CRL 2022 – ROUND 1 WRAP
A pair of showdowns between last season’s top-four finishers set the scene for a thrilling start to the 2022 Bartercard CRL Men’s Premiership on Saturday.
Northern Bulldogs pulled off an impressive 16-10 upset of defending champs Hornby Panthers at Murphy Park.
A first-half double from winger Matty Clough propelled the Bulldogs to a 10-0 lead at the break. The Panthers responded with tries from fullback Zinzan Martin and winger Christian Fetu in the second stanza, but a four-pointer from lock Javahn Togiaso in between the visitors’ strikes was enough for the Bulldogs to secure the statement win.
Meanwhile, perennial heavyweights Linwood Keas survived a cliff-hanger at Halswell Domain, edging the Hornets 19-18 on the back of a clutch performance from returning playmaker Daniel Hartley.
The Keas, runners-up last year after winning five straight premierships, and 2021 preliminary finalists the Hornets were locked 12-all at halftime and were headed for an 80-minute stalemate. But Hartley – who also scored a try in each half, including a 68th-minute leveller – slotted a deadlock-breaking field goal in the dying stages of an absorbing contest.
Hartley locked horns with fellow ball-playing veteran and former Keas grand final teammate Toi Sepuloni, who also bagged a try, in a fascinating five-eighth duel, while Hornets centre Nick Evans crossed for a double. Keas hooker Alani Kakoi celebrated his 100th premiers match for the club.
Celebration Lions, coming off a much-improved fifth-placed finish in 2021 before taking out the Gore Cup, started their Massetti Cup campaign in rousing style courtesy of a 58-12 away win over Papanui Tigers.
Eastern Eagles went down in a hard-fought 30-22 loss to Riccarton Knights at their Wainoni Park base ahead of a Gore Cup final rematch at home against the Lions next weekend.
Round 2 of the Massetti Cup is headlined by a Linwood Park blockbuster between the Keas and Panthers, while the Tigers host the Hornets and the Knights welcome the Bulldogs to Crosbie Park.
2022 BARTERCARD CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHIP – ROUND 1 RESULTS
Northern Bulldogs 16 (Matty Clough 2, Javahn Togiaso tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 2 goals) defeated Hornby Panthers 10 (Zinzan Martin, Christian Fetu tries; Caleb Murphy goal) at Murphy Park
Linwood Keas 19 (Daniel Hartley 2, Kyle Amer tries; Hartley 3 goals; Hartley field goal) defeated Halswell Hornets 18 (Nick Evans 2, Toi Sepuloni tries; Jamie Nuttridge 3 goals) at Halswell Domain
Celebration Lions 58 defeated Papanui Tigers 12 at Papanui Domain
Riccarton Knights 30 defeated Eastern Eagles 22 at Wainoni Park
2022 ISC CRL CANTERBURY CUP PREMIER RESERVES – ROUND 1 RESULTS
Halswell Hornets 44 defeated Ashburton Barbarians 22 at Halswell Domain
Linwood Keas 48 defeated Northern Bulldogs 6 at Murphy Park
Hornby Panthers 32 defeated Woolston Rams 22 at Woolston Park
Eastern Eagles 58 defeated Burnham Chevaliers 14 at Wainoni Park
Greymouth Greyhounds 20-0 Shirley Hawks