27 February 2021
A late surge saw Auckland Blue beat Central Districts 34-18 in the opening round of the NZRL National 20s at Opaheke Sports Park.
After trailing 18-12 at the break, Auckland Blue fought back with four second-half tries to record victory.
Earlier Central Districts prop Memphis Hennessy opened the scoring after just two minutes, before Auckland hit back via Stanley Iongi and Samuel Hansen.
But Central Districts didn’t go away and hooker Wyatt So-otaga sliced through defence to score on the 26th minute followed by another four-pointer to Kayin Katene to give them an 18-12 lead at half time.
In the second spell the momentum shifted when co-captain Zyon Maiu’u burrowed over on the 46th minute, before Iongi crossed for his second to extend the lead to 24-18.
Minutes later Maiu’u crashed over again, followed by a try to Mangere East’s Junior Moli to secure victory.
Halfback Caleb Laiman was excellent off the boot, converting all but one try.
Auckland Blue will play Wai-Coa-Bay at Rotorua International Stadium in Rd 2 next Saturday.
Auckland Blue 34 (Stanley Iongi x2, Samuel Hansen, Zyon Maiu’u x2, Junior Moli tries; Caleb Laiman x5 conversions) def. Central Districts 18 (Memphis Hennessy, Wyatt So-otaga, Kayin Katene tries; Brooklyn Herewini x3 conversions) at Opaheke Sports Park.