Tasman Makos maul the Mooloos in Nelson
Tasman Makos produced a dynamic performance to post a record 64-28 scoreline over an outclassed Waikato team in their NPC rugby clash at Nelson's Trafalgar Park tonight.
It was their second win over a premiership team this season and the first time in the Makos' brief eight-year history that they'd managed to string three wins together. It also signalled a night of mixed emotions for Tasman lock Alex Ainley who celebrated his 50th game for the province, despite being red-carded by referee Mike Fraser 28 minutes into the second half for a tip tackle on substitute back Niko Malo.
It took just five minutes for Tasman to open the try-scoring when some excellent continuity saw winger Mitchell Scott finishing between the posts after a lengthy build up.
Two Marty Banks' penalties within the space of seven minutes saw the lead swell to 13-0, with a third after 22 minutes stretching them further to 16-0.
Tasman's increasing dominance saw fullback Robbie Malneek scamper in after 26 minutes following more good build up from second five-eighth Tom Marshall, centre Kieron Fonotia and winger James Lowe. Banks' conversion and a fourth penalty success incredibly pushed Tasman out to a 26-0 lead after just 28 minutes.
Waikato finally stemmed the bleeding when hooker Vance Elliott burrowed across after forward pressure on Tasman's line.
But right on the stroke of halftime, a piece of individual magic by Marshall saw him nudge the ball behind Waikato's defensive line and cleverly retrieve his own kick for a 33-7 halftime lead.
It capped a superb first half display by Tasman with the forwards dominating the breakdowns and scrums and their backs showing plenty of confidence in their attempts to keep the ball alive.
Tasman had their bonus-point try just six minutes after the restart, lock Joe Wheeler barging over after more relentless pressure on Waikato's line to put them ahead 40-7.
Denied moments earlier, prop Latu Talakai bullocked across for Waikato's second try following solid work by the forwards on the line.
But Tasman just kept coming, No 8 Liam Squire finishing off a slick short-side attack for their fifth try, with Banks' conversion giving him 100 points for the season and a handsome 47-14 lead.
Lowe then got into the act, equalling Tasman's individual season try-scoring record with his sixth of the season as Tasman passed the half ton at 54-14.
Ainley's red card brought a sour note to the contest for the home side, enhanced minutes later when substitute lock Josh Tyrell crossed for Waikato's third try and a 54-21 scoreline.
The dramatic momentum shift then saw prop Toby Smith score Waikato's bonus point try to give them some consolation.
But Tasman finished in style, flanker Tevita Koloamatangi putting a step on winger Semisi Masirewa to score in the corner before Squire ended the game with his second try.
Tasman 64 (Mitchell Scott, Robbie Malneek, Tom Marshall, Joe Wheeler, Liam Squire 2, James Lowe, Tevita Koloamatangi tries, Marty Banks 6 cons, 4 pens) Waikato 28 (Vance Elliott, Latu Talakai, Josh Tyrell, Toby Smith tries, Trent Renata 4 cons) Ht 33-7.
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