We are at the halfway mark of the 2019 Auckland AFL season and in Round 5 the Waitakere Magpies were the big winners with a huge upset over the North Shore Tigers on their home turf at North Harbour Stadium.
In the remaining games, the University Blues showed their class and stormed home to beat the Mt Roskill Saints by 8 goals while out at Howick, the Hornet’s boosted their percentage after notching a 16 goal win over the Manurewa Raiders.
Howick Hornets vs Manurewa Raiders
28th September, Paparoa Park, Howick.
Howick hosted the Manurewa Raiders at Paparoa Park on Sunday and notched their second win of the season with an emphatic 16 goal victory.
It was a fast start by the home side kicking 7 goals in the first term.
Howick ruckman Blake Waters continues to be a revelation in the middle this season as he was winning the taps while new midfielder Brad Martin controlled the centre clearances.
The Raiders came out in the second quarter hungry for the footy. Clayton Hicks and Chris Biggs were performing well off the half back line and the entire team were getting their hands on the footy.
Manurewa kicked 2 goals for the quarter matching the Hornets.
In the the third term, the home side used the wind again to kick away. They were switching the play and were able to move the football well out of contests with a lot of run and carry.
James Mackinder played well up at centre half forward pushing out to the fifty and taking some strong contested marks. Full forward James Dixon also had a good day kicking 6 goal s for the game.
Following the game, both clubs enjoyed the AFL Grand Final in the club rooms.
“It was a much needed win to get our season back on track. Now into the second half of the season we will continue to build.” Howick Head Coach, James Dixon.
“Just not a good day for the Raiders but as usual we got out there and left it all on the field. Can’t fault any of the boys who played hard for the entire game. Still with a few new guys to the team it’s hard getting those combinations working properly but we’ll get there. But great to to see the patches of play when we made moving the ball around the ground seem effortless. Great showings from new guys Danny and Chris. Big thanks to Howick for putting on a great day.” Manurewa Coach, Shane Goodwin.
University Blues vs Mt Roskill Saints
28th September, Colin Maiden Park, St Johns.
The University Blues have flexed their muscles against the Mt Roskill Saints as they strolled home to win by 50 points at Colin Maiden Park.
It is always a ding dong battle between the two sides and it did live up to its name for the first three quarters.
A tough first half saw defense prevail as both sides struggled to get the scoreboard ticking over, despite periods of dominance and pressure.
Ben Hick was at his usual best playing in the middle of the ground. The NZ International continues to show why he is one of the best players in the league as he gets his hands on a lot of the footy and controls the match through smart play and smooth skills.
Hick combined well with Louis Herman-Watt on the wing and Mitch Park who played off the half forward line.
It was the third term where University started to pull ahead, through clean ball movement and going back to playing Uni footy.
Two historic Grand Final moments were relived on such an occasion with our youngest player Mitch Park to run down opponent forcing a forward half turnover reminiscent of Cyril Rioli taking down Mark Hutchings in the 2015 grand final. This was backed up equally by Liam Beattie harnessing the spirit of Heath Shaw as he never gave up and chased down a Roskill forward in front of goal to spoil a certain six points ala Shaw vs Nick Riedwolt.
It was all the home side in the final quarter as they pulled away for a resounding win and have a 2 game buffer over the rest of the competition.
“Always good to get up against Roskill, we are starting to see some of the benefits of what we are training coming together on game day which is always pleasing.” Chris Mundell, University Coach.
North Shore Tigers vs Waitakere Magpies
28th September, North Harbour Stadium, Albany.
The Waitakere Magpies outmuscled the North Shore Tigers with a strong display to spoil the party at the new home ground of North Harbour Stadium.
The round 5 game marked a special occasion for the Tigers as they welcomed their Old Boys to their new ground at Marist Rugby Club. The Tigers are looking to the future with a potential affiliation with the Marist brand in an effort to grow the sport with improved facilities and access to streamlined recruitment with the club.
Choosing to go with the wind to start the game, the visitors wanted to set the tone for the match and get on the front foot.
Inaccuracy again cost the Pies in the first quarter saw them miss 6 opportunities to kick goals but Waitakere were definitely on top.
It was clear that the Magpies were looking to put the physical pressure on the Tigers and they were able to get the ball clear through the midfield.
The Tigers on the other hand were wasteful with the ball in hand, turning it over cheaply. The Magpies started getting the scores on the board and were running away with the game by half time.
Waitakere rookies Jonny Aalbers, Jordan Hearn and Winston Vavaitamana all stepped up in the game proving their worth on the field delivering strong into the forward line all game.
Daniel Mcgregor has been dominant all season for the Magpies, kicking 2 goals for the game and put a dagger in the heart of the Tigers after the siren in the third quarter with a banana kick from the pocket.
A very strong midfield with the welcome inclusion of Will Gregson combined well with Carlos Donnell-Brown to dominate the midfield for the visitors.
Minus some key players, the Tigers were scratching to get the ball forward. There were some promising passages of play from the Tigers but ultimately, being unable to convert this on the scoreboard was the major downfall.
Early in the final quarter, Carlos Donnell-Brown and Dan McGregor kicked a goal each which sealed the game for the Magpies and left the Tigers ruing a big opportunity to seal a top 2 spot on the ladder.
The hero’s of the game for the Magpies was the entire backline who did a huge Job on the Tigers keeping them to a single behind for the first half.
Declan Crann has been a revelation since his move to the backline, he reads the play well and is strong in the air taking multiple intercept marks.
“We talked about going out there and backing ourselves in everything, and we did. Everyone stepped up and did their part to take the victory today. We now need to take this game and back it up week in and week out .” Magpies Captain, Shane Leat.
“Not a great display from the Tigers today – outmuscled by a more determined and effective Magpies team. We’ve hit the mid way point of the season and having played each side, it’s given us a good idea of where we need to be. As we welcome back some of our key players, we’re confident that we can get back some of that form shown in the early rounds. Thanks to Waitak for a great game and for helping entertain the crowds on our Old Boys day.” Dan Pearce, North Shore Captain.
Story – AAFL.co.nz
Photo credit: Avatar Sports Shots