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Richmond Rovers Premiers vs Papatoetoe Panthers
Date played: Saturday 6 April 2013
Venue: Grey Lynn Park
Coach: Ming Mafoe / Rob Vai / Mark Michaels (Trainer) / Molly Foai (Manager).
1. Meke Unasa 2. Mafola Timaloa 3. Savi Hafoka 4. Aaron Nootai 5. Edwin Pita 6. Harry Vete 7. Tama Guthrie 8. Hector Purcell 9. Jason Mudgway 10. Vae Kalolo 11. Tafoafoa Sipley 12. Siliga Kapaoa 13. Karl Semiti (Capt) 14. Willie Uili 15. Ben Seve 16. Junior Uale 17. John Mana
A human tunnel was formed to welcome the Richmond Premiers onto the field for the first home game of the 2013 season. A capacity crowd and the radiant sun proved to be positive indicators for the game ahead against 2012 Sharman Cup finalists, Papatoetoe Panthers.
No truer words were said than ‘Defence wins games’.
While the Rovers defensive line remained solid, the first signs of a weakening Panthers defence came nearly 20 minutes in the game with ex Vulcans player Aaron Nootai scoring on the left wing, opening what was to be a wave of tries.
The poor handling skills of the Panthers were far from their winning 2012 form, with a myriad of errors allowing the Rovers to race away to a 26-0 lead at half time through tries to Toafofoa Sipley, Junior Uale, Savi Hafoka and Aaron Nootai again.
The Rovers continued the second half with the same intensity and momentum with Siliga Kepaoa surging ahead a clear 30 metres to score between the posts converted successfully by Harry Vete. Five minutes had not lapsed before Captain Karl Simeti busted through the flailing Panthers defence to score, and Toafofoa adding a further 4 points to the board shortly after.
Guarding the line after three consecutive defensive plays, the impenetrable Richmond wall came down 65 minutes into the game after the Panthers hit back.
Harry Vete donned his golden boots to successfully slot a total of 8 conversions. Final score: 56-8 Richmond Premiers.
Richmond’s captain Karl Simeti was inspirational for the home team forcing several turnovers with his confrontational defence. Another stand-out for the match was Junior Warriors player Toafofoa Sipley who led the hitup count in attack with 13 hit ups earning him the player of the day award.
Coach Ming Mafoe was pleased with the result though is determined to see a reduction in the error rate.
Next game : Sat 13 April 2:30pm, Moyle Park. vs Manukau Magpies