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Classic youth vs experience final

CHRIS ‘MOOSE’ KAPENE MEMORIAL CUP FINAL

Carterton vs Greytown

Trust House Memorial Park,
3.15pm [Alistair Payne]

Attacking brilliance versus the know-how of what to do to get the job done!

That is how tomorrow’s blockbuster ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup final is shaping up!!

The fiercest of rivals, both with first-year head coaches and in the right sort of form at the pointy end of the season, who needs the added motivation of an at times bitter local derby to add another touch of spice to an already tasty main course.

Defending champions, Carterton scored early bragging rights over their nearest neighbours with a 59-10 thumping in the opening round of the Lane Penn Cup, but the 2021 champions Greytown dug deep and turned their season around, signalling their title credentials with victory in the return fixture, 27-21, a result that flattered the losers.

Greytown coach Kerin Herlihy believes most of his team’s early struggles were because of a lack of playing numbers and the absence of any preseason games, but since the defeat at Carterton and a 47-12 loss to Martinborough, there have been more consistent numbers, and the team have slowly improved, which he puts down to support from the club.

“We have had great support all year from our senior reserves, who have sacrificed a number of players to ensure we were able to field a competitive team, and our focus has been on making small improvements each week,” Herlihy said.

Veteran loose forwards Tana and Tavita Isaac, centre Nick Olson, prop Nick Hohepa, and second-five Cyrus Baker are just some of the Greytown lineup who have extensive championship-winning experience. The return of a trimmed-down super fit prop Lewis Bush from Hawke’s Bay has added strength to the scrum and an extra dimension in the open, while Gracyn Evans is a dangerous attacker from fullback.

“It is important to have good leaders, and they, along with all our senior players, have a great approach and attitude to working with the younger, less experienced players.”

Add in the possibility of former Hurricane Andre Taylor, who has been battling a leg injury, taking the field probably at first-five, and there is plenty to like about the team from New Zealand’s first planned inland town.

Although Herlihy said Taylor is doing his best to be ready, ultimately, the coaching staff will do what is best for the team. Otherwise, he expects to name a similar lineup to the one that won a physical semifinal 21-16 over Marist last Saturday.

Like his opposition coach, Carterton’s Garth Thomson anticipates naming close to the same squad that dismantled Pioneer 45-3 in the semifinal, saying there are a few niggles, and a couple of senior players trying their best to get themselves right for the final.

Carterton don’t have the same depth of experience at finals time as Greytown, but the “Maroons” do have several players who were part of last year’s champion side, as well as being on the end of a 30-25 loss in 2021 to Greytown, to call on.

“Their experience will help the younger ones and the guys that haven’t been in a final,” said Thomson, who is confident the team are in the right space after suffering the surprise loss to Greytown, bouncing back for big wins over Martinborough, Gladstone, and Pioneer.

“It was a good wake call, and we’ve just worked on our game and getting the basics better.”

What they might lack in experience, Carterton make up for with genuine pace in the backs with Aseri ‘Ace’ Waqa, who can slice through any defence as he did in last year’s final, and the elusive Fiula Tameilau, and both should find the artificial turf to their liking.  Veteran Inia Katia, a three-time championship winner with Gladstone, has been an inspiration since moving to the openside flank. Add in the hard-charging prop Tupou Lea’aemanu, the Fijian brothers Malakai and Isireli Biumaiwai, and the tireless lock Logan Wakefield and there are a lot of positives for Carterton.

Both coaches downplayed the fact that the decider is between the fierce rivals, saying that little motivation is needed to get their teams up for what is shaping as a clash of titanic proportions, and there would be plenty of respect for the opposition whoever they were playing.

Not surprisingly, Thomson and Herlihy [who has two-time Wai-Bush championship-winning coach Peter Russell on his coaching staff] are confident of dusting off the trophy cabinet to add the ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup tomorrow night.

“Pete and I are proud of the boys, and it is a privilege to be in the final. The playing group have worked hard to be here, along with the management group. We are reasonably confident with where we are at, and we will just have to see come Saturday,” Herlihy said.

While Thomson said, “It’s management’s job to prepare the boys the best we can this week. I’ve had great support from Errol Weston, Rhys Scott, Neil Rodger and a number of other coaches that we’ve been lucky enough to have helped out this season. Management back our boys.”

