From Tasman Rugby League

On a cloudy day on Saturday Wairau Taniwha hosted the Victory Phoenix at Oliver park in Blenheim. Will the Taniwha be able to reverse their 36-12 defeat on opening day back in April, the difference being this time they have home ground advantage.

For the first half the Taniwha were playing with the advantage of a noticeable tail wind. Hoani Tauwhare opened the scoring for Victory with a sweeping move down the right side attack following a Taniwha dropped ball from a 20m restart. Tana Pounui scored a try for the Taniwha with Dalton Mckinney kicking the first of his three goals. The Taniwha lead 6-4.

The teams again traded tries in what was to be the pattern for the rest of the game. Fabyan Noonan scoring for Victory and Isiah Mischeski scoring for the Taniwha to make the score 10-all. Ray Roebeck scored for the Taniwha to give them a 6 point lead at half time of 16-10.

Michael Bates scored from close range to give the Taniwha a 12 point lead early in the second half. Julian Kereopa scored for Victory to narrow the margin down to six points. The lead for the Taniwha was restored to 12 points when their second rower Ryan Craig went on a 60 metre solo run to score by the posts.

Victory levelled the game with tries firstly to Tainui Parata and secondly to Laman Fa’auli who ran 20 metres through the Taniwha defence straight from a penalty tap with about seven minutes to go. With the scores tied up the hunt began for the elusive drop goal to take the lead. Victory had one unsuccessful attempt. With time almost up on the clock Victory were penalised for obstruction. From the ensuing set of six Taniwha worked their way to the Victory tryline where they too were penalised for obstruction.

So in the end, time beat both teams and the game finished up at 28-all. Julian Kereopa was player of the day for Victory and Tanie Turnball was player of the day for the Taniwha. What a great game.

Thanks to all the volunteers who make the game possible namely the match manager and officials and the people who set up the field and pack it down after the game.

Next week’s game sees Motueka Tigers host Victory Phoenix at Cooks Reserve in Riwaka. Kick off 2.30pm. Hope to see you all there.