20 March, 2021 | ARL
Auckland Blue remain unbeaten at the top of the NZRL National 20s ladder after beating Auckland White 30-14 on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue side trailed 10-8 at the break before producing a dominant second half showing which saw them cross for four tries and concede just one, to ensure the local derby went their way.
Fullback Ali Leiataua was among the stars for Blue, scoring the first and last try of the match and shutting down countless opposition raids with his defensive play at the back, while in the pack skipper Zyon Maiu’u was immense once again.
After Leiataua opened the scoring around the 20-minute mark, Auckland White hit back via Maddison Tekeu before both sides traded tries, first through Maiu’u and then White centre Julius Patelo.
The boot of Doux Kauhiva was the difference at the break, with his conversion of Patelo’s try giving White a two-point lead going into the sheds.
But it didn’t last long into the second stanza, with Howick’s Lonnie Papani scoring minutes after the game resumed and Soakai Taufa converting for a 14-8 lead.
Peter Uelese then scored to tie the game at 14-all, but from that point on it was all Auckland Blue.
Albert Fifita broke free down the left edge before looping around to score under the posts, with Taufa again converting, before Marist hooker Stanley Iongi burrowed over and Leiataua got his second to push the scoreline out.
Auckland Blue 30 (Ali Leiataua x2, Zyon Maiu’u, Lonnie Papani, Albert Fifita, Stanley Iongi tries; Soakai Taufa x3 conversions) def. Auckland White 14 (Maddison Tekeu, Julius Patelo, Peter Uelese tries; Doux Kauhiva 1 conversion) at Opaheke Park.