CRL MASSETTI CUP 2020 – ROUND 2 WRAP
Northern Bulldogs are the only unbeaten team in the Canterbury Rugby League Massetti Cup’s Eastern Conference while Hornby Panthers lead their Western Conference rivals at the end of Round 2.
Northern outlasted four-time defending premiers Linwood Keas 12-8 in a gripping contest at Murphy Park.
An early kick-and-chase try from halfback Zac Riley put the Bulldogs on the front foot, before the Keas belatedly hit back late in the half via a barnstorming Danny Latu effort from a line dropout.
Bulldogs winger Kayne Smith’s try gave the Bulldogs a 12-4 buffer that the hosts maintained for a lengthy period during the second half. Keas centre Phil Wahnig scored to set up a grandstand finish but the Bulldogs held on to stake their claim as the early-season standouts in the East.
Club stalwart Tom Mansfield celebrated his 100th game for the Bulldogs with a W.
Eastern Eagles bounced back from their 26-point loss to the Keas last weekend with an emphatic 28-10 win over Celebration Lions at Wainoni Park.
A hat-trick from second-rower Josh Afamasaga gave the Eagles a handy 16-4 halftime lead, while tries to hooker Cyrus Timo-Latu and prop Cameron Tukupua saw the home side finish the job.
Hornby is resoundingly proving the best in the West so far, backing up their 40-point defeat of Halswell with a 36-10 win against Round 1 victors Papanui Tigers.
The Panthers ran in eight tries, with halves pairing James Baxendale and Jesse Rogers and dynamic back-row duo, the veteran Corey Lawrie and teenage powerhouse Caius Faatili, all among the scorers at Leslie Park.
Riccarton Knights got off the mark with a 10-6 win over the Hornets in a hard-fought Western Conference affair.
Eastern Eagles, Northern Bulldogs and Burnham Chevaliers are level at the top of the Canterbury Cups standings with 2-0 records after notching impressive wins over Papanui Tigers, Linwood Keas and Ashburton Barbarians respectively in Saturday’s 1pm fixtures.
The Chevaliers, who usually compete in Division One, have rekindled their relationship with Riccarton Knights, essentially becoming their premier reserves feeder team. Chevaliers players are eligible to be called up for Massetti Cup duty with the Knights and vice versa.
Meanwhile, Woolston Rams – also promoted from the on-hold Division One competition for 2020 – opened their Canterbury Cup campaign with a victory over Halswell Hornets after sitting out Round 1 with the bye.
CRL MASSETTI CUP MEN’S PREMIERSHIP ROUND 2 RESULTS
Eastern Eagles 28 (Josh Afamasaga 3, Cyrus Timo-Latu, Cameron Tukupua tries; Daniel Hartley 4 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 10 (Kasi Leka, Denis Davey tries; Jarvis Ataera goal) at Wainoni Park
Northern Bulldogs 12 (Zac Riley, Kayne Smith tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 2 goals) defeated Linwood Keas 8 (Danny Latu, Philip Wahnig tries) at Murphy Park
Riccarton Knights 10 (Zion Kamana, James Tongia tries; Tele Elia goal) defeated Halswell Hornets 6 (Jope Finau try; Cameron Greig goal) at Crosbie Park
Hornby Panthers 36 (Nathaniel Papuni, Will Tafua, James Baxendale, Jesse Rogers, Jordan Campbell, Corey Lawrie, Caius Faatili, Champ Betham tries; Campbell 2 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 10 (Anaru Donnelly 2 tries; Hayden Thompson goal) at Leslie Park
CRL CANTERBURY CUP PREMIER RESERVES ROUND 2 RESULTS
Eastern Eagles 36-10 Papanui Tigers at Wainoni Park
Northern Bulldogs 34-22 Linwood Keas at Murphy Park
Woolston Rams 22-14 Halswell Hornets at Woolston Park
Ashburton Barbarians 20-24 Burnham Chevaliers at Robilliard Park
Photo Credit: Northern Bulldogs