League: Fast, physical Raiders win

The South Pacific Raiders are the 2011 Otago/Southland rugby league champions after beating Wakatipu He Tauaa 50-26 in Queenstown on Saturday.

The Raiders were too physical in the forwards and too fast in the backs for a gallant Wakatipu He Tauaa side.

The forwards, led by prop Ron Muliau and second rowers Josh Housiaux and Jermaine Stone, got over the advantage line well and consistently broke up the middle, allowing their backs to spread the ball wide in their side's 10-tries-to-five victory.

Housiaux was named man of the match.

The trio won praise from Raiders coach David Reedy.

"The boys are extremely proud of their win, because a win in any final, regardless of what it is, is what they train for all year," he said.

The Raiders jumped out to a 16-0 lead in as many minutes with tries from Stone, wing Thomas Te Whaiti-Henry and halfback Louis Tili.

Wakatipu He Tauaa hit back with two quick tries to reduce the deficit to six points before Reedy sensed his side needed urgency, and brought on Housiaux.

Housiaux had an immediate impact when he burst through the defence 20m from the opposition try-line and off-loaded a fine ball to set up centre Jonnie Hughes for the first of three tries.

The Raiders ran in two further tries to lead 30-10 at halftime.

The second half was closer, with the Raiders running in four tries to three.

Housiaux started the half strongly and set up Hughes for his second with a fine offload before Wakatipu grabbed a couple of tries to give it hope.

That was short-lived as Raiders standoff Tamiti Davis broke out from his own half and ran 70m before passing to Te Whaiti Henry, who scored his second try.

Hughes scored his third try late in the game and Housiaux set up centre Jamahl Mclutchie for a try to cap off a fine performance.