CRL 2023 CLUB WRAP: ROUND 2
Perennial Canterbury Rugby League grand finalists Linwood Keas and Hornby Panthers are the only undefeated teams after the opening fortnight of the season, while Halswell Hornets opened their 2023 account with a resounding win in Round 2 of the Massetti Cup.
Making their first appearance at home this year, defending champs the Keas carved out an impressive, clinical 30-6 victory over Northern Bulldogs.
Linwood led 16-0 at halftime through tries to wingers Uili Uili and Michael Fili, and second-rower Maoluma Sakaria. Fullback Jerome Taefu bagged a second-half brace and hooker Kyle Amer also dotted down as the Keas’ onslaught continued, while fullback Nick Wain scored a consolation try for the visitors.
The Panthers, coming off a last-minute win over the Hornets in Round 1, again came from behind in another thriller to stay unbeaten – a 26-22 result against a gallant Eastern Eagles outfit.
Hornby powered to a 14-0 advantage during the first half at Wainoni Park and – after the Eagles had whittled away the deficit to just two points – regained some breathing space by going 20-12 in front. But the hosts rallied again, crossing for two unanswered tries to snatch an unlikely lead.
The Panthers regrouped, however, and five-eighth Sincere Harraway – who has rejoined the Panthers in 2023 after spending last season with the Eagles – put his penchant for producing in the clutch moments on display, burning his former club with the match-winning try five minutes from fulltime.
Panthers winger Seamus Stack and Eagles centre Peneli Peneli both finished an absorbing encounter with two tries apiece.
The Hornets bounced back from their season-opening heart-breaker with a emphatic 44-14 defeat of Riccarton Knights at Halswell Domain.
Halswell led 18-4 at halftime and sealed the two competition points with five more tries after the break. Winger Reupena Falele and Iraia de Goldi both picked up try doubles for the home side. To their credit, the Knights finished strongly and scored the last two tries of the much, with winger Miachel Mataafa notching a brace.
CRL’s two most far-flung clubs made their ISC Canterbury Cup intentions clear with outstanding Round 2 wins.
The journey home over Arthur’s Pass was another sweet one for Greymouth Greyhounds, who backed up last week’s 60-0 win over Burnham Chevaliers with another dominant display, beating Eastern Eagles 52-4 at Wainoni Park.
Meanwhile, Ashburton Barbarians have now accounted for both 2022 Canterbury Cup grand finalists, beating reigning champions Linwood Keas 26-18 at their Robilliard Park base after rolling Hornby Panthers in Round 1.
Halswell Hornets’ premier reserves team, who had the first-up bye, achieved a 28-20 home win over Riccarton Knights in their maiden outing of the season, while the Panthers were too strong for the Hawks, piling on the tries in a 70-6 victory at Macfarlane Park.
The Greyhounds, Barbarians, Hornets and Papanui Tigers, who had a bye in Round 2, are all level on top of the Canterbury Cup table with four points.
CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHIP – MASSETTI CUP ROUND 2
Linwood Keas 30 (Jerome Taefu 2, Uili Uili, Michael Fili, Kyle Amer, Maoluma Sakaria tries; Daniel Hartley 3 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 6 (Nick Wain try; Nathaniel Tirikatene goal) at Linwood Park
Hornby Panthers 26 (Seamus Stack 2, Sincere Harraway, Zinzan Martin, Isi Pulu tries; Dion Fong 2, Muipu Nati goals) at Eastern Eagles 22 (Peneli Peneli 2, Kahi Tipene, Cyrus Timo-Latu tries; Jimmy Rangiawha 3 goals) at Wainoni Park
Halswell Hornets 44 (Reupena Fialele 2, Iraia de Goldi 2, Ken Tofilau, Matthew Black, Ruihi Kawenga, Joshua Aileone tries; Jamie Nuttridge 5, Cameron Greig goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 14 (Michael Mataafa 2, Robert Nepia tries; Matariri Halbert-Pere goal) at Halswell Domain
CRL PREMIER RESERVES – ISC CANTERBURY CUP ROUND 2
Greymouth Grounds 52 defeated Eastern Eagles 4 at Wainoni Park
Halswell Hornets 28 defeated Riccarton Knights 20 at Halswell Domain
Ashburton Barbarians 26 defeated Linwood Keas 18 at Linwood Park
Hornby Panthers 70 defeated Shirley Hawks 6 at Macfarlane Park
Northern Bulldogs defeated Burnham Chevaliers (default)
Papanui Tigers BYE