CRL Premiers Massetti Cup Rd 14 Wrap
Linwood Keas have secured Canterbury Rugby League’s Massetti Cup for the second straight season, finishing top of the table courtesy of a 30-10 victory over Northern Bulldogs on Saturday.
The defending champs overcame the absence of several key stars, the relocation of the final-round clash from Linwood Park to Murphy Park due to a ground closure, and a spirited effort from the fifth-placed Bulldogs to run out convincing winners.
The scores were locked 10-all at halftime, but the Keas piled on four unanswered tries in the second stanza to chalk up their 13th consecutive win.
Massetti Cup runners-up Hornby Panthers made a big statement ahead of next week’s semi-final showdown with Linwood, thumping fellow finalists Papanui Tigers 32-12 at Branston Park.
The Tigers were hampered by the send-off of fullback Joshua Aileone during the first half and had fallen behind 24-0 by halftime. The Tigers dug in to outscore their opponents in the second half, however, while Panthers duo Charlie Charlie and Daniel Kibride both finished with doubles.
Riccarton Knights were involved in a draw for the second week in a row, fighting back from a six-point halftime deficit to finish level at 16-all with fourth-placed Celebration Lions, who now gear up for an elimination semi against Papanui.
Meanwhile, Aranui Eagles climbed off the bottom of the ladder with their third win of the season and consigned Halswell Hornets to last place with an emphatic 22-6 result as the pair squared off at QEII Park.
Linwood Keas 30 (Alani Kakoi, Ben McIvor, Edhill Enosa, David Jakob, Phil Wahnig, Erwin Sauni tries; Toi Sepuloni 3 goals) d. Northern Bulldogs 10 (Chase Williams, Nick Wain tries; Steven Maat goal).
Hornby Panthers 32 (Charlie Charlie 2, Daniel Kilbride 2, Tyrone Arona, Craig Smith, Gene Spooner tries; James Baxendale 2 goals) d. Papanui Tigers 12 (Jared Neho, John Tafua tries; Izic Placid 2 goals).
Celebration Lions 16 (Taniela Leka, Muipu Nati, Tama Walker tries; Walker 2 goals) drew with Riccarton Knights 16.
Aranui Eagles 22 d. Halswell Hornets 6