangs are going to worry every team and have the potential to take out the comp.”

Falcons coach George Tanirau said he felt his team improved on their performance from the previous week, when they beat Waengapu Stallions 42-32.

They played a more structured game against the Panthers on Saturday and their attack was tidier, he said.

His centres pairing — Tipi Jones and Boydie Te Nahu — were strong on both attack and defence, he said.

Marquand Samuels was a shining light, kicking seven conversions from eight attempts and scoring a try.

Ngatapa Stags were under-strength but still managed to front with a team against Waengapu Stallions.

Stallions coach Jay Casey said his side were led well by Dylan Williams and senior players Pepene Hoepo and Matthew Marino, who scored a hat-trick.

That allowed new young players Henry Kepa, Reef Harris, Moko Kiwara and Steiny Riwai to show their talent, he said.

The Stags put on two early tries and never gave up, Casey said.

Waengapu Stallions were up 20-12 by halftime, with a runaway try from Hylam Tukariri being a key blow.

The Stallions ran away with the game in the second half, though the Stags scored three tries at the end.

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