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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Unbeaten teams square off

Greytown vs Martinborough Greytown 2.35 pm
[Alistair Payne]

Little love is lost when these two southern neighbours go to battle, and that is unlikely to change tomorrow.

The two teams come in with contrasting victories, Martinborough holding off a strong late charge to beat Carterton 31–27 and Greytown strolling to a 55–7 demolition of Masterton Red Star.

Martinborough coach James Bruce took a lot of confidence from their hard-fought win; however, Greytown’s effort is probably harder to gauge given that it was Stars’ first foray into the top division in five years.

No quarter is likely to be given in the forward exchanges, where the two packs are evenly matched, while both teams have some exciting attacking talent in the backs, with Gracyn Evans, Cyrus Baker and Carlos Rimene for the home side and Shane Colton and the impressive winger Conall Dayle for the “green and blacks”.

COGGIE’S PREDICTION:

Your guess is as good as mine in what should be a fast, open game. Greytown, but only because they have home advantage.

Carterton vs Marist
Carterton 2.35 pm
[Shay O’Gorman]

Marist showed enough last week that they will again be major contenders, pulling away for a strong 48–27 defeat of Pioneer.

However, the two-time defending champions on their home patch will be a completely different proposition for the “green and whites”.

Despite falling 31–27 to Martinborough, Carterton’s second-half performance to rally from 21 points down at halftime and come close to winning indicated they would once again be there or thereabouts when the trophies are on the line.

Both teams boast exciting backlines, with the likes of Aseri ‘Ace’ Waqa and Fiula Tameilau for the home side and Charles Mataitai and Hayden Cooper for Marist capable of taking advantage of the slightest gap.

There is plenty of intrigue in the forward battle, with both teams fielding hardworking packs without star power.

COGGIE’S PREDICTION:

An entertaining open game is in prospect as long as the forecast rain stays away. A hard one to call, but Carterton, on the toss of a coin.

East Coast vs
Masterton Red Star
Whareama 2.35 pm
[Kaleb Rowlands]

East Coast took a big step towards a place in the Chris ‘Moose’ Kapene Cup top six competition with a last-gasp 12–10 win over Eketāhuna last Saturday, and coach Guy Williams wants to build on that with victory over Masterton Red Star tomorrow.

“We’ve worked on getting points from the first three games, and if we can get two wins and points from the Martinborough game, we would be safe,” said Williams, who is wary of the threat posed by the new boys in the premier division.

“Chris Senior is a bloody good coach with those young guys; I think they will be structured and play to their patterns, and that’s what we’re aiming for, trying to break those patterns up.”

Williams added that the Coasties need to improve their ball handling after a fumbling effort last week and “make sure we have a structured attack because we got a bit loose.”

COGGIE’S PREDICTION:

This is a game Stars would’ve flagged as a target game, but whether they’re up to speed yet at premier level is doubtful. The Coasties to take the chocolates but it could be a lot closer than many predict.

Pioneer vs Eketāhuna
Trust House Memorial Park 2.35 pm [Chris Jefferies]

Pioneer could be without their three most influential players because of injury for tomorrow’s clash of the two first-round losers.

First-five/fullback Reece Calkin and midfield linchpin Nikora Ewe are doubtful, while bruising flanker Himiona Haira is out with a shoulder muscle injury that could see him sidelined for several weeks.

Pioneer showed enough in their 48–27 loss to Marist that they have the potential to be top four challenges, although coach Victor Thompson is demanding improvement on defence.

“There are a lot of work-ons, particularly first-up tackles, and if we can get that right and coordinate our defensive line a bit better, we won’t bleed half as many tries,” Thompson said.

Whereas Marist moved the ball freely last week, Thompson said Eke are likely to play for territory and keep it tight in the forwards.

COGGIE’S PREDICTION:

The potential loss of Calkin, Ewe and Haira is a massive blow for Pioneer, but the “blue and reds” still should have enough depth to cover their absence and pick up their first win over Eke, whose last victory was a year ago. Pioneer, but not by much.

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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