Athies, Maheno meet tonight

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Athletic Marist will host Maheno this evening, after the match was rescheduled from Easter weekend’s Citizens Shield fixtures.

The game will kick off at 7pm on Whitestone Contracting Stadium’s pitch five.

Athies will be intent on returning to winning ways after relinquishing their unbeaten record to Old Boys last Saturday in a frustrating 53-17 encounter.

Old Boys were dominant from the outset, with lock Paea Ala touching down inside two minutes.

Athies struggled with the shield-holder’s explosive attacking style and found themselves 29-12 behind at the interval.

Old Boys piled on three more tries in the second period as Athletic, with defeat inevitable, turned to trying to scoring a fourth try for a bonus point, but that wasn’t to be.

Athies coach Graham Pitches said last Saturday’s game was physically demanding on his players but hopes they can come back with a win against a struggling Maheno.

“We haven’t trained this week, we’ll have a light run tonight; there was a lot of sore bodies after Old Boys,” he said.

“We got blown off the park in the first 20 minutes. We can’t afford to play like that again this week, we were just really flat, I can’t really explain it.

“Hopefully we’ll get back to doing the basics right and go from there.”

Athies will be without lock Alex Hill after he sustained a shoulder injury last Saturday.

Maheno remain the only side without a win this season, after falling to a demoralizing 45-0 loss to Excelsior last Saturday, but coach Mark Wilson insisted his young side still has plenty of belief and is progressing.

“It’s small steps, they realise that it’ll happen. They’ll get what they deserve in a win – that’ll come,” he said.

“They’re (Athies) always a physical side. Last week was their first loss so they’ll be looking to bounce back from that so we expect a physical encounter and with the imports they’ve got an open style.”

Maheno will be with out Jake Day – the second five-eighth sustained a fractured rib against Old Boys and is expected to be sideline for between four and six weeks.

Outside centre Jon Sinclair is also unavailable with a rib complaint of his own while first five-eighth Michael Hore will be rested for concussion.

Citizens Shield

Friday, May 1: Athletic Marist vs Maheno, WCS 5, 7pm.
Referee; Craig Kingan.
Asst Referees; Nick Webster and Tony Rzepecky.
Athletic Marist; 1 Jamie Rhodes, 2 Joshua Thomas, 3 Sifa Pouha, 4 Ian Cooney, 5 Tevita Fifita, 6 Paea Leohau, 7 Steven Banks, 8 Malu Falapaini, 9 Rory Harries 10 Emanuel Dutack, 11 Francisco Ansorena, 12 Adam Halket, 13 Kasanova Soane, 14 William Saulala, 15 Bradley Kernahan, 16 James Wano, 17 Palenapa Mafi, 18 Toetuu Hausia, 19 Viliami Leo, 20 Etuini Latu, 21 Joshua Julius, 22 Iaone Faaumu.
Maheno; 1 Robbie Richardson, 2 Chris Darby, 3 Kieran Byrne (c), 4 Andrew Fisher, 5 Shaun Taylor, 6 Brenton Scott, 7 Marcus Belchen, 8 Hayden Tisdall, 9 lachie Kingan, 10 Tom Squire, 11 Will Fisher, 12 Russell Bungard, 13 Tim Anderson, 14 Ryan Ruddenklau, 15 Jamie Robb, 16 Grant Donnelly, 17 Chris Stewart 18 Kyle Beck, 19 Riki Chellew.

By James Ford

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Maheno will take to the field against Athletic Marist this evening aiming for their first win of the season. Pictured is Maheno’s Hayden Tisdall on the charge.