Auckland B beat Northland B 40-5.
Couple of late changes just announced for Auckland. Blake Gibson and Harry Plummer out. Choat and Deangelo Someone-a-rather into the starting lineup.
I will by no means get carried away with that result today, as there's still a long way to go, but from what I witnessed I must say Northland look way better than we have in the past two years.
The thing that stood out for me was our set piece has improved tenfold. the lineouts worked like clockwork, and the scrum was dominant. Harbour had an absolute nightmare with our pack today, we were far more organised and aggressive.
Was really impressed with the communication as well, everyone was in unison and had a good understanding of what each other was doing.
Yep it was pre-season, and yep both sides were trying new things, but if Northland keep building from this performance I think it will be a pretty successful season.
Our first two tries were well worked from the forwards, it was a pick and go attack for the first one, with some good work close to the line, and the second was very similar. from there the backs had there turn with some well worked moves along the chain which culminated in meat pies!
Individually I had several stand-outs. Josh Goodhue was my man of the match, the guy played the whole 80 and was still running at full steam at the end. His defence was top notch and he was a sharp shooter in the lineout, took everything coming to him. He's in for a big year.
I was really impressed with our new Scotsman, Murray Douglas, the guy is a beast, very aggressive and great in the contact. To all the 'locals only' guys, I challenge you to find someone better running around up here right now. Yep there maybe guys that'll be good in the future, but right now, he's our best fit.
Out wide Tamati Tua and Matty Wright had solid matches, as did Rene Ranger after a bit of a shaky start. Sam Nock better be ready for a lot of minutes this year, as under him I'm not sure about Macleod, I would have preferred Matt Markwick there..
Our two first fives had decent games too, Hawkins was solid in the first 40, and Breen was solid in the 2nd. Breen takes the battle by a whisker though..
Other mentions go out to the like of Mike Faleafa, Namatahi Waa, Matt Matich, Jack Ram, Blake Hohaia and Kara Pryor, all were right in the thick of it. Faleafa made some brutal runs.
Tactically we were far more efficient than Harbour, our outside-in defence choked them all day and they had no answers. Their tries were opportunist, and came from our errors.
For them I thought Volavola was their best. Former Taniwha Shane Neville played ok too, not a bad effort.
Wow, where was that performance all year? Bloody stoked to finish on a good note.
The one glaring thing for me was that game just showed why we should have had Gregory at 13 all season. His work on D really impressed me the most. Otago tried their hardest to gas the outside channels, but Gregory plugged it up with his pace. Gutted we wasted so much time with Johnson there.
The forwards were all on the same sheet today, was particularly impressed with Olsen, Temo and Byrne. I like the look of the new Fijian flanker too, hopefully we sign him up for next year.
Hopefully that was a little glimpse of what our whole season might be like for our centenary year next year.
Fingers crossed everyone is fit and healthy for 2020 so we can have a better campaign with our best available players!
@Steven-Harris great to catch up today!
Today was such a contrast to last weeks match, for me the huge difference was the fact Harbour had the likes of Li, Duffy, Stevenson and Parsons back in their lineup. Those guys made a huge difference for them. On today's evidence they should make a reasonable impact on the Premiership.
For Northland, as Steve said, we started well enough. I thought we were going to give them a torrid time as we had them camped in their territory for the first 20 odd minutes.
From there it came unstuck, we were trying too much and seemed to be kicking possession away way too much.
My thoughts on good performances echo Steves, so no need to delve into that side of things.
I still think with a 10 day break we'll put the Steamers to the sword come Sunday, I like the look of this squad, and with three quality players still to arrive I think we'll be humming!
So glad we went down there and did the business. Stoked with how ruthless we were. The foot never came off the throat despite a reasonably high error count. Can only imagine what the score would have been if we'd cut those errors. 60-70 maybe??
Pretty hard to pick men of the match, but to me Ranger and Jack Goodhue were outstanding. In fact that whole backline really stood up. How much has Jordan Hyland taken strides since he's been part of our set-up?? He's not the quickest dude, but he's a clever footy player and uses his size well... It's odd to think he sometimes can't even make the match day 23.
Phil Kite and Ross Wright seamlessly slotted into the front row as well. Loving this depth!!
Gotta feel a bit for the old banjo pickers down south, it seems as though it'll be a long season for them, but hey, we've been there, so time to have a bit of sun on our backs for once.
On to Waikato now, we'll be brimming with confidence. Hope the injuries are minimal however. More ruthless attitudes next week fellas!!! We got this.
@nzzp And if the ball gets past D'Angelo Leuila.
This has been one of most frustrating things the last two weeks. Leuila and Ruru need to understand the talent they have outside them.
Leuila looked a million bucks against us, what happened?
Oh hang on, it was against us..yep, we make a lot of average players look the goods.
Clap clap for the handicapped. Well done Northland rugby, you’ve done it again. Just when things look rosy you go and shit in your nest. Congratulations
So that’s both 10’s, Ranger and Alaimalo now. Sounds very much like there could be more unless the NRU run an appropriate damage control operation. By the sounds of this saga they couldn’t run a piss up in a brewery.....
@Chiefy07 agree that Cooper should start. How much better has our backline functioned the last two weeks with him at the helm. I couldn’t give a shit if he’s inexperienced and too quiet etc, he’s got some swagger and like all good 10’s, he has time. BS call from the coaches in my humble opinion.
HB this is yours to lose, don’t fuck it up now...
I’ve officially given up trying to work out some of these selection decisions. I guess we just roll with it and see what happens.
Either way, I hope we lift tomorrow and put that performance in that we are capable of. Haven’t seen anything from us since the Taranaki game.
@taniwharugby did any one question the ref for that obstruction that lead to one of their tries? Didn’t look like it from what I could see, and that’s been the big issue with our leadership. Get in the refs ear and persuade him to have a look. Other skippers do it so well.
Prime opportunity to pump Auckland wasted with some absolute cabbage play. Fucking pissed.
Bonus point is a consolation and much needed, but hell we need to step up big time for Waikato next week.
Why sub Nock? He should have stayed to help close out,he was by far the best on the paddock today for us.
Usuals (Red, Kara) plus Kalani Going for me. Going looks solid and dependable. Nothing flash but has good hands and solid defence. Lock him in the 12 shirt I say.
Like to see a change around this week. Gregory needs to come into 13 in place of Ranger. If Hyland is fit, get him in there. Brady Rush looks interesting, give him a nudge at FB maybe?
Johnny Cooper needs a start at 10. Hawkins still plays way too much behind the advantage line and stymies our attack.
Have guys like Ranger and Hawkins on the bench, you may see a change in attitude when they come on.
The pack is going good, wouldn’t change anything up there..