CRL Premiers Massetti Cup Rd 11 Wrap
Aranui Eagles marked their 2017 club day with a major Massetti Cup boilover in Round 11 of the Canterbury Rugby League premiers competition, upsetting Celebration Lions 26-24 at QEII Park.
The last-placed Eagles – winless since Round 1 – led 22-4 at halftime, before staving off a second-half rally from the third-placed Lions to hold on for a momentous victory and end a nine-match losing streak.
The Lions scored five tries to four but Eagles fullback Klayton Waikato’s five-goal haul proved crucial to the shock result, which creates an intriguing scenario in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon. The Eagles are now locked on four competition points with Riccarton Knights and Halswell Hornets with only three matches left to play.
The Hornets went down to the heavyweight Papanui Tigers 28-20 at Papanui Domain, outscoring the Tigers in the second stanza after trailing 22-6 at the break. Halswell hooker Jason Galland bagged a double, while Kitiona Pati scored a brace off the bench for Papanui.
The Knights were similarly plucky in a hard-fought 24-16 loss to ladder leaders Linwood Keas at Crosbie Park. The defending champs led 12-4 at halftime and managed to maintain their eight-point advantage to chalk up a 10th straight win.
Meanwhile, Hornby Panthers consolidated second spot and kept the minor premiership race alive with a 22-10 win over Northern Bulldogs at Murphy Park.
The fifth-placed Bulldogs had crept back into finals contention on the back of five consecutive victories, but Saturday’s home loss leaves them four points adrift of the Tigers and Lions with three rounds remaining.
As fate would have it, the Bulldogs play both sides in the next fortnight and could force their way into the playoffs by winning both games – provided other results fall their way.
MASSETTI CUP ROUND 11 SCORES
Aranui 26 (Alistair Roberts, Uriah Esau, Zion Taumati, Tristan Jackson tries; Klayton Waikato 5 goals) d. Celebration 24 (Junior Salevao, Muipu Nati, Kalolo Aukilani Tuuu, Tama Walker, Kane Ferris tries; Walker 2 goals)
Linwood 24 (Erwin Sauni, David Jakob, Iuma Mulitalo, Danny Latu tries; Daniel Hartley 4 goals) d. Riccarton 16 (Seleni Tagicakibau, Edward Elia, Blake Thompson tries; Jape Tagicakibau 2 goals)
Papanui 28 (Kitiona Pati 2, Kyle Pauro, Paradise Mann, Joshua Aileone tries; Izic Placid 4 goals) d. Halswell 20 (Jason Galland 2, Keiran Hughes, Sam Kelso tries; Jamie Nuttridge 2 goals)
Hornby 22 d. Northern 10 (Keenan Wooley, John Kaukura tries; Te Wano Thomas goal)
CRL LADDER: Linwood 20, Hornby 18, Papanui 14, Celebration 14, Northern 10, Riccarton 4, Halswell 4, Aranui 4.