CRL ROUND 2 WRAP
Big scorelines were the order of the day in Round 2 of the Canterbury Rugby League Men’s Premiership, with all four games decided by margins of 20-plus points. Surprise packets Eastern join perennial heavyweights Linwood and Hornby as the only unbeaten teams at the end of the Massetti Cup’s opening fortnight.
Hornby Panthers celebrated their club day with a convincing 30-10 victory over Riccarton Knights.
The match kicked off more than an hour and a half after the scheduled time due to an injury in the preceding Canterbury Cup game, but the Panthers put the delay behind them to race to a 24-6 halftime lead.
Teenage rookie Caius Faatili put his name on the scoresheet for the second week in a row. The plucky Knights stemmed the flow of points against them in the second half.
Eastern Eagles made a sizeable statement courtesy of a 46-18 thrashing of opening-round winners Papanui Tigers at Wainoni Park.
The hosts built a 22-10 halftime advantage and added another five tries after the break to stake an early claim for the top-four return in 2019. Centre Peneli Peneli finished with a hat-trick, while brothers and second-row partners Cyrus and Rezyn Timo-Latu – sons of coach Eddie – racked up three tries between them.
Centre Muipu Nati crossed twice for the Tigers.
Northern Bulldogs were the only opening-round losers to get on the board in Round 2, putting away Halswell Hornets 42-16 in an impressive away victory.
The Bulldogs – who went down to Hornby at home last weekend – scored four tries in each half, kicking on from a 22-8 halftime scoreline. Tyler Tirikatene dotted down three times for Northern, while Vinnie Paul notched two tries and fellow veterans Kyle Rebuen and Ross Turi also found their way over the stripe.
A second-half blitz carried Linwood Keas to a 38-16 result against Celebration Lions at Cuthberts Green.
The three-time champs held a tenuous 12-10 lead at halftime, but scored five tries to one in the second stanza to run out comfortable winners. Winger Danny Latu extended his lead at the top of the Massetti Cup tryscorer’s leaderboard, backing up his Round 1 hat-trick with a double.
Returning Lions veteran Kasi Leka scored a try off the bench for the second straight week.
Hornby Panthers 30 (Tauvale Tauvale, Regan Stanton, Willie Tafua, Dene Grace, Brad Campbell, Caius Faatili tries; James Baxendale 2, Campbell goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 10 (Jope Tagicakibau, Zion Kamana tries; Tagicakibau goal) at Leslie Park
Eastern Eagles 46 (Peneli Peneli 3, Cyrus Timo-Latu 2, Klayton Waikato, Henare Nukunuku, Matt Clydsdale, Rezyn Timo-Latu tries; Junior Peneli 4, Cyrus Timo-Latu goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 18 (Muipu Nati 2, Tufuga Sa, Niko Keepa Tauamiti tries; Jimmy Rangiawha goal) at Wainoni Park
Northern Bulldogs 42 (Tyler Tirikatene 3, Vinnie Paul 2, Nick Wain, Kyle Reuben, Ross Turi tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 5 goals) defeated Halswell Hornets 16 (Jope Finau, Quinton Needham, Nathan Chai, Ken Tofilau tries) at Halswell Domain
Linwood Keas 38 (Danny Latu 2, Rangi Thompson, Alex Todd, Phil Wahnig, Joseph Mika, Graeme Patu-Vaega’au tries; Daniel Hartley 5 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 16 (Dylan Geddis, Abraham Fonomoa, Kasi Leka tries; Jake Vincent 2 goals) at Cuthberts Green
MASSETTI CUP TABLE: Linwood Keas 4 (+40), Hornby Panthers 4 (+36), Eastern Eagles 4 (+34), Northern Bulldogs 2 (+10), Papanui Tigers 2 (-10), Celebration Lions 0 (-28), Riccarton Knights 0 (-28), Halswell Hornets 0 (-44)