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Fired up Phoenix, no hookers, ugly super rugby


The Wellington Phoenix deserve top spot with their clinical 3–0 accounting of Macarthur in the final round-robin match of the A-League.

However, the Newcastle Jets could not hit top speed for long enough to sink the Central Coast Mariners, who looked like a shoo-in to collect the premier plate with only the small matter of beating Adelaide United last night.

It’s great to see a good crowd at club rugby, and there was a decent turnout at Jeans Street on Saturday to witness Pioneer’s first proper home game of the season, made even more special because the cousins from Martinborough were visiting.

The result didn’t go the home team’s way, beaten 34–12, but regardless of their colours, fans would’ve enjoyed what will surely be one of the tries of the season when Marty’s Harry Eschenbach busted the defence inside his 22 and sent replacement fullback Zach Ratuki away to score a stunner on debut. On that note, be sure to check out Wairarapa Bush’s Facebook page and their tries of the week; there are some beauties.

Tumu Douglas Villa and Greyfriars Motel Greytown continued their winning ways in the Capital Football competitions. Villa held off University 2–1, and Greytown edged Lower Hutt 3–2 to sit second and first in their divisions.

Former Tall Black and NZ Breaker Kirk Penney has been inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame, becoming just the second Kiwi after Pero Cameron to be awarded the honour.

Finally, it’s time to celebrate all that is good in Wairarapa sports, and from my observation, there is plenty to be proud of, so get your nominations in for the Wairarapa Times-Age Sports Awards. Check out the details in each publication over the next couple of weeks.


The Hurricanes [predictably in my mind] were trampled by the Brumbies in the Aussie capital for the sixth straight time. That could be a good thing – better to lose now than in a playoff match – but going on what the Crusaders produced in their demolition of the Rebels, what odds on the Canes coming up against their red and black nemesis in the quarters or semis? Beware!

Adding to the Canes’ woes is the team’s hooking crisis, with their top three rakes all on the casualty list, prompting an SOS to club great Dane Coles, but you guessed it, the 37-year-old is injured. Does someone have Fitzy’s number in England and a spare pair of boots?

The Warriors’ Anzac Day hoodoo again bit them on the bum with a bad 27–24 loss to the previously winless Titans. The ‘Wahs’ now haven’t won on our two countries’ special day in a decade. Yuk!

Not a good weekend for the Farriers Dalefield men’s and women’s teams, with the blokes being tripped up 2–1 by Northern United and the women beaten 4–1 by Hutt United.

Twenty-one and counting – that’s the Southern Steel’s run of losses in the ANZ Netball Premiership – normally enough to slide into the next zone, but they showed some nice touches in their 54-46 loss to the Pulse.


Highlanders 7 Western Force 6 – what more can be said about the ugliest Super Rugby display in many a long year? The only consolation is the ‘Landers’ moved into eighth and last place in the playoff race. That’s just further confirmation of my loathing of an eight-team playoff system in a 12-team comp and how it could reward mediocrity!

Sheffield United’s ugly season in the EPL got uglier with their relegation after their 5–1 drubbing by Newcastle. Clearly, the Blades aren’t sharp enough for life at the elite level.

Scraping the ugly barrow this week surely has to be NRL commentator/journo Paul Kent allegedly bringing back the rugby league biffo in an ugly street brawl outside a Sydney restaurant.


Dame Sophie Pascoe this week pulled the pin on the Paris Paralympics, but the 11-time gold medallist has vowed she’ll be back in the water when the bubba is a bit bigger. Enjoy the time on dry land, Sophie!

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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