The Waitakere Magpies have caused a mighty upset in round five of the Auckland AFL as they defeated the North Shore Tigers by 5 goals at Onepoto Domain. University are now the only unbeaten side left in the competition after a thrilling match against the Mt Roskill Saints which went down to the wire.
At Mountfort Park in Manurewa, Howick claimed their first win of the season after beating the Manurewa Raiders.
Manurewa Raiders vs Howick Hornets
29th September, Mountfort Park, Manurewa.
With Manurewa and Howick searching for their first win, both sides were keen to exert their dominance from the first bounce.
Howick had plenty of the ball early but skill inaccuracy form the Hornets meant that they struggled to get continuity with the football up and down the field.
The Howick defense led by Pete Jones were strong all game limiting any damage that could have been caused by Manurewa as the Hornets defensive line managed to keep Manurewa to their second lowest scoring total this season.
The Hornets midfield worked well on offense and pushed hard on their defensive running.
Fraser Kessling and Jay Green along with ruckman Travis Walker were dominant in the middle using their physicality to win the football.
The Hornets forward line started working together and running leads for multiple forward entries.
Harley Jenkins had a blinder kicking four goals and is becoming a big target up front for the Hornets.
After a slow start, a seven goal third quarter kicked the Hornets clear as the midfield worked tirelessly to provide some great footy into the Howick forward line.
The win now puts them two points out of the top four.
Hornets Coach Ryan White was happy that the Hornets are now on the winners list.
“That was a much needed win if we are wanting to play finals footy.
We have gone from strength to strength which is great for us going into the second half of the season.”
Howick take on University in round 6 and will work hard on looking to get out to a fast start.
Howick: Harley Jenkins, Travis Walker, Pete Jones, Fraser Kessling.
North Shore Tigers vs Waitakere Magpies
29th September, Onepoto Domain, Northcote.
The Waitakere Magpies came into this game with fire in their belly as they looked for redemption from last year’s loss to the Tigers in the Grand Final.
With a focus on their defence, it was the Magpies attacking play which set the scene early as the midfield of Shane Leat and Eugene Hanna dominated the centre clearances.
Magpies forward Ben Hutton put in a big performance at full forward taking some great marks and kicking four goals for the game.
Waitakere stalwart Dan McGregor had another strong game, gathering hard marks in the forward 50.
Strong game from Eugene Hanna gathering multiple possessions and kicking a goal early in the third was running with endless space down the wings.
When the Tigers looked hot on attack, Waitakere stuck to the game plan and kept calm in defence.
AFL New Zealand Premiership player Nick Bailey made his club debut for Waitakere and injected some speed when running out from the backline.
Carlos Donnell-Brown was huge playing in an unfamiliar position of back pocket, but showed his versatility in creating opportunity for himself and spoiling everything that came his way.
The Tigers launched a comeback in the second half of the game but it was the opening two quarters which set up a famous victory for the Waitakere Magpies.
Magpies Captain Shane Leat knows that the hard work is paying off.
“From where we were at the beginning of the season to what we are starting to produce. It gets me excited. As get players back from injury and travels we will continue get better.”
North Shore will rue the loss to the Magpies and will now focus on getting back on track as they face Manurewa in round 6.
Waitakere: Eugene Hannah, Clayton Walters, Ben Hutton, Zac King
University Blues vs Mt Roskill Saints
29th September, Colin Maiden Park, Glen Innes.
It was a clash of the titans at Colin Maiden Park as the two remaining unbeaten sides, University and Mt Roskill went to battle for the first time this season.
With both sides coming off good form and strong results, it lent itself to the tight, physical tussle that ensued.
University hit the ground running right out the gate after kicking the first two goals of the game and putting the Saints on the back foot.
Harison Manks was given the tough job of keeping his good mate James Mackenzie quiet for the day and his abilty to keep James goalless after what has been a prolific goal scoring season for him shows that Harison is one of the best defenders in the country.
The Blues were able to win a fair amount of ball from the middle with Patrick Landy dominating the ruck battle and the strong midfield of Ben Hick, Liam Beattie and Nic Holdsworth managed to keep the ball moving forward.
University’s pressure around the ball stopped Mt Roskill getting any ball movement through the middle of the ground.
The visitors managed to grab a couple back when they got out the back of University with Zach Maio kicking a ripper of a goal.
The Mt Roskill backline kept them in the game, with Hamish Mackay, Tim Hollingsworth, Alastair Maisey and Lachie Stewart holding strong and preventing University from using their midfield dominance to pull too far away.
The Saints started to improve in the second half and started to get more penetration with their ball movement as they had a kick on the 3rd quarter siren to take the lead going into the last quarter but pushed the shot wide for a behind.
The final term was a battle, with neither side able to pull out in front.
Down by ten points with five minutes to go, the Saints had a shot from right in front of goal and hit the post.
University moved the ball quickly and went coast to coast to seal the deal and make it five wins in a row to stand alone at the top of the table.
Blues Head Coach Chris Mundell praised his side’s experience under pressure.
“With only a kick or two in it for most of the game it was great to see our guys use the ball well under pressure and keep cool heads when they attacked. Overall a really satisfying win and one that sets us up for a big second half of the season.”
Saints Captain Sam McKenzie saw positives from the result.
“This was a really good test to see where we are at midway through the season, it was a tough game and University deserved to get the result winning the game through the middle of the field. We will take some big learnings from the game, particularly around how we reacted when things weren’t going our way, which was disappointing.
But, in saying that, after we discussed it as a team at half-time I was proud of how we applied ourselves and got back into the game. With some slightly more accurate kicking here or there could’ve got us in front. Round 10 should be a real ding-dong.”
University: Patrick Landy, Nic Holdsworth, Lachlan Salmon, Harrison Manks
Mt Roskill: Lachie Stewart, Hamish Mackay, Ben Curtis, Zach Maio
Story – AAFL.co.nz
Photo – Avatar Sports Shots