Coggie’s prediction: So hard to get a gauge on this one. Greytown have been the big movers, while Carterton got the kick in the butt they needed when losing to Greytown. An enthralling final, but I reckon the artificial turf might suit the fleet-footed Carterton backs a bit more. But then again, there’s that Greytown experience. For the sake of not getting splinters, Carterton by a whisker.

SENIOR RESERVE –
RYAN CUP

Tuhirangi vs Masterton Red Star Trust House Memorial Park – 1pm [Mike Wakefield]

The two teams have dominated the senior reserve championship, with both averaging about 50 points a game.

The only clash between the teams was won by Tuhirangi 47-19 at Pirinoa, in a game that Stars’ coach Chris Senior admits his team didn’t turn up on the day and were deservedly beaten.

The artificial turf should favour the Masterton team with their pace in the backline, while 2022 Wai-Bush rep Jack Loader is a dangerous runner at No. 8.

Tuhirangi, though, are a hard nut to crack and have a tough forward pack and their own exciting players out wide, such as the lightning-quick Isaac Vollebregt.

Adding to the intrigue is Masterton Red Star’s intention to challenge bottom-placed premier side Eketāhuna in a promotion-relegation game should they win tomorrow.

PRESIDENT’S CUP

Marist vs Martinborough

Trust House Memorial Park – 11am [Rodger Moana]

Marist are warmly favoured to beat surprise finalists Martinborough, although the latter could be boosted by some players who have also played for their club’s premier side throughout the season. experience, Carterton make up for with genuine pace in the backs with Aseri ‘Ace’ Waqa, who can slice through any defence as he did in last year’s final, and the elusive Fiula Tameilau, and both should find the artificial turf to their liking.

Veteran Inia Katia, a three-time championship winner with Gladstone, has been an inspiration since moving to the openside flank. Add in the hard-charging prop Tupou Lea’aemanu, the Fijian brothers Malakai and Isireli Biumaiwai, and the tireless lock Logan Wakefield and there are a lot of positives for Carterton.

Both coaches downplayed the fact that the decider is between the fierce rivals, saying that little motivation is needed to get their teams up for what is shaping as a clash of titanic proportions, and there would be plenty of respect for the opposition whoever they were playing.

Not surprisingly, Thomson and Herlihy [who has two-time Wai-Bush championship-winning coach Peter Russell on his coaching staff] are confident of dusting off the trophy cabinet to add the ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup tomorrow night.

“Pete and I are proud of the boys, and it is a privilege to be in the final. The playing group have worked hard to be here, along with the management group. We are reasonably confident with where we are at, and we will just have to see come Saturday,” Herlihy said.

While Thomson said, “It’s management’s job to prepare the boys the best we can this week. I’ve had great support from Errol Weston, Rhys Scott, Neil Rodger and a number of other coaches that we’ve been lucky enough to have helped out this season. Management back our boys.”

Coggie’s prediction: So hard to get a gauge on this one. Greytown have been the big movers, while Carterton got the kick in the butt they needed when losing to Greytown. An enthralling final, but I reckon the artificial turf might suit the fleet-footed Carterton backs a bit more. But then again, there’s that Greytown experience. For the sake of not getting splinters, Carterton by a whisker.

SENIOR RESERVE –
RYAN CUP

Tuhirangi vs Masterton Red Star

Trust House Memorial Park –
1pm [Mike Wakefield]

The two teams have dominated the senior reserve championship, with both averaging about 50 points a game.

The only clash between the teams was won by Tuhirangi 47-19 at Pirinoa, in a game that Stars’ coach Chris Senior admits his team didn’t turn up on the day and were deservedly beaten.

The artificial turf should favour the Masterton team with their pace in the backline, while 2022 Wai-Bush rep Jack Loader is a dangerous runner at No. 8.

Tuhirangi, though, are a hard nut to crack and have a tough forward pack and their own exciting players out wide, such as the lightning-quick Isaac Vollebregt.

Adding to the intrigue is Masterton Red Star’s intention to challenge bottom-placed premier side Eketāhuna in a promotion-relegation game should they win tomorrow.

PRESIDENT’S CUP

Marist vs Martinborough

Trust House Memorial Park –
11am [Rodger Moana]

Marist are warmly favoured to beat surprise finalists Martinborough, although the latter could be boosted by some players who have also played for their club’s premier side throughout the season.

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Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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