Linwood Keas took out a hard-fought opening-round Grand Final replay, while Hornby Panthers and Celebration Lions carved out emphatic victories to kick off the 2021 Bartercard New Zealand CRL Men’s Premiership on Saturday.

The Keas began their quest for a sixth straight title with a 26-16 win over Northern Bulldogs at Ngā Puna Wai. Leading 16-4 at halftime, the champs kept the Frank Endacott-coached Bulldogs’ fight-back at arm’s length.

Celebrating their naming in the NZRL National 20s Competition Team of the Tournament on the same day, hooker Kyle Amer and brilliant fullback Mapu Uasi were among Linwood’s five try-scorers.

Courageous fullback Nick Wain made his 100th premier appearance for the Bulldogs.

Hornby’s 40-6 defeat of Riccarton would surely rank among the most historic occasions at Leslie Park in recent memory as 41-year-old club legend Corey Lawrie and son Jayton took the field together for the Panthers.

Winger Jayton marked his premier grade debut with two tries. Meanwhile, new skipper Sincere Harraway – who was also named in the NZRL National 20s Team of the Tournament on Saturday – bagged a hat-trick as the Panthers led 10-0 at the break and piled on six tries in the second half.

Front-rower Delane Luke put the new-look Knights on the scoreboard with their sole try in the second stanza.

Celebration made an eye-catching start to the club’s bid to offload the wooden spoon, powering to a 40-10 win in its Wainoni Park derby against Eastern courtesy of a dominant second-half performance.

After trailing 10-6, the Lions rallied to lead by eight at halftime and scored another five unanswered tries in the second half. Hooker Jordan Kamana finished with a hat-trick and second-rower Jarvis Ataera completed a double.

In another rematch from Canterbury Rugby League’s 2020 Grand Final Day, defending ISC Canterbury Cup champions Linwood overwhelmed Northern 36-20. Several players from last year’s Premiership decider were on show in the Premier Reserves clash, but New Era Glazing Canterbury Bulls coach Andrew Auimatagi stole the show with two tries off the bench for the Keas.

Halswell Hornets and Marist-Papanui played out a 12-all draw in the other Canterbury Cup encounter at Ngā Puna Wai.

Shirley Hawks scored 11 tries to three in a 56-14 blitz of Eastern Eagles at Wainoni Park, with fullback Jayson Sila, winger Peter Stockdale and second-rower Shannon Sweeney each notching a double.

Hornby Panthers accounted for Burnham Chevaliers 44-22 at Leslie Park and Woolston Rams made a Round 1 statement with a 36-4 victory over Ashburton Barbarians.



Linwood Keas 26 (Mapu Uasi, Rangi Thompson, Kyle Amer, Rihari Peeti, Mathew Molioo tries; Uasi 3 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 16 (Petaia Saukuru, Ben Wicksteed, Ethan Plaskett tries; Josh Endacott 2 goals) at Ngā Puna Wai

Celebration Lions 40 (Jordan Kamana 3, Jarvis Ataera, Shayde Turner, Abraham Fonmoa, Maoluma Sakaio tries; Taniela Leka 4 goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 10 (Peneli Peneli, Rezyn Timo-Latu tries; Daniel Hartley goal) at Wainoni Park

Hornby Panthers 40 (Sincere Harraway 3, Jayton Lawrie 2, Eti Collins, Charlie Charlie, Kakepare Siulepa tries; Benjamin Heather 4 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 6 (Delane Luke try; Matariri Halbert-Pere goal) at Leslie Park

Halswell Hornets 20-0 Papanui Tigers



Halswell Hornets 12 drew with Marist-Papanui 12 at Ngā Puna Wai
Hornby Panthers 44 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 22 at Leslie Park
Linwood Keas 36 defeated Northern Bulldogs 20 at Ngā Puna Wai
Shirley Hawks 56 defeated Eastern Eagles 14 at Wainoni Park
Woolston Rams 36 defeated Ashburton Barbarians 4 at Woolston Park

Canterbury Rugby League 2021 Season Launch
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