CRL MASSETTI CUP 2020: ROUND 8 WRAP
Northern Bulldogs and Linwood Keas put one hand on a top-two finish with two rounds of the 2020 Canterbury Rugby League Massetti Cup to go courtesy of massive home wins on Saturday, while Hornby Panthers moved to outright third with a high-scoring victory on the road. Meanwhile, the race for fourth spot looks destined to go down to the wire after three playoffs hopefuls tasted Round 8 defeat.
The Keas edged ahead of the Bulldogs on for-and-against after putting Halswell Hornets to the sword 66-0 at Linwood Park.
The four-time defending premiers led 24-0 at halftime before piling on eight more tries in the second stanza. Winger Rangi Thompson bagged a hat-trick, while fullback Mapu Uasi scored two tries as part of a 22-point haul.
The Bulldogs were no less emphatic in a 10-tries-to-none rout of fourth-placed Riccarton Knights at Murphy Park. Veteran centre Vinnie Paul finished with three tries as the hosts turned a 22-0 halftime scoreline into a 52-0 win.
Linwood and Northern have both won seven of their eight games, with the Keas 10 points better off in the for-and-against department.
Hornby Panthers – four points adrift of the front-running pair – remain a mathematical chance for a top-of-the-table finish thanks to a 42-28 defeat of Celebration Lions at Cuthberts Green.
Five players grabbed doubles in the match: the Panthers’ Jordan Campbell, Champ Betham and Caius Faatili – who started in the centres this week – and the Lions’ Kyle Leka and Faafetai Tuuu as the visitors converted their 22-12 halftime advantage into two valuable competition points.
Papanui Tigers kept their finals flame flickering with a nail-biting 24-22 home win over Eastern Eagles, who missed their opportunity to leapfrog the Knights into fourth spot.
The Tigers scored the first two tries of each half before the Eagles clawed back on each occasion, but the black-and-golds hung on to claim their second Massetti Cup win of 2020. They are now just two points behind the Eagles and Hornets, and four points shy of the Knights.
The 1-7 Lions occupy last place, despite scoring a combined 50 points against both of the 2016-19 grand finalists over the past two rounds.
CRL MASSETTI CUP ROUND 8 RESULTS
Papanui Tigers 24 (Caleb Tauamiti 2, Antonio Lemalu, Sua Ailoilo, Lupe Siafa tries; Hayden Thompson, Jesse Wihongi goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 22 (Peneli Peneli, Josh Ka, Cyrus Timo-Latu, Apeli Tanielu tries; Dylan Hartley 3 goals) at Papanui Domain
Hornby Panthers 42 (Caius Faatili 2, Jordan Campbell 2, Champ Betham 2, Sincere Harraway, Taualai Taualai tries; Faatili 3, James Baxendale 2 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 28 (Faafetai Tuuu 2, Kyle Leka 2, Jordan Kamana tries; Taniela Leka 4 goals) at Cuthberts Green
Northern Bulldogs 52 (Vinnie Paul 3, Patella Tou 2, Atunaisa Takubu, Manu Tipelu, Izic Placid, Zac Riley, Stephen Maat tries; Tipelu 5, Ethan Plaskett goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 0 at Murphy Park
Linwood Keas 66 (Rangi Thompson 3, Mapu Uasi 2, Penitito Ilalio 2, Paul Sauni 2, Matt Sauni, Danny Latu, Ketesomaue Pouli, Puia’I Patu-Vaega’Au tries; Uasi 7 goals) defeated Halswell Hornets 0 at Linwood Park
CRL CANTERBURY CUP ROUND 9 RESULTS
Hornby Panthers 34 defeated Ashburton Barbarians at Robilliard Park
Eastern Eagles 28 defeated Papanui Tigers at Papanui Domain
Woolston Rams 20 defeated Northern Bulldogs 12 at Murphy Park
Linwood Keas 60 defeated Halswell Hornets at Linwood Park
Photo Credit: Dai Roberts