Stowers is out but Sea Eagles hopeful
The Papakura Sea Eagles are confident they can get by without the kicking game of standoff Williams Stowers in their Fox Memorial Trophy semifinal against the Glenora Bears at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.
Stowers, 23, will be in a cast on the sidelines after breaking a leg in three places and dislocating his ankle in the Sea Eagles' 22-12 win over Marist Saints in the preliminary semifinal at the Birkenhead War Memorial Park last Saturday.
The injury was so serious it need surgery. It held up the match for nearly an hour while an ambulance crew treated Stowers and took him to hospital.
Coach Darrin Smith says the loss of Stowers will affect his team.
"Our kicking game revolves around William, so we may struggle a little without him. At this stage Henry Dunn and Honeti Tuha will share the kicking duties.
"William has been one of our form players. It's disappointing that he can't be with us for this important match."
Eliakim Uasi will stand in for Stowers. The 32-year-old Tonga international brings plenty of experience to the halves.
A Mangere East Hawks junior, Uasi played for the Counties Manukau Jetz in the old BarterCard Cup competition and for the Auckland Vulcans.
He recently returned from Australia where he played for the South Logan Magpies in the Queensland Cup. He is capable of playing at hooker or in the halves.
The semifinal against Marist went ahead after an appeal by the Pt Chevalier Pirates was rejected by the New Zealand Rugby League judiciary last Friday night.
The Pirates had sought to be reinstated as semifinalists after an Auckland Rugby League judiciary kicked them out of the Fox for bringing the game into disrepute after their 102-0 defeat by the Marist Saints on July 28.
Smith and his Sea Eagles were on tenterhooks awaiting the appeal and its outcome. He knew they were in the semifinal when Pt Chevalier coach Grant Pocklington phoned him late on Friday.
"He called to wish us well against Marist," Smith says.
Glenora, who were beaten 20-12 by minor premiers the Mt Albert Lions in their semifinal last Saturday, have had the wood on the Sea Eagles this season.
They've beaten them twice but there has never been more than four points in it. They won the first match 34-30 and the second 16-14.
"We've come close but we've never beaten them this year," Smith says.
"This is no time to doubt ourselves. We have to remain positive. They going to be tough to beat but I'm confident we have the game to match them. They've got a big mobile forward pack but if we can complete our sets we will build momentum."
The Papatoetoe Panthers and the Otara Scorpions will contest the Sharman Cup semifinal.
The minor premiers were thrashed 36-6 by the Mangere East Hawks while the Scorpions eliminated East Coast Bays 24-18.
Both semifinals will be played on Mt Smart Stadium No 1 on Saturday.
The Sharman semifinal kicks off at 11am and the Fox semifinal follows at 2.30pm.