Richmond Premier 1st played the Manukau Magpies at Grey Lynn Park. Training this week focused on cardio fitness and line speed off the defence line. A number of Premier grade players had dropped back and with new combinations to be made the Premier grade players certainly wanted to impress to stake their claim back in to the Premier grade. Players included tireless forwards Junior Uale, Willie Uili, Vae Kalolo, Dave Falefitu, hooker Jason Mudgway and outside back speedster Nio Strickland.
With much of the week being wet the game was transferred to Grey Lynn Park field 3. To compound the field change and changes to the foward pack Richmond wanted to start with a hiss and roar to show the Premier 1st competition that Richmond will be a force in 2013. A slow start for the home team meant the half time score was only 24-6. Considering the Richmond team had a ton of experience and Manukau played with only a 12 man team the stern half time talk from coaches Henry Solomona and Jesse Bourke ensured the boys would come out fired up for a big half.
Combinations were much better in the second half where centres James Finlayson scored four tries with his centre partner Nio Strickland scoring a hatrick (3 tries) himself. The effort started from the forward pack who lay a good platform for space out on the fringes and out in the back line. Final score was 70-16 to the mighty Richmond Rovers. Player of the Day was Aaron Unasa who chimed in well at the full back position. Special mention goes to the halves Josh Siaosi and Josh Mana for steering the team around the park with creative kick plays and depth passing games. Both players challenged the Magpies defence line and always questioned the edge plays with great combinations in Finlayson and Strickland.
The Richmond Premier 1st will need all the support they can get next weekend as the team travel to Ngati Otara Park to take on the table topping Otara Scorpions. Kickoff is at 12.45pm