Top sides all set for showdown

The Marist Dragons and Waitara Bears posted wins last weekend in the Taranaki Rugby League premier grade competition setting up a top- of-the-table clash at Clifton Park in Waitara on Saturday.

Marist are unbeaten and lead the points table on 14, two points clear of Bears, with next on eight points ahead of Hawera Hawks (2) and the Coastal Cobras yet to get on the board.

Marist were made to work hard by a committed Western Suburbs Tigers side in an absorbing match at Ngamotu Domain last Saturday.

Ten minutes into the first half Tigers impressive centre Sione Sifa was sinbinned for a shoulder charge.

This led to Marist taking their opportunity to open the scoring through a well taken try to centre Isaac Hekenui. Dylan Hall kicked the conversion and shortly after scored to put the Dragons out to a 12-0 lead after 20 minutes.

The Tigers continued to toil hard particularly through their forwards and were rewarded for their efforts when centre Ramsay Glasgow scored in the corner. James McSeveny slotted the conversion to make it 12-6 which remained the score at halftime.

The second half was more of the same with both teams desperate to keep their lines intact with strong defence and big hits.

The Tigers were unlucky not to close the scoreline early in the second half but failed to finish their opportunities. The Tigers defence cracked allowing the Dragons two cross twice in quick succession to lead 22-6 with 15 minutes left on the clock.

The Tigers hit back and scored a classy try to close the score to 22-12, while Marist were down to 12 players with Cody Martin in the bin for punching.

Hall capped a fine game with a well taken drop goal with minutes remaining to finish the scoring.

For Marist Dragons, Hall kicked and ran well while Hekenui looked good scoring a brace of tries. In the forwards, evergreen prop Andrew Castles was a handful with ball in hand, until he left the field injured, and Jason McKay defended and ran strongly.

Western Suburbs best players were young centre Ramsay Glasgow who capped a solid performance with a try, while half James McSeveny kicked and directed play well.

In the forwards Bevon Derbyshire and Ritchie Bower were outstanding and worked tirelessly all game.

In the other game Waitara Bears 52 defeated Coastal Cobras 26 at Opunake and the Hawera Hawks had the bye.

Scorers: Marist Dragons 23 (Isaac Hekenui 2, Dylan Hall and Teu Cash tries; Hall 3 goals and field goal) Western Suburbs Tigers 12 (Ramsay Glasgow, Travell Ngatoko tries; James McSeveny 2 goals.

STANDINGS P W D L PF PA Pts M Dragons 7 7 - 0 333 78 14 Waitara Bears 7 6 - 1 249 102 12 WS Tigers 8 4 - 4 192 224 8 H Hawks 7 1 - 6 124 288 2 C Cobras 7 0 - 7 108 314 0 --------------------

Taranaki Daily News