This week saw the first look at the Motueka Tigers as they started their 2018 campaign. There had been talk about a struggle for numbers, but that was certainly not evident by the side that travelled to Blenheim to take on Wairau Taniwha on their home ground of Oliver Park. Taniwha are always strong at home and there was a good crowd of supporters on hand to cheer on both teams. It was great to see so many young families on the sideline supporting their teams.
The Taniwha who were on their second game of the season kicked things off with Tana Pounui crossing twice followed by Tyler Aldridge before Ben Kelly for the Mot Tigers put some points on the board for the visitors. Tana showed us why he was player of the day and crossed a third time, followed by Cairo Adam-Walsh and Ryan Craig also dotting down for the Taniwha. Half time score: 24-6 to the Taniwha.
Motueka Tigers coach Roy Wattie obviously had a chat with the boys at half time as Sootaga Pani scored soon into the second half, with Taniwha responding with Fetu Ieremia getting on the score sheet. The ever dependable and very talented Sam Hedges, who was impressive with his strong running, crossed for the Tigers. The Taniwha pushed again and Meki Iatausili, Mel King and Taine Turnbull all crossed the line, before Luke Raharuhi finished the game off for the Tigers with another try for the visitors.
Full time socre: 46-18.
For the Taniwha, outstanding forwards were Tana Pounui (hat trick and player of the day) and Ryan Craig who was selected by the Tigers as having a awesome game. Jordan Hika & Cairo Adam-Walsh worked hard for their first hit out. In the backs the two new guys Tyler Aldridge & Taine Turnbull impressed in the back line with probing runs, both were rewarded with a try a piece. As usual the experienced players Jason Garlick, Fetu Ieremia, Phil Roberts, Ray Roebeck and Joe Asiata formed a solid platform for the new recruits to be blooded in.
For the Mot Tigers, the experience of Sam Hedges, Hayden Smith and new comers Elia Miatiakibau and Ben Kelly proved their weight in gold, bringing a strength to the team that will certainly grow as the season develops. For their first hit out, it was an impressive Motueka Tigers who took to the field and we look forward to watching their progress as the season continues.
This week sees Victory Phoenix hosting Motueka Tigers at Lower Ngawhatu. This will be Victory’s first home game at their new home ground. Kick off 2.30pm. Make sure you get along and support the teams.