By Tasman Rugby League
It wasn’t the best of days weather wise for the Semi-Final between Victory Phoenix and Motueka Tigers but the crowd were entertained by some great league from two very determined teams. Both teams were vying for that final spot in the Grand-Final next week against Wairau Taniwha. Coming into this game, Victory had won twice, Motueka once and they had a draw so it was anyone’s game, and that was how it was for the first 15 minutes or so.
Both teams see-sawed backwards and forwards and came close, but neither team could quite get across the line, until Jeff MacDonald slid across for Victory. He then picked up his second, followed by Hamish Matthews whose hard work on the wing was rewarded. Jeff converted all three tries to give a half time score of 18-0 to Victory. The second half saw Motueka Tigers speedster Mitchell Duncan-Jonas take an aerial pass, sprint for the line and touch down. Was this going to be the turning point in the game?
Unfortunately Motueka suffered a few injuries with one of their talented youngsters Denym Antonievic leaving the field early in the first half injured, and a few short on the reserves bench, made it a hard ask for the Mot boys. But they never gave up, they kept going, but Victory then got on a bit of a roll with Johnny Delore (2x), Caleb Tauwhare, Tainui Parata and Troy Wilson all crossing for Victory.
Final score: 42-6 to Victory Phoenix who now move into the Grand-Final.
Both teams worked hard, with Motueka Tigers Michael Walsh making 43 tackles, while Sam Hedges was brilliant with his speed and skill, along with Jason Rangihuna who was strong in his running. Ben Kelly had a brilliant game and the whole Motueka Tigers team should be congratulated on a brilliant season back in the the TRL league competition after a few years away.
For Victory, Freedom Walker, Jeff MacDonald, Rikki Swain and Steve Ephia all had strong games along with Jason Kaisia. Their forward pack worked hard, their defence was strong and they should be congratulated on the win.
It was a great game and thanks to Jack, Eric and Tony as match officials and Josh for doing match manager. Also thanks to Angela Hellewell who took some brilliant photos which we have uploaded to the Facebook page.
Next week is the Grand-Final:
Wairau Taniwha vs Victory Phoenix
Champion Green, Richmond
Who is going to get the trophy? All will be revealed on Saturday.