Northern Bulldogs and Eastern Eagles consolidated their top-four standing with Round 9 wins in the CRL Massetti Cup, while Hornby Panthers and Linwood Keas maintained their four-point break on the chasing pack with hard-fought victories.
Northern Bulldogs celebrated their Club Day in style – and moved to outright fourth on the Massetti Cup ladder – with an emphatic 44-4 win over last-placed Halswell Hornets.
Centre Josh Rawiri scored two of the Bulldogs’ eight tries, while fullback Nathaniel Tirikatene finished with a 16-point haul courtesy of a try and six goals. Second-rower Tyler Tirikatene played his 50th premiers grade game for the club.
Goalkicking proved crucial in Hornby Panthers’ 28-20 win over Riccarton Knights at Crosbie, after both teams finished with five tries.
The Panthers led 28-12 at halftime, with James Baxendale converting four of the competition leaders’ five tries. The Knights’ Rikki Bidois scored the only two tries of the second half to complete a hat-trick for the match, but all five of the hosts’ tries went unconverted.
A dominant second-half display from Eastern Eagles thwarted Papanui Tigers’ Club Day celebrations in a 22-4 result.
The third-placed Eagles held a tenuous 6-4 lead at halftime but scored the only three tries after the break to record their fourth win in five games. Front-rower Junior Peneli continued his strong campaign by contributing two tries and three goals to the victory.
Celebration Lions made three-time defending premiers Linwood Keas work hard for a 26-12 win at Linwood Park.
The Keas grinded their way to a 12-0 halftime lead through tries to centre Willie Yeow and second-rower Matt Sauni. But the Lions pulled back to within four points in the second half after Abraham Fonmoa and Rawiri Maniapoto-Pakai scored, before the Keas put the result beyond doubt with the last two four-pointers of the match.
Burnham Chevaliers and Linwood Keas continued their dominant form in the CRL Women’s Premiership with big Round 9 wins on Sunday.
The Chevaliers racked up a 96-12 scoreline against Eastern Eagles, while the defending champion Keas accounted for Celebration Lions 34-4.
CRL MASSETTI CUP MEN’S PREMIERSHIP – ROUND 9 RESULTS
Northern Bulldogs 44 (Josh Rawiri 2, Nathaniel Tirikatane, Vinnie Paul, Keeghan Woolley, Izic Placid, Lucaster Mati, Richard Earl tries; Tirikatene 6 goals) defeated Halswell Hornets 4 (Ben Ferguson try) at Murphy Park
Hornby Panthers 28 (Jordan Campbell, Dene Grace, Jordan Coleman, Corey Lawrie, Damien Papuni tries; James Baxendale 4 goals) defeated Riccarton Knights 20 (Rikki Bidois, Justin Lynch, Seleni Tagicakibau tries) at Crosbie Park
Eastern Eagles 22 (Junior Peneli 2, Peneli Peneli, Lio Faalilo tries; Junior Peneli 3 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 4 (Rudy Faanunumi try) at Papanui Domain
Linwood Keas 26 (Willie Yeow, Matthew Sauni, Jesse Rangihuna, Daniel Hartley, Danny Latu tries; Hartley 3 goals) defeated Celebration Lions 12 (Abraham Fonmoa, Rawiri Maniapoto-Pakai tries; Jope Gaunavou 2 goals) at Linwood Park
MASSETTI CUP LADDER: Hornby Panthers 16 (+212), Linwood Keas 16 (+140), Eastern Eagles 12 (+46), Northern Bulldogs 10 (+106), Riccarton Knights 8 (-16), Celebration Lions 4 (-99), Papanui Tigers 4 (-157), Halswell Hornets 2 (-228)