CRL MASSETTI CUP 2020 – ROUND 1 WRAP
Hornby, Linwood, Papanui and Northern hold an equal share of the CRL Massetti Cup men’s premiership lead after four high-scoring showdowns in Round 1 on Saturday.
A stunning four-try performance from lock Sua Ailoilo led Papanui Tigers to a 30-24 victory over Riccarton Knights.
Ailoilo, who spent the 2018-19 seasons in the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ lower grades, scored two tries in each half as the Tigers overcame a 16-12 halftime deficit at Papanui Domain. Knights centre Rikki Bidois finished with a hat-trick in a losing effort.
Tigers fullback Caleb Tauamiti’s goalkicking proved vital with both teams scoring five tries, landing all five of his conversion attempts.
Linwood Keas began their pursuit of a fifth straight CRL premiership with a 38-12 home win over a spirited Eastern Eagles outfit. The underdog Eagles grafted out an 8-4 halftime lead but were outscored six tries to one in the second stanza.
The bulk of the Keas’ 2019 grand final-winning line-up turned out at Linwood Park, while four-time title-winning coach Andrew Auimatagi – who handed the reins to his ex-charges Aga Fiso and Iuma Mulitalo at the end of last season – answered an SOS to fill in at five-eighth for the defending champs.
Winger Mapu Uasi racked up 14 points for the Keas from a try and five goals.
Northern Bulldogs powered to a 34-12 win over Celebration Lions at Cuthberts Green to be the only away team to bank a Massetti Cup win in Round 1.
The visitors led 10-6 after a hard-fought first half before breaking the shackles, scoring four tries to one in the second 40.
Hornby Panthers did their damage in the first half against Halswell Hornets, romping to a 52-12 win at Leslie Park after leading 32-0 at halftime.
Caius Faatili, Kevin Curtis and Nathaniel Papanui all bagged doubles in the Panthers’ 10-tries-to-two exhibition.
Meanwhile, the visiting teams took out all four opening-round matches in the Canterbury Cup premier reserves.
Promoted Division One club Burnham Chevaliers swamped Papanui Tigers 40-14, Eastern Eagles rolled defending champions Linwood Keas 32-24, Northern Bulldogs came away from the longest road trip in Canterbury Rugby League with a 46-20 victory over Canterbury Cup debutants Ashburton Barbarians, and Halswell Hornets outlasted neighbouring Hornby Panthers 28-18.
CRL MASSETTI CUP MEN’S PREMIERSHIP – ROUND 1 RESULTS
Papanui Tigers 30 (Sua Ailoilo 4, Anaru Donnelly tries; Caleb Tauamiti 5 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 24 (Rikki Bidois 3, Andy Rattray, Jared Quirke tries; Rattray 2 goals) at Papanui Domain
Linwood Keas 38 (Mapu Uasi, Erwin Sauni, Philip Wahnig, Penito Ilalio, Leon Jarden, Alex Todd, Danny Latu tries; Uasi 5 goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 12 (Lio Faalilo, Arona Sutton, Peneli Peneli tries) at Linwood Park
Northern Bulldogs 34 (Nick Wain, Vinnie Paul, Chris Taylor-Roberts, Manu Tipelu, Lucuster Mati, Ethan Plaskett tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 5 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 12 (Kasi Leka, Jarvis Ataera tries; Taniela Leka 2 goals) at Cuthberts Green
Hornby Panthers 52 (Caius Faatili 2, Kevin Curtis 2, Nathaniel Papanui 2, Tauvale Tauvale, Charlie Charlie, Jess Rogers, Tau Arona tries; James Baxendale 5, Benji Heather goals) defeated Halswell Hornets 12 (Josh Everett, Jacob Paul tries; Cameron Greig 2 goals) at Leslie Park
CRL CANTERBURY CUP PREMIER RESERVES – ROUND 1 RESULTS
Halswell Hornets 28 defeated Hornby Panthers 18 at Leslie Park
Burnham Chevaliers 40 defeated Papanui Tigers 14 at Papanui Domain
Eastern Eagles 32 defeated Linwood Keas 24 at Linwood Park
Northern Bulldogs 46 defeated Ashburton Barbarians at Robilliard Park
Photo courtesy of Eastern Eagles