CANTERBURY RUGBY LEAGUE ROUND 8 WRAP
Hornby Panthers, Linwood Keas and Halswell Hornets solidified their positions at the top of the Bartercard NZ CRL Men’s Premiership with convincing Round 8 victories, while Eastern Eagles’ resurgence continued on a wet and wild Saturday afternoon courtesy of important derby victory.
Eastern lost its first four games of the 2021 campaign – including a 40-10 opening-round defeat to Celebration. But the Eagles turned the tables on the Lions via a 20-18 victory, their third in the past four weeks.
The win capped a momentous week for the Eagles, who were named Outstanding Sports Club of the Year at the Canterbury Sports Awards on Friday.
The Eagles led 20-10 at halftime at Ngā Puna Wai before holding off a second-half rally from the Lions, who have now lost four in a row following a bright start to the season.
The eastside rivals are in a three-way tie for fifth spot alongside Riccarton Knights, who were also left with a 3-5 record after a 22-6 loss to Hornby in the other fixture of Saturday’s Ngā Puna Wai double-header.
The undefeated Panthers’ latest success showcased their combination of old and new. Former Canterbury Bulls skipper James Baxendale – who hung up the boots in the off-season – scored two tries off the bench, while 41-year-old stalwart Corey Lawrie also dotted down. Lawrie’s son, winger Jayton, and brilliant young fullback and captain Sincere Harraway were the Panthers’ other try-scorers.
Hornby led Riccarton 10-6 at the break but scored the only three tries of the second stanza.
Linwood took out the second edition of the CRL Grand Final replay against Northern 34-6 at Murphy Park. Blockbusting winger Penetito Ilalio scored two of the second-placed Keas’ six tries, while Bulls coach and four-time premiership-winning mentor Andrew Auimatagi made his 150th appearance for the club from the interchange bench.
The result snapped the Bulldogs’ three-match winning streak, but they remain in outright fourth spot on the ladder.
The third-placed Hornets followed up back-to-back draws against the Keas and Panthers with a resounding 40-0 win over Papanui Tigers in Round 8.
Long-serving centre Ken Tofilau bagged a hat-trick and front-rower Josh Everett cashed in with two tries. The Walter Wilson-coached Hornets now boast a 4-2-2 record and have conceded less points than any team in the competition.
BARTERCARD NZ CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHIP ROUND 8 RESULTS
Linwood Keas 34 (Penetito Ilalio 2, Leon Jarden, Matt Molioo, Phil Wahnig, George Faaiva tries; Jarden 5 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 6 (Josh Endacott try; Endacott goal) at Murphy Park
Eastern Eagles 20 (Henare Nukunuku, Josh Afamasaga, Cyrus Timo-Latu, Zion Tauamiti tries; Daniel Hartley 2 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 18 (Kalolo Tuuu, Tipazo Aukustino, Kasi Leka, Kyle Leka tries; Jordan Wawatai goal) at Ngā Puna Wai
Hornby Panthers 22 (James Baxendale 2, Corey Lawrie, Jayton Lawrie, Sincere Harraway tries; Caleb Murphy goal) defeated Riccarton Knights 6 (Delane Luke try; Mata Halbert-Pere goal) at Ngā Puna Wai
Halswell Hornets 40 (Ken Tofilau 3, Josh Everett 2, Davy Watts, Iraia de Goldi, Cameron Greig tries; Jamie Nuttridge 4 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 0 at Papanui Domain
ISC SPORTS CRL CANTERBURY CUP PREMIER RESERVES ROUND 8 RESULTS
Marist-Papanui 16 defeated Linwood Keas 10 at Papanui Domain
Woolston Rams 26 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 4 at Ngā Puna Wai
Hornby Panthers 58 defeated Eastern Eagles 12 at Ngā Puna Wai
Halswell Hornets 32 defeated Shirley Hawks 24 at Macfarlane Park
Northern Bulldogs 20-0 Ashburton Barbarians
Photo Credit: Abraham Atherton Photography