CRL 2022 – ROUND 13 WRAP
The top three spots on the Massetti Cup ladder are locked in with one weekend of the regular season to go, but Northern Bulldogs ensured the battle for fourth place will go down to the wire after a stunning last-gasp win in Round 13 of the Bartercard CRL Men’s Premiership on Saturday.
Linwood Keas clinched top spot with a round to spare courtesy of a 40-10 defeat of Celebration Lions as they eye off an eighth straight Canterbury Rugby League grand final appearance.
The unbeaten Keas piled on five unanswered tries in the opening 27 minutes before the seventh-placed Lions stemmed the flow of points against them at Linwood Park.
But the most crucial result of the weekend was the Bulldogs’ nerve-shredding 22-18 victory over Eastern Eagles at Wainoni Park.
In a seesawing clash, the third-placed Eagles led 14-6 at halftime before the teetering Bulldogs snatched a two-point advantage via tries to Taniela Leka and Cameron Godfrey after the break.
The home side looked certain to snare the competition points and consign Northern to a potentially disastrous defeat when Diploma Muaimalae crossed with four minutes left, but Ross Turi responded with a try in the dying seconds to get the Bulldogs over the line.
Northern retained fourth spot following Hornby Panthers’ convincing 36-12 loss to in-form neighbours Halswell Hornets. The second-placed Hornets powered to a 32-0 lead on the back of four tries to Ken Tofilau in the first 44 minutes, before the Panthers gained some traction and dotted down a couple of time in the last quarter of the match.
The Panthers are two competition points behind the Bulldogs and 62 points worse off in the for-and-against stakes. But a Round 14 clash with Papanui – which has lost each of its matches by at least 46 points – provides Hornby with a genuine opportunity to leapfrog the Bulldogs, whose last home-and-away fixture is against ladder-leading Linwood.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ victory snuffed out Riccarton Knights’ slim finals hopes.
The Knights did their part to stay alive with a 76-6 home win over the Tigers – running in 14 tries, including a hat-trick to Mavaega Scheck and a 24-point haul from Matariri Halbert-Pere – but they were left four points adrift of the Bulldogs at the end of the round.
BARTERCARD CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHIP ROUND 13 RESULTS
Riccarton Knights 76 (Mavaega Sheck 3, Jeremy Green 2, Hano Crichton 2, Solomone Leka 2, Netaleni Taufateau 2, Shane Tamatea, Matariri Halbert-Pere, Gaius Reweti tries; Halbert-Pere 10 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 6 at Crosbie Park
Linwood Keas 40 (Penitito Ilalio, Fabricius Sua, Uriah Tuli, Rangitane Thompson, Mika Moemalo Ulu, Tanu Suavine, Etelani Pouli tries; Daniel Hartley 6 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 10 (Fabian Kairua, Sione Vea tries; Rawiri Maniapoto-Pakai goal) at Linwood Park
Northern Bulldogs 22 (Javaan Togiaso, Taniela Leka, Cameron Godfrey, Ross Turi tries; Nathaniel Tirikatene 3 goals) defeated Eastern Eagles 18 (Josh Afamasaga, Mesiah Ngatuere, Diploma Muaimalae tries; Jimmy-John Rangiawha 3 goals) at Wainoni Park
ISC SPORTS CRL CANTERBURY CUP PREMIER RESERVES TOP SIX
Linwood Keas 28 defeated Eastern Eagles 20 at Wainoni Park
Greymouth Greyhounds defeated Woolston Rams 14 at Woolston Park
Hornby Panthers 26 defeated Halswell Hornets 20 at Leslie Park