Excelsior again turn tide in second half

Old Boys first five Inoke Fisilau helped his side beat Athletic Marist 46-37 last weekend for...
Old Boys first five Inoke Fisilau helped his side beat Athletic Marist 46-37 last weekend for their first win of the season. PHOTO: NIC DUFF
When I die, bury me in an Excelsior jersey, because I might just come back.

For the second straight week, Blues put in a big second-half shift to keep their win streak alive, this time against Maheno.

Playing on Thursday night to accommodate players duck-shooting, the green machine held a 15-12 lead at the break.

The tide turned rapidly in the second half as Blues scored 26 unanswered points to run away with the game 38-15.

It was the second straight game in which Blues blanked their opponents in the second 40.

Excelsior head coach Jason Forrest was very happy to get the job done against a "very good, very gritty Maheno" side.

"We did some good things [in the first half] and then we just did some silly things at the same thing.

"[We] went out at halftime and just changed a couple of things, made a couple of changes and we got into our work."

Blues have now conceded only seven points in total across its past three second halves.

"Defence wins comps," Forrest said.

"When we do the little things well and we play at the right end of the park, we can create."

He was really impressed with loose forwards Samu Babiau and Apenisia Tuiba.

Replacement prop Mateo Qoliesse made a "big difference" off the bench, Forrest said.

"He changed the game for us up front.

"He’s got that little bit of experience about him. He came on and scrummaged well — his skill set is phenomenal."

The midfield combination of Matia Qiolveu and Oli Knopp also had a good day out, he said.

Kurow hosted the other match on Thursday night and scoring was the name of the game as Valley and the Red Devils ran in a combined 10 tries.

Holding a two-point lead at halftime, Valley ran in two tries to start the second 40 that put them in the driver’s seat.

Each side traded tries in the final quarter as Valley chalked up their second straight win, 40-24, while Kurow remain winless.

Old Boys and Athletic Marist collided in the only game played on Saturday.

The clash did not disappoint, as Old Boys clocked up their first win of the season in a physical, high-scoring battle, beating Athies 46-37.

Old Boys had a horror start, however, as Athies scored two quick tries, the second of which came from a charged-down kick, to jump out to a 14-0 lead.

Shrugging off the slow start, Old Boys clawed their way back and a try to captain Kelepi Funaki just before halftime had them ease ahead 24-20.

They were in again just after the break as Athies’ poor discipline meant Old Boys could chew off easy metres by kicking to touch.

The lead was extended again as Old Boys pulled off one of the best tries of the season after first conceding a penalty.

Athies took a quick tap and were off running.

As they tried to shift it wide, Mavaetangi Finau intercepted and galloped off to the other end.

He found Inoke Fisilau on his outside.

Fisilau was tackled but, just as he was heading into touch, he flicked it back inside to Finau, who scored his second try of the game.

Athies had to score next and they did, recovering the ball straight from the kick-off, eventually leading to Paea Fifita crashing over.

Fisilau and Hateni Tafolo traded penalties to set up an exciting final 10 minutes as Old Boys held an 11-point lead.

Any hopes of an Athies comeback win were quickly squashed when a quick throw-in went awry and was scooped up by Harrison Campbell who scored.

A late consolation try to Fifita, to complete his double, did little but reduce the deficit slightly.

Fisilau and halfback Tini Feke starred for Old Boys, while Funaki anchored a dominant scrum throughout the game.