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Marist bounce back with big win

Prop Michael Brown makes the burst that led to Marist’s opening try. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

Conversion clinches victory for Pioneer


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Marist jumped to the top of the Wairarapa-Bush premier championship standings with a comprehensive victory over a Greytown side severely depleted with injury and illness.

The game – which started on Memorial Park No 2 but finished on Memorial Park No 3 after a neck injury to Greytown winger Joseph Te Nahia forced a change of field – never rose to any great heights despite the willingness of both teams to run the ball in the slippery conditions.

Marist dominated from the first whistle, opening the scoring after two minutes with a try to blindside flanker Tom Campbell after a barnstorming 30-metre run by prop Michael Brown.

Tua Levi dives over for Marist’s third try to the delight of Marist supporters.

Further tries to centre Charles Mataitai, hooker Tua Levi, and second-five Soli Malatai wrapped up the four-try bonus point before first-five Sam Walton-Sexton crossed for Greytown’s first five-pointer, with the home side taking a 26-8 lead into the halftime break.

While the first half was reasonably free-flowing, the second was stop-start – not helped by two serious injuries.

The first of these was to Greytown veteran loose forward Tana Isaac, who was having an outstanding game and blew an Achilles tendon while making a powerful run.

The second was to Te Nahia, who was left prone on the ground after suffering his neck injury, which necessitated the switching of fields.

Marist added three second-half tries to halfback Paddy Gluck, replacement prop Sam Siaosi, and the last from a pushover scrum, while winger Kallum Pike and openside flanker Matt Gain scored for Greytown.

The home side could count themselves lucky that they didn’t spend considerable time with fewer than 15 players, with at least two shoulder charges only resulting in penalties.

Marist captain Peter Beech was happy with the way his team bounced back after the previous weekend’s shock loss to Martinborough.

“We had to come and put a performance on, so we did what we had to do,” Beech said.

“There was some really good stuff in our defence, and it’s not every day of the week where you have a team stop using lineouts and just tap and go.

“There’s a lot of teams doing that now – they’re not going for the lineouts; they will just tap and go. We take that as a compliment.”

Beech also praised the depleted Greytown side for a strong effort.

“Fair cop to them; some guys probably had to come up from the thirds, and they’ve had to call some guys in who haven’t played all year.”


Referee Matt Perry signals Pioneer’s final try to level the score with Eketahuna.

Pioneer needed a converted try on full-time to deny Eketahuna their first victory of the season in a pulsating game at Jeans St.

Eketahuna looked to have finally broken their duck until flanker Himiona Hair capped another outstanding game, crashing over in a melee of bodies to draw the scores level.

That left Reece Calkin to slot the conversion and secure the come-from-behind victory, which he duly did.

Pioneer coach Victor Thompson was thrilled with the result against an Eketahuna side, who were much better than their record suggested.

“They were very sharp, but we stuck together, and that’s what got us over the try line at the end,” Thompson said.

“We left a few tries out there, and a few points out there, and the ball was a bit slippery, but we’re happy with how we dealt with it.”

Thompson said the return of midfielders Nikora Ewe and Hoani Peacock made a big difference, but it was hard to look past Haira as player of the day and his battle with Johan van Vliet was worth watching.


Carterton coach Neil Rodger said his team’s win over Martinborough at Martinborough was the team’s best effort of the season so far.

“We stepped up and took some opportunities, and we pretty much took every single one of them. It was a really good performance,” a delighted Rodger said.

Fullback Aseri Waqa was the star for Carterton, scoring three tries, and was a constant threat on the counterattack.

“He was outstanding, but in saying that, nobody played badly, and when you can do that, you’re going to go pretty close.”

Rodger also praised Carterton’s defensive effort under sustained pressure from Martinborough.

“They were pretty good with ball in hand, and they know how to put pressure on, but our guys stood up, especially in the second half on defence, and with the number of raids they had.

“We managed to keep them out and turn the ball over or force a penalty and get to the other end again.”

The win lifted Carterton to a share of the championship lead with Marist.


A strong defensive effort was the catalyst behind Gladstone’s win over high-flying East Coast on old timers’ day at Gladstone.

“The boys really stepped in that area, that’s for sure,” Gladstone co-coach Charlie Bargh said.

“No one wanted to be that weak link that would let someone through, and we were all going in as one team. It was an outstanding performance.”

Gladstone adapted better to the conditions, with the game played in persistent rain, making ball-handling tricky.

East Coast had their opportunity to win the game after a try to Bryan Arnold with three minutes to play, but Jack Wakeling’s conversion was astray.

Gladstone second-five Nua Fonoilaepia then secured the victory with his second try from an intercept in the 82nd minute to deny East Coast a bonus point.


Marist, Carterton 16; East Coast 14; Gladstone 10; Martinborough, Pioneer 9; Greytown 6; Eketahuna 2.


Martinborough 20 Masterton Red Star 5; Gladstone 33 East Coast 5; Marist 50 Greytown-Carterton 15; Tuhirangi WBD Pioneer.

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