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Carterton, Coasties eye the final

James Goodger dives over to score the first of his two tries. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


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Greytown 12
Carterton 47

Carterton coach Neil Rodger is keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite his team’s resounding victory over fierce rivals Greytown at Greytown.

The win has Carterton one point away from qualifying for the Lane Penn Trophy final. The maroons also locked away the Grant Cup [for matches between the two clubs] in the trophy cabinet for what Rodger thought is the first time since 2018.

Rodger felt the performance was a big improvement on the first round 29-20 win over Marist.

“Unlike the week before where we probably played for 15 minutes, we played for 60 this week,” he said.

“We put a whole lot of phases together and we dominated at the collision but also dominated in regard to time with the ball.

“We probably dominated the scrum and that went well, and the lineout went way better than it did last week but I wouldn’t say we dominated the lineout.”

Rodger said Carterton had 12 positional or personnel changes from the Marist game in an effort to give players ample time on the field.

One of those changes was regular prop Tupou Lea’aemanu, who moved to No 8 and had a devastating game on Saturday.

Rodger said Greytown were obviously not the same championship winning side as last year but he’s certain that will change in coming weeks and they’ll be much stronger.

Marist 29
Pioneer 13

Set piece dominance laid the platform for Marist’s bonus-point victory over Pioneer at Memorial Park No 2.

Marist had a slight edge at scrum time, but the lineouts were the most telling with captain Peter Beech at lock and blindside flanker James Goodger regularly snaffling Pioneer ball.

Beech said the set piece had been the focus at training in the build-up during the week, and it paid off.

“If we get our stuff right then we know we can play off that, and we know we’ve got a good scrum and lineout,” Beech said.

“There’s a lot of lineout experience there and Goodger is not the biggest fella, so you can get him up whenever you want.”

Despite Marist’s set piece dominance, their first try came from broken play, when impressive young centre Hayden Cooper gathered an aimless Pioneer kick and headed off on a 30m run.

From the ensuing ruck a Beech off-load gave winger Junior Muaimalae the space to race away for the first five-pointer.

Goodger was next to score, diving over after a big charge from Sam Siaosi, and then a drop goal to Paddy Gluck from a wayward Pioneer tryline dropout gave the home side a 17-3 lead.

A brilliant try to Pioneer’s outstanding first-five Reece Calkin, which was started inside their own 22m by winger Colt Pureau narrowed the lead to nine points.

A second converted try to Goodger had Marist take a 24-8 lead into the halftime break.

The second spell, as is typical of many rugby games, was a stop-start affair not helped by the seemingly endless substitutions.

A try to Siaosi after a strong surge from an attacking scrum by No 8 Ruperake Charles Oloapu extended Marist’s lead, before winger Flynn Tawhai-Johnson finished off a good team try for Pioneer, started by in-form flanker Himiona Haira.

Beech said he was confident going into the game with the experienced hands in the forward pack. He was also impressed with three of the youngsters – Cooper, who is in his first year out of Wairarapa College, Oloapu on the back of the scrum, and Parau Hosking Ellis, a converted blindside flanker playing only his second game at first-five.

Although Pioneer were well beaten on the scoreboard they never went away, and Beech said have the talent to be a real threat later in the season.

“Himiona Haira – he was a pest. We had a talk about clearing him out from the ruck, but we still weren’t doing it that effectively and he got a lot of turnover ball,

“And Reece Calkin has got some silky skills. He’s got a great kicking game and he can just direct the team around.”

East Coast 38
Gladstone 17

East Coast have one foot in the Lane Penn Trophy final after their commanding win over Gladstone at Whareama.

Although the Coasties scored six tries, coach Aaron Matenga felt that their defensive effort won the game.

“Our defence was a lot better, and we shut down their space a bit,” said Matenga.

“Our scrum was pretty good, and it was an even battle in the lineouts, and the ruck ball was pretty contestable.

“The decision-making was a huge improvement this week and it was a step up for us.”

Matenga singled out halfback Bryan Arnold, and prop Josh Prentice, in his first game of the season, as outstanding for the winners.

East Coast only need a bonus point over Martinborough next Saturday to lock in their spot in the Lane Penn Trophy final.

Eketahuna 13
Martinborough 16

Martinborough coach James Bruce praised his defence for their gutsy win over Eketahuna at Eketahuna.

“Our team defence won us the game really,” Bruce said.

“We defended really well for 15-20 minutes at the start, and they came away with only three points.

“That’s all they got, and they were hammering our line, and we got better as the game went on.”

Bruce said it was a typically bruising game against a tough uncompromising Eketahuna.

“We hoped for improvement given we hadn’t played any preseason games, and we got it.”

Bruce said numbers at the club were still not good, however, that should improve over the next couple of weeks with players returning from injury and illness.

Lane Penn Trophy Points

Country –- East Coast 10, Gladstone 5, Martinborough 4, Eketahuna 1

Town – Carterton 10, Marist 5, Pioneer 4, Greytown 1

Senior Reserve Scores

Greytown 51 Carterton 42; East Coast 22 Gladstone 7; Pioneer 10 Tuhirangi 68; Masterton Red Star 27 Marist 15; Martinborough bye

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