CRL MASSETTI CUP 2020 – ROUND 3 WRAP
Northern Bulldogs are the only unbeaten team in the Massetti Cup at the conclusion of the three-week conference format to start the 2020 season.
The Bulldogs fought back from a 16-10 halftime deficit against Eastern Eagles to complete a cleansweep of their rivals in the Eastern Conference, scoring three tries to one after the break to prevail 26-22 in a Wainoni Park thriller.
Linwood Keas bounced back from last week’s loss in Kaiapoi with a gripping 16-14 win over Celebration Lions in Round 3’s other Eastern Conference clash.
The winless Lions led 10-8 at halftime after clawing back from 8-0 down, while Celebration interchange Jordan Tamana and Linwood counterpart Tupunuu Jr Tuuga scored the only tries of the second half. But two goals from Keas lock Michael Nicholls-Caine ultimately proved the difference.
Over in the Western Conference, Halswell Hornets opened their 2020 account and honoured the memory of Darryl Hawker with a stirring 46-10 victory over Papanui Tigers.
Both teams paused for a moment’s silence before the match at Halswell Domain as a mark of respect for former Hornets premiership player and Canterbury Rugby League stalwart Hawker, who passed away earlier in the week, aged 64.
The Hornets scored four tries in each half, with centre Corey Austin, winger Scott MacDonald, halfback Aaron Fiveash and second-rower Josh Everett all finishing with doubles.
But the biggest upset of weekend was achieved by Riccarton Knights, who inflicted Western Conference heavyweights Hornby Panthers’ first loss of the season courtesy of a 26-14 result at Coronation Park.
Knights back-rower Zion Kamana bagged two tries as they went on with the job after building a 16-6 halftime lead.
Northern Bulldogs and promoted Division One clubs Burnham Chevaliers and Woolston Rams sit atop the Canterbury Cup table after three rounds.
The Bulldogs thumped Eastern Eagles 36-4, the Chevaliers accounted for Hornby Panthers 26-22 and the Rams accounted for defending champs Linwood Keas 34-24.
Halswell Hornets outlasted Papanui Tigers 32-22 to bank their second win of the season.
CRL MASSETTI CUP MEN’S PREMIERSHIP ROUND 3 RESULTS
Linwood Keas 16 (Shane Bowden, Ketesemane Pouli, Tupunuu Jr Tuuga tries; Michael Nicholls-Caine 2 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 14 (Faafetai Tuuu, Jarvis Ataera, Jordan Tamana tries; Taniela Leka goal) at Cuthberts Green
Northern Bulldogs 26 (Nick Wain, Petaia Saukuru, Vinnie Paul, Patella Tou, Ethan Plaskett tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 2, Izic Placid goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 22 (Isileli Ngauamo 2, Clayton Waikato, Josh Afamasaga tries; Daniel Hartley 3 goals) at Wainoni Park
Halswell Hornets 46 (Corey Austin 2, Scott MacDonald 2, Aaron Fiveash 2, Josh Everett 2 tries; Brody Greig 7 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 10 (Poamo Ailoilo, Roger Tafua tries; Hayden Thompson goal) at Halswell Domain
Riccarton Knights 26 (Zion Kamana 2, Tele Elia, Jope Tagicakibau, Rex Wolfe tries; Elia 2, Tagicakibau goals) defeated Hornby Panthers 14 (Maipu Nati, Jordan Campbell, Daniel Kilbride tries; Caius Faatili goal) at Coronation Park
CRL CANTERBURY CUP PREMIER RESERVES ROUND 3 RESULTS
Northern Bulldogs 36 defeated Eastern Eagles 4 at Wainoni Park
Woolston Rams 34 defeated Linwood Keas 24 at Woolston Park
Halswell Hornets 32 defeated Papanui Tigers 22 at Halswell Domain
Burnham Chevaliers 26 defeated Hornby Panthers 22 at Coronation Park