PLAYOFFS LOOMING: Hawks Claw Morrinsville Bulls

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Te Awamutu Sports Firehawks premier rugby league team defeated Morrinsville Bulls 44-24 at Albert Park on Sunday. The sunny weather allowed for an open running game which entertained the supporters of both sides.

The Kirstie McGrail sponsored Firehawks took command in the first half, shooting out to a 28-6 lead. Their attack and solid defence paved the way for tries to Isaac Howell, Henare Raukawa and Zekeyl Aperehama. Raukawa converted all but one of his shots at goal. Morrinsville were restricted to one converted try.

The second half was more even — Morrinsville lifted their defence and made better use of the ball when on attack. World Cup Bill Tuavaii began the scoring for the Firehawks, finishing off a blindside attack from a scrum 20 metres out.

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Morrinsville replied quickly with a try of their own to trail 32-10. With 15 minutes to go Firehawks’ fullback, Brent Sargent, intercepted a pass deep on defence and had the pace to go 95 metres for a try under the posts and convert himself to give his team a 38-10 lead. Morrinsville scored again for a 38-14 scoreline after 70 minutes.

A solo effort try by Kuta Ratima, from halfway, saw him beat three defenders along the left hand touchline. Raukawa converted for a 44-14 lead. Morrinsville had the last say, scoring two tries and converting one to complete the scoring. “I thought our first half effort was sublime limiting Morrinsville to just the one try,” said Firehawks’ coach, Kane Rangitonga.

“Our attack, led by the strong go forward momentum of our forwards, was supported with strong running and controlled ball movement to ensure set completions. “Our finishing was also impressive allowing us to run in five tries.” The Firehawks have two more games before the play offs.

“We will need to maintain pressure for the whole 80 minutes if we want to make it to the finals and have an opportunity to win back-to-back Waikato Rugby League Championships,” says Rangitonga. The Firehawks are currently lying third behind Hukanui and Taharoa.