Richmond Premier 1st played the Papatoetoe Panthers at Kohuora Park in Papatoetoe. Training this week focused on tightening the defence around the ruck area. Knowing the Panthers boys from South Auckland would be a tough task to contain the team had to rely on backing each other up on attack and getting numbers in on tackles in an attempt to slow the opposition play the ball.
A number of Premier 1st players were promoted to the Premier grade after strong displays and with a few key injuries in the Premier squad the boys would have a big task to support our Premier team. Players included: centre Nio Strickland who played in the Premier second row and metre-eater prop forward Logan Wright.
The game was played in warm conditions with a strong breeze which hooker Josh Mana took advantage of with his deep kicking game. Papatoetoe hit out early with strong carries and quick play the ball to take them to an early 12 point lead. Richmond finally got in to the game after 10 minutes exposing the weak Papatoetoe mid field defence. To the Richmond teams benefit prop forwards Hans and Kennedy set up a great one two hit up combination in the mid field to create momentum and space for back rower Josh Tui and two tries scorer Toleafoa (Foa) Leaupepe. In support loose forward and captain Bronson Harden ran solid lines and assisted in the engine room when required. Richmond hit back with two tries before Papatoetoe muscled up again.
Richmond sustained constant pressure in their own 20 metres when Papatoetoe were handed 6 consecutive sets through ill-discipline, penalties and drop ball. To Richmond’s credit the team stuck solid and backed each other on defence frustrating the home team. Richmond went in to the half time with another try scored to late in the half to take the lead 14-12 to Richmond.
Down to a three man bench with second rower Josh Tui injuring his shoulder Richmond dug deep to sustain any pressure from the Papatoetoe side. Richmond hit out with strong hit ups from forwards Uala Toamakam, Tere Strickland and interchange prop Fia. The score blew out 36 -14 to Richmond before a late consolation try was scored in the dying minutes. Final score: 36-20.
Player of the Day was Toleafoa Leaupepe and Josh Siaosi.