SENZ CANTERBURY BULLS OVERWHELMED BY COUNTIES MANUKAU IN OPENER
Counties Manukau Stingrays have subjected the SENZ Canterbury Bulls to a tough start to their NZRL National Premiership campaign, powering to a 44-0 victory at Ngā Puna Wai.
It was a promising start on both sides of the ball for the home side. There was an agonising missed opportunity when co-captain Uale Peneli poured into space and linked with Cyrus Timo-Latu, only for the hooker to spill the ball over the line, while soon afterwards Daniel Hartley’s kick came desperately close to producing a try out wide following some brilliant counterattack from Champ Betham and Josh Everett.
But the Stingrays gradually earned the upper hand and opened an 18-0 halftime lead. Winger Filipo Utai crossed for the first try after 12 minutes and fullback Phranklyn Mano-Le-Mame bagged a double before the break.
A long-range intercept run from Ben Ilalio with Etelani Pouli backing up almost produced an early strike for the SENZ Canterbury Bulls. Mano-Le-Mame being sent to the bin after the passage finished and Muipu Nati was denied by a harsh forward-pass call seconds later.
The tries flowed regularly for Counties Manukau thereafter, the visitors running in five more to make a firm statement about their title aspirations in 2023.
Jed Lawrie’s SENZ Canterbury Bulls will attempt to regroup ahead of their Round 2 encounter with Auckland Vulcans at Ngā Puna Wai on Sunday, September 10.
NZRL NATIONAL PREMIERHSIP – ROUND 1
Counties Manukau Stingrays 44 defeated SENZ Canterbury Bulls 0 at Ngā Puna Wai.