Pirates, Star to contest final

Woodlands halfback Liam Howley. Photo: file
Woodlands halfback Liam Howley. Photo: file
Star and Pirates Old Boys have advanced to the Galbraith Shield final after winning their respective Southland premier semifinals on Saturday.

Top qualifiers Star beat Woodlands 31-21 on Les George Oval.

Star opened the scoring with a penalty before Woodlands scored the game’s first try.

Woodlands had a man sent to the sin bin for the 10 minutes before halftime, which proved costly as Star scored late to lead 17-10 at the break.

The crucial blow came straight after the resumption when Star scored again. The favourites got out to a 31-7 lead before Woodlands scored two converted tries.

Woodlands coach Richard Jones said the game was a good contest.

"We had a good dig and played a bit of footy but they’re a strong side and deserved the win."

Halfback Liam Howley was Woodlands’ best and fullback Kynan Stowers-Smith also put in a quality 80 minutes.

Howley had missed most of the season due to a hernia and Stowers was coming back from a dislocated shoulder.

Winger Drew Carter and No8 Cole Williams also played well.

Woodlands were without Stags prop Paula Latu and No 8 Blair Ryall after they were ruled out with minor injuries.

Jones was proud of how his squad performed this year.

"We had a good group, plenty of young guys. We had a ton of injuries but everyone stepped up."

The second semifinal was also played at Oreti Park on Saturday between Pirates Old Boys and Eastern Northern Barbarians.

A quality second-half performance from Pirates Old Boys led them to a 26-18 win.

First five Greg Dyer scored the game’s first try from close range but the Barbarians soon took charge.

Midfielder Angus Simmers penetrated the defence and lock Woody Kirkwood earned plenty of lineout ball.

Halfback Connor Collins and winger Sheamus McGuigan scored tries and a penalty to Ben McCarthy put the Baabaas in front 15-5 at halftime.

McCarthy kicked another penalty straight after halftime before momentum swung. Pirates Old Boys dominated territory and possession, forcing the Baabaas to give up penalties.

Replacement forward Ben Keenan scored in the corner and a penalty from Dyer reduced the margin, 18-13.

Blindside Dusty Coveney barged over for a converted try and Dyer kicked a penalty and a drop goal to round out the scoring.

Barbarians coach Bretton Taylor said his team was outplayed in the second half.

"There was no lack of effort but we struggled to exit cleanly and made a lot of tackles — our loosies tackled to a standstill.

"We are disappointed but that’s footy."

By John Langford