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.....
All I heard during the off season was a bunch of dribble about our new flash facilities etc, all good and well to a small degree, but obviously player development and recruitment was left well down the list.
Bar a couple of signings announcements I heard nothing about how the Taniwha were building to go one better than their runner up medal last year.
Looking at some of the players tonight and it’s quite clear they are well out of shape. This showed in the second half when we just dropped our sacks. Heaps of guys were hobbling around too which usually comes down to bad conditioning coupled with heavy contact, not a good combo.
I’m sorry to say but this lays on all those off the field - coaches, managers, CEO and support staff. Some tough stuff will have to be said from the top and some big decisions made if our season spirals out of control.
As for the game, Naki thoroughly deserved their victory after that second half effort, they showed patience and made their phases count. They look a capable team this year and are my early favourites for promotion.
As for us, well, absolute garbage would be about it. Show the jersey some respect and play like you’re capable. We have the cattle, but it seems the cattle are way under prepared and have rested on their laurels after last years lofty heights.
Just because I like banging my head against a brick wall we need to suck it up and call Matty Matich, get him in there ASAP!
Drop Hohaia to the Bs and bring in Kalani Going. Hohaia needs a baby leash on him and someone needs to yank it every time he rushes out of the line. So frustrating. He puts so much pressure on those around him. I dare say Gregory wouldn’t have had the shocker he did had he had Tua beside him the whole game.
Manus red card cost us, and Nock going off didn’t help. Oh how we miss big Red too!
Impressive were the likes of Nock, Hallam-Eames and Rob Rush, those dudes did everything you could ask in a pretty shit situation.
@chiefy07 yep Nock would have been a massive point difference for us yesterday, whilst he probably wouldn’t have changed the result the margin could have been significantly lower.
Just shows with a team like ours we can’t afford to lose one or two quality players. We have no depth coupled with average selections from the coaches, that’s a concoction for disaster.
Our union seems to be making most of its noise off the field with new facilities etc etc, but we’re still lacking where it counts and that’s building depth and getting our recruitment and retention right. I still hold hope we can be successful like other unions our size, but shit I’d like to be still alive to see it!! And I’m not that old yet.. 😂
@canes4life crowds are definitely down over the whole competition, but if you were to compare numbers Wellington would have to be right near the bottom. I know most of the non big city provinces generally get good attendances.
Porirua would be my choice for Wellington to be based. Having played for North’s for a couple seasons when I lived down there I really did notice how much the people of Porirua get in behind their teams. Petone would be my second choice as I played there too! 😂