Crucial second-round match for Kurow tomorrow

The second round of the Citizens Shield will start tomorrow.

Kurow, lying in fifth place, and just five points ahead of bottom-placed Athletic Marist, lines up against Old Boys At Whitestone Contracting Stadium at 2.30pm.

It is a crucial fixture for Kurow, which made the final last season.

This season, Kurow has had only one victory, over Athletic Marist. But it has chalked up 13 tries in the first five games despite not always being able to win consistent ball in attacking positions.

That has hindered its ability to supply consistent possession to the backline led by Tyler Burgess, Ben Nowell and Jesse Porter.

Old Boys won the first-round game between the two, 29-10, scoring five tries to two after bolting out to a 24-0 halftime lead.

Excelsior, boosted by a 25-7 win over Old Boys a fortnight ago, should have the edge on the No2 ground although Athletic Marist showed improvement when losing 44-19 to Kurow last week.

The game of the round appears to be at Weston Park where home team Valley lines up against second-placed Maheno. Only one point separates the sides on the competition table.

Valley has a formidable forward pack which has dominated its opposition to date.

Maheno beat Excelsior 30-22 last week, showing it is beginning to build in confidence.

Both teams have solid defences. In the first round both sides scored 24 tries. It may be a matter of tight defence which will give the winner the edge.

Valley has a powerful front row in Meli Kolinisau, Sam Sturgess and Logan Dunlop and an efficient loose trio in Cameron Rowland, Junior Fakatoufifita and Jake Greenslade. Glen Sturgess is a capable halfback. Matt Vocea is effective at centre.

Maheno is on the rise.Josh Clark, at No8, is mustering an energetic pack while the backline has proved to be very effective.

It will have to overcome the absence of halfback Robbie Smith for a period in the middle of the season, as he heads overseas, but it should have sufficient depth.

The match between Athletic-Marist and Excelsior has been pushed back to 4pm to accommodate work commitments.

Dunedin referees James Doleman and Stu Curran are making the trip up the road.Doleman is set to take charge of the match between Old Boys and Kurow, and Curran will officiate between Valley and Maheno.

North Otago referee Nick Webster will be the man in the middle for the match between Harbour and University at Watson Park.

 - Terry O'Neill

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