Flashback Friday: Keas Topple Tigers In ’08 Decider

Flashback Friday: Keas Topple Tigers In ’08 Decider

As Linwood Keas and Papanui Tigers prepare for a titanic preliminary final struggle at Murphy Park on Saturday, our Flashback Friday segment this week takes you back to 2008, when the same clubs squared off in the CRL grand final.

Linwood, premiers in 2005 and runners-up in ’06-07, lined up in its fourth straight Grand Final against a Papanui outfit that had not qualified for a decider since its loss to Halswell in 2000; the Tigers were searching for their first title since ’98.

But the Tigers’ premiership drought was destined to continue, with the Maurice Emslie-coached Keas prevailing 30-22 on the back of a dominant first-half effort. They led 20-4 at the break and 30-4 early in the second stanza, before Brent Stuart’s Tigers came home with a wet sail.

The Keas side featured the late Teni Tuli, current coach Andrew Auimatagi, ex-Canterbury Bulls skipper Chris Bamford and former Warriors forward Kane Ferris.

The clubs met again in the 2015 decider, with the Tigers prevailing 20-14 over the Keas in an extra-time classic to finally hoist the Pat Smith Trophy after 17 long years.

Check out the match report of the 2008 Grand Final from The Press.

(Pictured: Papanui Tigers’ Lucas Tamakaha beats the tackle of Linwood Keas’ John Aranga. Credit: Kirk Hargreaves – The Press)

Keas’ premiership title tied down by forwards

By Richard Knowler – The Press; Monday, 11 August 2008

If anyone is to be shouted an extra round of free drinks at the Linwood Keas’ Mad Monday blow-out today, it should be their forwards.

For it was Linwood’s muscle men who constructed their side’s 30-22 over the Papanui Tigers in yesterday’s Canterbury rugby league premiership grand final their ability to break tackles around the ruck and pop off-loads shooting the Keas out to a valuable 30-4 lead in the opening 60 minutes at Rugby League Park.

Although Papanui’s three late tries created unease among the green-clad supporters, Linwood’s choker-hold grip on the title its first since 2005 was never in real danger.

Afterwards, Linwood coach Maurie Emslie was confident his players would withstand the late comeback, but said he could see they were getting rattled.

“I just thought we had too many points on them.

“I could see the boys panicking a wee bit, but I thought time was definitely against Papanui,” Emslie said.

Leading the charge for the Linwood pack was Chris Bamford, the hulking second-rower repeatedly making charges through tacklers and untangling his long limbs to release passes.

“He’s developed a passing game. He’s a big strong boy. He’s got everything,” Emslie said. “I’ve been trying to nudge him overseas, but hopefully he might go next year.”

However, it was a classy pass by scrum-half Teariki Tangiiti to centre Phil Wahnig that created Linwood’s opening try, and hooker Nathan Sherlock embarrassed Papanui when he darted through weak defence around the play-the-ball minutes later.

Stand-off Pani Manawatu replied for Papanui when he finished off a searing break by fullback Lucas Tamakaha, but for the next 50 minutes there was little for the Tigers supporters to get excited about.

Too often, the Linwood ball runners were able to pick out the smaller men in the defensive lines and make easy metres.

While Bamford collected the man-of-the-match honours, props Damian Horgan and Teni Tuli offered plenty in all departments, while Sherlock was busy darting from dummy-half.

Stand-off Andrew Auimatagi had the luxury of sitting back and watching his monster forwards grinding away at the coal face, but still showed some nice touches.

For Papanui, second-rower Kreskin David carted the ball up without complaint, while scrum-half Duane Wineti was always searching for holes, and it was such a jinking run that rewarded the Tigers with the try that sparked their comeback.

Tigers coach Brent Stuart lamented the sluggish first half but was far from despondent.

“That was probably our worst half of football all year and in a final against a team as good as Linwood, you can’t afford to do it … but it was a very proud day for me, to see the effort the boys put in.”

Meanwhile, Riccarton won the Gore Cup section-two final with a 6-4 victory against Hornby in very cold, wet conditions on Saturday. The teams scored a try apiece.

2008 CRL PREMIERSHIP GRAND FINAL: Linwood Keas 30 (Phil Wahnig 2, Nathan Sherlock, John Aranga, Andrew Auimatagi, Kane Ferris tries; Ieni Hep 3 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 22 (Pani Manawatu, Duane Wineti, Lucas Tamakaha, Ben Hurrell tries; Wineti 3 goals) at Rugby League Park, Sunday, August 10 2008. Halftime: 20-4. Referee: Adam Burns.

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