Steamers v Auckland

    1. Aidan Ross (16)
    2. James O’Reilly (14)
    3. Jeff Thwaites (16)
    4. Troy Callander (18)
    5. Keepa Mewett (29) – Captain
    6. Tom Franklin (7)
    7. Hugh Blake (15)
    8. Jesse Parete (15)
    9. Richard Judd (6)
    10. Mike Delany (68) – Vice Captain
    11. Joe Webber (6)
    12. Terrence Hepetema (14)
    13. Lalakai Foketi (25)
    14. Monty Ioane (17)
    15. Chase Tiatia (21)

    16. Sabastian Siataga (11)
    17. Jordan Lay (4)
    18. James Lay (5)
    19. Tyler Ardron (4)
    20. Baden Wardlaw*
    21. Luke Campbell (11)
    22. Elijah Nicholas (12)
    23. Isaac Te Aute (16)

    Great to see Wardlaw involved. A good hard working lock who has worked his way up through club rugby.

  • Probably about the best team we can put out in the circumstances, would prefer Franklin in the locks but we're short of loosies and he's doing a good job. First choice backline which is good news.

  • Strangely for a Bay team, we look a little weakened in the tight 5. A saving grace for us may be that Auckland look to be as well. Loose trio starting to gel. backline again looks handy. Seems strange for an Auckland side to be underdogs - that worries me a bit. They must click at some point this year. Of course - another 'must win' game for us.

  • I'm not sure you could say we are favourites....The TAB has us as comfortable underdogs but they have proven to be wrong many times this year.

    Oddly it seems that Wardlaw may have possibly been replaced by Stowers in the reserves.

    It may be a little to early to start predicting final semifinal positions but simply to say we have to win every game. Wellington does look odds on to take top spot but The Bay is still in the hunt for a home semi.

    God, it would be good to beat Auckland at Eden Park again. Does anyone know if we have won there since the 04 Shield challenge ?

  • Going to say no, could be wrong but don't think we have beaten them at this venue since Tupai lifted the shield...

    We do look weaker without Franklin, but no Tuipoloto to balance hopefully. Still even with form of both teams a big ask to win here.

  • Three seasons under Clayton McMillan, and the backline still looks just as disjointed on attack.

  • Just seem to build and build and turn it over...

  • RIght the comeback is finally on, just another 31 points to go!

  • Now down to 24 points to scramble the draw.........

  • And another try cuts the gap to 19 points, sadly just a few minutes to go. Still there is a chance of a four try bonus.

  • A bloody frustrating game... the last flurry of tries at the end only serving to show what might have been...

  • That was pathetic !!

    That was probably the weakest team Auckland has fielded for years. BOP looked like a poorly coached rabble who were lacking ideas and a decent game plan(s). With all that territory and pocession (and even when the opposition were down a man) they never really looked like winning.

    The union needs to take a long hard look at this teams performance since McMillan and Gibbs have been in control. We deserve better.

    The only good thing to come from this is that there is no real chance of promotion and probably no chance of making the playoffs so no nerve racking time watching important games.

    I feel better having got that off my chest.

  • I know there are fans of Chase Tiatia on here, but I’m not seeing it this season.

    It beggars belief that in Monty Ioane we have one of the most elusive backs in the competition, but year after year the backline manages to look so unthreatening from set play.

  • Even Monty makes a lot of errors Don, I enjoy watching him though. Chase is coming back from a serious knee injury and the mitre 10 schedule doesn't help, I suspect if he is around next year he will be back to his best. Would love to have the flash back on the other wing though.

    Would love a bit more bulk in the back line to get over advantage line easier.

    In saying all that, if we make a few first up tackles early today and I doubt it blows out so much. Even in the glory days we didn't have big backs but we didn't miss many tackles and tackles that were made, were felt.

  • Yes, that was very disappointing. Started from the kick off receipt - next minute, 17 - 0! That just gave them confidence and we were trying to play catch up (identical to when we got bashed by Wellington).

    I am not a Chase Tiatia fan - couldn't get a gig with the Chiefs and seems to have returned worse. Not sure the 'return from injury' excuse carries - he has been playing all this NPC season. Plenty of other players get through it - in fact all of them do at some stage.

    We are still not out of it - but need someone like Northland to drop their bundle these last 2 games. Even if we manage to squeeze into the 4, we are unlikely to progress. A lot of blame must sit with McMillan but he took us a hell of a lot further than Schuler!

  • After so many years of it, and even after the forwards have been bashing away for a while, the backline still manages to end up passing behind each other so there is no fluency - plus of course everyone panics when the tryline is close.

    Can't really see us winning at Otago next week and no play-offs if we don't - unless HB manage to win in Northland - but we may be able to relegate Waikato on the final weekend ....

  • @kiwipie That made me laugh Kiwipie! It would indeed be nice to have the power to demote Waikato (almost as pleasurable as winning the Championship) but, given last weekends performance, is doubtful.

  • @bayimports Re: Chase Tiatia, he also played for the Chiefs vs the British & Irish Lions, so I’m not sure how long return from injury buys him. (I thought his bad injury was in 2016?) Isaac Te Aute is a very promising alternative.

  • Serious knee injuries can take up to 18 months to get your old speed back. Look he may also never return to his best, that is also possible. I would like for his sake though that he does.

    After watching that performance from the Bay, there were many disappointing performances. While tackling appears optional most of the team needs to roll up their sleeves.

  • Agree bayimports - bit harsh to blame Chase altogether. We were very disappointing across the park. Most games this year, perhaps Wellington aside - we have been competitive.

    I am not sure why, but we have had very poor exits this year. Straight from the kick off against Auckland, Judd threw a wobbly pass - next minute we are down 7 - 0. I am not sure why that seemed to knock us so hard in the ass - but it got worse from there. We really needed to convert when attacking close to their line before half time, but we just seemed tentative. No one was willing to make the play - all seemed to be waiting for someone else.

    I am not sure where we go from here. Is it coaching, selection, player group... buggered if I know? We have our fair share of injuries, but probably fared better than most other squads. We have probably the best 2 players in the squad entering (or re-entering) this year in Franklin and Delaney. All to no avail.

    I know the team bused up to Auckland on the morning of the game? Why? Why would we do that? There is culpability at all levels for this season. Not sure where we head to from here...

  • God, its hard to guess what is wrong with this team. The fact that we will probably not even make the play offs, let alone get promoted, means its a worse season than last year.

    At the start of the year the coach publicly stated that "there was no excuses...the team had been settled for a year or two and they had the personal to get promoted." So what happened ?

    Most people agreed that there were several issues from last year :- 1) Problems in the backline. 2) Inconsistent performances. 3) Failure to close out close games. 4) Better kicking.

    Its probably fair to say that all those issues have been improved on but not eradicated. Statisticly we have improved in most areas but I'm wondering what can be read into statistics.....Manawatu for instance are dead last across both divisions for the number of carries, metres run and defenders beaten and are second to last in tackle success rate but are above us on the table.

    What irks me most this year is how we have been unable to capitalize on advantage. Take the Auckland game where we had a 68% advantage in possession and a 72% advantage in territory yet got soundly beaten. The second thing is mistakes. Much of the Auckland trys came from simple mistakes by the Bay. And lastly is the failure of certain players to perform. Much has been talked about with regard Tiatia who was dangerous a couple of years ago but has been almost invisible this year. A handful of players have shone but many haven't...

    Sadly a season that started with high expectations will stutter to an end soon. I wonder what excuses will be made by the admin and what changes will come next year.

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