CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 10 WRAP
Linwood Keas and Northern Bulldogs were the big winners in Round 10 of Canterbury Rugby League’s Massetti Cup, chalking up crucial victories in Saturday’s top-four showdowns.
Linwood claimed outright possession of top spot on the ladder with a gripping 20-18 win over archrivals Hornby at Leslie Park. The Keas led 14-12 at halftime and held on after both sides managed just one try apiece in the second stanza.
Keas fullback Jesse Rangihuna made it two tries from as many starts in the premier grade, while Danny Latu – who featured at centre – crossed for his 11th try of 2019. Panthers forward sensation Caius Faatili revealed another string on his bow, booting three goals as well as crashing over for a try. Panthers fullback Jordan Coleman bagged a double, taking his tally to 11 tries in his past six games.
The result was a key psychological boost for the premiers, after losing to the Panthers at home during the first round. With a healthy gap to the chasing pack, the heavyweights remain on course for another blockbuster in the first week of the finals.
Northern Bulldogs joined Eastern Eagles in equal-third on 12 competition points after prevailing 24-12 in the clubs’ Wainoni Park encounter.
Tries to centre Vinnie Paul and interchange player Viliame Koroi saw the Bulldogs take a 12-2 lead into the break. Both teams posted two tries in the second half, allowing the visitors to clinch a hard-earned win – their second over the Eagles in 2019.
Riccarton Knights will be ruing a gilt-edged opportunity to keep pace with the top four, slipping four points behind via a 26-24 loss to last-placed Halswell Hornets.
The Hornets led 16-6 at halftime and withstood a Knights resurgence to bank just their second win of the season.
Elusive fullback Nick Evans dotted down twice for Halswell, while long-serving Knights hooker Justin Lynch took his season tally to eight tries with a double.
Celebration Lions moved into outright sixth with a 32-10 home win over Papanui Tigers.
The convincing victory was just the Lions’ third of the season and snapped a three-game losing run. The Tigers are now level with the Hornets after sinking to their sixth successive defeat.
In the only CRL Women’s Premiership encounter on Sunday, Linwood Keas consolidated second place on the ladder with a 46-12 win over fourth-placed Eastern Eagles.
The defending champs remain four points adrift of pace-setting Burnham Chevaliers.
The region’s elite women’s players head into a hectic period of the 2019 season as they juggle club commitments with Canterbury training ahead of next month’s NZRL National Tournament.
CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 10 RESULTS
Linwood Keas 20 (Jesse Rangihuna, Danny Latu, Rangi Thompson, Chris Nijssen tries; Daniel Hartley 2 goals) defeated Hornby Panthers 18 (Jordan Coleman 2, Caius Faatili tries; Faatili 3 goals) at Leslie Park
Halswell Hornets 26 (Nick Evans 2, Tirikatene Taiuru, Aidan Te Hiko tries; Dylan Gittings 2, Jahran Katene 2, Brad Austin goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 24 (Justin Lynch 2, Zion Kamana, Caleb Reweti tries; Tele Elia 4 goals) at Halswell Domain
Northern Bulldogs 24 (Vinnie Paul, Lucuster Mati, Patella Tou, Viliame Koroi tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 4 goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 12 (Josh Afamasaga, Uriah Esau tries; Junior Peneli 2 goals) at Wainoni Park
Celebration Lions 32 d Papanui Tigers 10 at Cuthberts Green
Massetti Cup Ladder: Linwood Keas 18 (+142), Hornby Panthers 16 (+210), Northern Bulldogs 12 (+118), Eastern Eagles 12 (+34), Riccarton Knights 8 (-22), Celebration Lions 6 (-77), Papanui Tigers 4 (-179), Halswell Hornets 4 (-226)