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.
Went along to this today. 43-17 to Harbour. Harbour came out of the blocks firing after conceding the first try to Blake Hohaia. They were up by nearly 30 at the break.
There were no team lists avaible which was poor, so excuse me if I get names etc wrong. This was coupled with the fact Northland played in what looked like training shirts, half of which weren’t numbered.
Northland dominated the second half but never really looked like overhauling Harbours lead at any point.
One thing to note is that all Northland’s super players were rested and Harbour had the likes of Gatland and that Blues back up hooker (forget his name) on deck amongst some other familiar faces.
What really stood out from Northlands perspective was how they got burnt out on the edges time and time again. The back three of Leilua, Hyland and Macilai got turned around by some clever Harbour kicking and were made to look like they had concrete in their boots.
Leilua was caught out of position on several occasions and the wingers were forced infield a lot which created overlaps.
Up front the forwards competed well enough and held their own in the set piece. Was impressed with Hallam-Eames, he’s a monster and got through 80 mins.
A few of our replacements came on and made a difference, particularly Jordan Olsen, he was into everything.
A couple of our big loosies (apologies I don’t know their names, maybe Funaki and Manu) made good yards with the ball in hand too.
Will Grant at 9 is a gutsy little bugger and took some big contact. Was quite impressed with Kerikeris Corey Taylor when he came on, his service was very good. Could be a toss up to see who backs Nock up this year.
All up, hard to judge things on today, we’ve got heaps of firepower to come back so things could change.
One thing we need to work on is the back play. It’s crucial we get things right out in the back three especially as I can see that’s where we will be targeted.
I’m hoping to see a better showing with a stronger lineup against Auckland next week.
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!
@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.
@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.
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.....
What an embarrassment this team is sometimes. We turn with a gale force wind only three behind and absolutely cake it. BOP were below average last night but we still couldn’t ram it home.
Got to wonder why the NRU still accept mediocrity year after year. We should be up there with the other regional teams similar to us, but we still look like a hybrid Heartland/bottom of table championship team most times.
The Waikato game showed a glimpse of what we can achieve on a consistent basis with some good coaches.. and good on field leadership. It’s never been about talent for us, it’s about kicking that laid back Northland attitude to touch for good.
Don’t understand that team to be honest. Yeah we are on a short turnaround etc, but I’d be inclined to put our best available players in there and get them to throw everything into it. Bizarre move by the coaches. It’s like we’re white flagging already..
Can only think some guys are injured, but we’ll never know that as that stuff never gets shared with the fans.