NEW ERA GLAZING CANTERBURY BULLS OVERPOWER WAIKATO MANA IN SECOND HALF
A dominant second-half display has propelled New Era Glazing Canterbury Bulls to top of the NZRL National Premiership table at the end of Round 1, courtesy of a 42-12 victory over Waikato Mana at Ngā Puna Wai.
The Bulls – in their first Premiership hit-out under new coach Jed Lawrie – fought from behind to level the scores before halftime, then ran in five unanswered tries after the break.
Veteran Linwood playmaker Daniel Hartley had a day out, racking 22 points from two tries and seven-from-seven with the boot, and playing a leading hand in several other Bulls four-pointers.
Hartley opened the scoring for the afternoon when he crossed from a scrum win, but the Mana responded with back-to-back tries to hooker Mahinga Rangi to grab a 12-6 lead.
The home side landed a vital blow in the latter stages of the first half when Hartley laid on a try for experienced Riccarton foward Reuben Te Amo.
Canterbury carried that momentum through into the early exchanges of the second half and snared the ascendancy with Hornby’s Devaun Thompson coming off the bench to score from dummy-half and Eastern prop Josh Afamasaga powering over for his team’s fourth try.
Both teams defended stoutly – until the floodgates opened in the last 10 minutes.
The abundance of attacking firepower in the Bulls’ ranks finally broke the visitors’ resolve with Panthers second-rower Eti Collins, halfback and co-captain Danny Samuelu-Latu and Hartley dotting down.
New Era Glazing Canterbury Bulls’ next assignment is next Sunday, September 18th, at Ngā Puna Wai against Ākarana Falcons, who won their Round 1 Auckland derby against Counties-Manukau Stingrays 42-30.
New Era Glazing Canterbury Bulls 42 (Daniel Hartley 2, Reuben Te Amo, Devaun Thompson, Josh Afamasaga, Eti Collins, Danny Samuelu-Latu tries; Hartley 7 goals) defeated Waikato Mana 12 (Mahinga Rangi 2 tries; Caleb McLean 2 goals) at Ngā Puna Wai, Christchurch on Sunday, September 11th.