A couple of fairly even clashes and yet another runaway win for in-form Old Boys.
Valley, having a quietly impressive start to the season, staked a claim for second place in the Citizens Shield with a solid 37-20 win over Kurow.
It was not exactly a thumping – scores were tied at the break, and Valley had to rely on a strong finish – but Kurow will be frustrated to end the first round winless.
Defending champion Maheno cemented third spot with an relatively efficient 19-8 win over Athletic Marist in the early game at the stadium.
The main game featured the familiar sight of men in black jerseys running in tries from all areas.
Unbeaten Old Boys capitalised on Excelsior mistakes to win 47-7 and maintain a very useful nine-point lead at the top of the table.
A revived Town-Country clash takes place at Maheno at Queen’s Birthday Weekend. So, let’s play amateur selector, tinkering with positions where required:
Town: Hamish Slater (E), Antonio Misiloi (E), Siosiua Ngalo (OB), Lemi Masoe (OB), Simon Lilicama (AM), Dan Walker (AM), Connor Newlands (AM), Samisoni Tongotongo (OB), Maene Mapusaga (OB), Filipo Veamatahau (OB), Jared Whitburn (AM), Don Lolo (OB), Thomas Shields (E), Unga Kefu (OB), Ralph Darling (OB). Reserves: Timoci Bulitavu (AM), Samuela Kula (OB), Hayden James (AM), Mat Duff (E), Folau Tokai (AM), Terence Fatu (AM), Chris Talanoa (E).
Country: Craig Smith (M), Dean Fenwick (K), Matthew Vocea (V), Lachie Kingan (M), Adam Johnson (M), Brad McKenzie (V), Robbie Smith (M), Jake Greenslade (V), Marcus Balchin (M), Cameron Rowland (V), Braden Barnes (K), Shayle Baldwin (M), Rob Mafileo (V), Hayden Tisdall (M), Kieran Byrne (M). Reserves: Cameron Schultz (V), Meli Kolinisau (V), Harvard Fale (K), Sam Forsyth (K), Chris Jennings (M), Sam Fleming (K), Jason Angland (K).
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Has to be Old Boys midfield back Siosuia Ngalo.
The multi-skilled Ngalo posted an individual haul of 27 points for Old Boys, scoring a hat trick of tries and kicking six conversions.
“We defended quite well but we probably went away from what we were trying to do. We were a wee bit flat, but the boys picked it up in the last 25 minutes. I’d give us a pass mark after the first round. It would have been nice if we’d picked up that opening game against Blues, but we’re quite happy. Aside from the Old Boys game, we’ve been scoring more tries and picking up bonus points, which is good.” – Mike Mavor (Valley)
It is the opening weekend of duck-shooting season and that always means some disruption to the draw.
Kurow hosted Maheno under lights last night, and Valley hosts Excelsior under lights tonight.
That just leaves Old Boys and Athletic Marist to play in the regular Saturday slot at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.