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On Saturday 5th April Richmond Premiers played the Northcote Tigers in the first round of the 2014 Fox Memorial Shield competition. The weather was perfect, the fields were in pristine condition and no doubt everyone was eagerly excited to get the Round 1 game under way. Richmond captain Karl Simeti was a late exclusion with the birth of his second child allowing utility player `Harry Vete to be named on the interchange bench.
Richmond however did not start the match off on a good note with a ball going to ground from kick off. Richmond showed glimpses of skill and courage throughout the first half but threw away valuable ball possession and field position with rookie like penalties. Late in the first half starting hooker Damon Niko was put in the sin bin for a professional foul and stand in captain Siliga Kepaoa joined him shortly after (ill-discipline). Richmond went in to the half time break with having had two players in the sin bin and behind on the score board 18 -10.
The second half showed the visiting Tigers were more committed to tackles with attack in numbers and appeared to be more determined to grind out a win against the home team. Northcote scored a number of long range tries which put them in the winners circle for week one, 48-16. Opposition hooker Sam Cook scored three tries on the back of a good Tigers forward platform.
Coach Ming Mafoe will want to look at areas that are of concern including the ruck area and defence line speed if there are going to be improvements moving forward.
This Saturday the Richmond Premiers play Mangere East Hawks at Walter Massey Park at 2.30pm. The team would appreciate your support as they travel away for a much needed win to begin their 2014 Fox Memorial Shield Competition campaign. Bite Em Bulldogs
BULLDOGS GRAB THE CUP
A hard-fought rugby league grand final win for the Richmond Bulldogs sees them crowned 2013 SAS Sharman Cup champions and promoted to next year's Fox Memorial Shield.
The Bulldogs capped off their centennial year with an 18-14 win over the Otara Scorpions after a cliffhanger finish in front of a 1500-strong crowd at Henderson's Trusts Stadium on Saturday.
Both teams fully deserved their place in the final after a long and hard season.
The Bulldogs came into the final after a strong performance in the semifinals against the Scorpions, trouncing them 34-22.
The first try of the day came in the fifth minute courtesy of Bruce Tusa who put through Tagisia Fulutusi for the Scorpions.
Toleafoa Leaupepe went agonisingly close but the desperate Scorpions defence held out - until a rampaging Hector Purcell bulldozed over to give Richmond their first points.
Steve Watkinson converted and Richmond were up 6-4. Richmond seemed to get a second wind and with only 10 to go in the first half went over again down the left flank after quick hands had Marcus Auva'a ground the ball under pressure.
Another Watkinson conversion had Bulldogs up 12-4 at halftime.
In the second half the Bulldog's Bronson Harden was held up in goal to be denied a try.
This gave Otara their first opportunity of the half and James Tulikaki crossed to give the Scorpions their second try, making the score 12-8 after a missed conversion.
Richmond did not have to wait long for their next chance and when the Bulldogs kicked early and caught Scorpions' winger Tagisia Fulutusi out of position, the Bulldogs found themselves hard on attack. From there an early tap by Watkinson had him find his opposites napping and he managed to plant the ball to extend the lead to 18-8 after converting the try.
With three minutes remaining Scorpions' five-eight Leiloa Lafaele crossed and with a successful conversion it was 18-14 to the Bulldogs with a minute to go.
From the kickoff Otara missed the ball and it went out for a line dropout.
The Scorpions gained possession and broke away downfield but an Otara grubber failed to find its man and the ball was cleared for the Bulldogs to win 18-14.
SAS Sharman Cup Grand Final Results:
Richmond Bulldogs 18 (12) V (4) 14 Otara Scorpions.
Team list: Meke Unasa, Mafola Timaloa, Debarres Neemia, Marcus Auvaa, Edwin Pita, Steve Watkinson, Josh Siaosi, Hector Purcell, Jason Mudgway, Toleafoa Leaupepe, Ben Seve, Siliga Kepaoa, Karl Simeti. Tama Guthrie, Joe Alesi, Hans Leauanae, Harry Vete.
Richmond started with a hiss and roar with two early tries to winger Mafola Timaloa. The forwards were strong with juggernauts Toleafoa Leaupepe and Hector Purcell smashing up the mid field with strong prop carries.. Tireless captain Karl Simeti was courageous with his early hit ups and tackles. The left edge was kept busy with Marcus Auvaa and Ben Seve containing the attacking Otara backs. The halves combinations formed well to get early ball out to the backs spreading the Scorpions mid field. In one instance Hector Purcell made a mid field line break and gifted his partner in crime Toleafoa a try in front of the post.
Co-Captain Joey Alesi showed great resolve to help his forward pack playing from the front row. In the end Otara were outplayed by a more passionate and determined Richmond team. No doubt Otara will come back firing but first they take on Papatoetoe in next weekends elimination semi final. Player of the day - Mafola Timaloa with two tries. His post try celebrations would have all members proud.
Richmond Premiers thank all our Richmond supporters that came out to support them out at Ngati Otara Park. Well done to our Richmond Premiers and much thanks to the coaching staff and Richmond families. There is one more game to go. We want all Richmond supporters at the Sharman Cup Grand finals on August 17th at the Trust Stadium.
Half time score: Otara 16, Richmond 14.
A nail biting 15 mins to go with Otara 20, Richmond Premiers 28.
8 mins to go Otara 22, Richmond Premiers 30.
34 - 22 Richmond over Otara
Full time score to Richmond Premiers top class today took it to Otara final score 34 -22 an awesome win.
We are off to the 2013 Sharman Cup Grand Final.
The Richmond Premiers are the talk of the competition after their excellent start to the season.
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
Premiers game kicks off at 2.30
Richmond Premiers number 8 (Hector Purcell) opens the scoring. 6 - 0
Eagles hit straight back off the kick off with a bust up the middle from number 7. 12 - 6
Richmond (Jason Mudgway) reply with a try out of dummy half, no conversion. 12 - 10
Another try for Richmond (Tama Guthrie), conversion missed. 12 - 14
With one in the bin for Ellerlsie, Richmond (Karl Simiti) grab a try just before half time. 12 - 26
Richmond (Karl Simiti) in again right next to the post. 12 - 20 to Richmond.
Richmond (Edwin Pita) first to score in the second half. 12 - 32
Ellerslie hit back with a long range effort. 18 - 42
Richmond (Edwin Pita) reply with a try in the left corner. 18 - 46
Ellerslie touch down in the opposite corner. 24 - 46
Richmond (Harry Vete) in again. 24 - 50
Full time Ellerslie Premiers def. by Richmond Premiers 24 - 50
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PREMIER 1ST TEAM