Early Showdown Points to Women's Final
Early Showdown Points to Women's Final
Counties Manukau Stingrays and Akarana Falcons may already have staged a final preview at the NZRL National Women’s Tournament in Rotorua.
And the champion Stingrays reached the end of Day One as the only unbeaten side (4-0), looking reasonably comfortable in their title defence.
Playing for the Bobby Vercoe Trophy, the Falcons gave their southern rivals plenty to think about through the opening half of their second-round encounter, leading 10-4 at the break.
But, loaded with Kiwi Ferns internationals, the Stingrays simply wore their opponents down with acombination of speed, skill and power, led by veteran fullback Sarina Fiso and powerful forward Teuila Fotu-Moala down the stretch.
They piled on 24 unanswered points to emerge 28-10 victors and showed they will be tough to beat this weekend, barring injury. Even then, their depth of talent should prove difficult for their challengers to handle.
The Stingrays finished the day with four wins from as many outings, piling 42 unanswered points on winless Canterbury as dusk fell, with Kiwi Fern Maitua Feterika grabbing a hat-trick of tries.
If Counties look assured in their progress, Akarana may still have done enough to promote themselves ahead of the chasing pack, with a tense 12-10 win over last year’s runners-up Central Vipers.
The lower North Island team also entered their third-round meeting unbeaten, but fell behind 12-0 by the break. They rallied strongly and had a chance to draw even down the stretch, but could not convert their second try.
Falcons wing Anita Berry picked up a hat-trick for her side’s only points and that was enough of carry the decision at the final siren.
If a dark horse is to threaten the three front-runners, it could be the Auckland Vulcans development side, whose only lapse was also against the Stringrays.
They must still face Falcons and Vipers, but if they can sneak past, that could be enough to steal a spot in Sunday’s final.
The key encounter on Day Two looms as the rematch of last year's final between Stingrays and Vipers, with the Central side probably needing an upset to keep their hopes alive.
Puketawhero Park, Rotorua
Friday, September 26
Akarana Falcons 26 (Laishon Jones, Va'nessa Molia-Fraser, Emma Cairns, Crystal Tamarua & Amber Hall tries; Jones 3 goals) Canterbury 0; HT: 10-0
Counties Manukau Stingrays 34 (Josephy Daniels, Maitua Feterika, Amber Kani, Langi Veainu, Kelly Maipi, Louisa Gago & Teuila Fotu-Moala tries; Kimi Nati 3 goals) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 0; HT: 20--0
Central Vipers 30 (Tori Lavao-Araia 2, Krystal Murray 2, Gordjah Yates & Talia Poutini-Lawrence tries; Potini-Lawrence 3 goals) Wellington Orcas 0; HT: 18-0
Auckland Vulcans 14 (Kirsty Rapana, Kylie Porter & Leshayne Blair tres; Iriana Huriwai-Sasula goal) Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions 6 (Esther Ashin try; Jamie Tautari goal); HT: 10-0
Counties Manukau Stingrays 28 (Sarina Fiso 2, Lileta Maumau-Pinomi, Teuila Fotu-Moala & Rona Peters triies; Laura Mariu 4 goals) Akarana Falcons 10 (Anita Berry & Teasha-Lee Leka tries; Laishon Jones goal): HT: 4-10
Central Vipers 24 (Kristina Sue, Krystal Murray, Shasasa Isaacs, Rkki Rawleigh & Te Aroha Hunt tries; Murray 2 goals) Canterbury 8 (Bunty Crowe & Karita Agafili tries); HT: 20-4
Counties Manukau Stingrays 36 (Amber Kani 2, Jocephay Daniels, Te Aroha Hapuku, Kelly Maipi, Cammy Ball & Rona Peters tries; Laura Mariu 2 goals) Auckland Vulcans 4 (Kirsty Rapana try): HT: 14-4
Wellington Orcas 34 (Shayna Kidwell, Sieni
Mose, Agnes Faramo, Elaine Mikaere-Akavi, Kulaea Lea & Molly
Maligi tries; Acacia Te Iwimate 4 & Faraimo goals)
Stallions 0; HT: 12-0
Akarana Falcons 12 (Anita Berry 3 tries) Central Vipers 10 (Shasa Isaacs & Sita Kuruyabaki tries; Talia Poutini-Lawrence goal); HT: 12-0
Auckland Vulcans 8 (Christyl Stowers & Elvea Faingaa tries) Wellington Orcas 4 (Sieni Mose try); HT: 4-4
Counties Manukau Stingrays 42 (Maitua Feterika 3, Langi Veainu 2, Kimi Nati, Lilieta Maumau Pinomi & Teuila Fotu-Moala tries; Rona Peters 5 goals) Canterbury 0; HT: 14-0