Champions take on Linwood Keas in big premiership clash

Daniel Hartley scores for Linwood against Halswell. PHOTO: ABRAHAM ATHERTON
Daniel Hartley scores for Linwood against Halswell. PHOTO: ABRAHAM ATHERTON
A familiar foe has effectively hung up the boots but Hornby will still face a significant thorn in their side when the reigning Canterbury Rugby League premiership champions face an arch-nemesis on Saturday.

Linwood Keas can no longer rely on the nuance of Andrew Auimatagi in the halves as he now plays reserve grade, but the return of playmaker Daniel Hartley shapes as a major obstacle as the Panthers seek to bounce back from an opening round loss to the Northern Bulldogs.

A key player as the Keas beat Hornby in four successive grand finals from 2016 to 2019, Hartley took a break as Linwood continued their winning sequence against the Northern Bulldogs in the 2020 before the Panthers ended their torment last August.

Hartley’s return against the Halswell Hornets was impressive, and influential as the Keas edged last season’s preliminary finalists 19-18 on the back of their player of the day.

He was clutch down the stretch, snapping the deadlock in the 80th minute with a coolly taken field goal at Halswell Domain.

Hartley, who played the 2020 and 2021 season with the Eastern Eagles, also scored a try in each half, including a 68th minute leveller.

“He gives us a lot of experience especially when it’s a tight game,” said Linwood coach Iuma Mulitalo.

“He’s an awesome replacement for Andrew.”

Linwood, who celebrated Alani Kakoi’s 100th game for the club in appropriate fashion, also continue to extract excellent value from captain and prop Alex Todd, who clocked up his 163rd appearance.

Mulitalo was looking forward to another tough clash with Hornby.

“It’s always going to be a battle. They’ve got a younger team but they’ve still got an old head like Corey Lawrie guiding them around,” he said.

The Bulldogs engineered a 16-10 upset of the defending champions at Murphy Park with a first half double to wing Matty Clough establishing a double-digit lead a the break.

Fullback Zinzan Martin scored on his return to the Panthers after a stint in North Queensland, but a four-pointer from lock Javahn Togiaso gave the Bulldogs enough breathing space in spite of wing Christian Fetu crossing to trim the margin.

The Bulldogs are now intent on building their momentum against the Riccarton Knights, who were 30-22 winners over the Eastern Eagles.

Last season’s improving Celebration Lions started their schedule in style with a 58-12 win over the Papanui Tigers.

CRL Premiership round 1 results:
Northern Bulldogs 16 Hornby Panthers 10; Linwood Keas 19 Halswell Hornets 18; Celebration Lions 58 Papanui Tigers 12; Riccarton Knights 30 Eastern Eagles 22.
Round 2 draw (all Saturday 2.45pm)
Eastern Eagles v Celebration Lions, Wainoni Park; Papanui Tigers v Halswell Hornets, Papanui Domain; Linwood Keas v Hornby Panthers, Linwood Park; Riccarton Knights v Northern Bulldogs.

A last gasp try to the latest in a long line of Flynn’s to represent Sydenham enabled the club to maintain their unbeaten start to the season through a pulsating 33-26 victory over New Brighton.

It took a wicked bounce from a hopeful downfield kick in the final minute at Rawhiti Domain for Sydenham to regain possession and then launch a raid down the right flank which culminated in Seb Flynn diving over in the corner thanks to a sharp step and cut out pass from Derrick Stowers.

High School Old Boys are also unbeaten three rounds following a tight victory over Shirley while Lincoln University avenged last season semi-final defeat to champions Marist Albion with a strong second half performance highlighting a 45-17 triumph.

Lincoln University spearhead the trio on maximum competition points through a positive differential of 148, 103 clear of HSOB.

Sumner, who host Sydenham on Saturday, got off the mark against cellar-dwelling Belfast, the University of Canterbury also celebrated their first win of the season at Linwood’s expense while 2021 runners-up Burnside’s woes continued with a 20-0 defeat to Christchurch.

Burnside now face the ominous task of playing Lincoln University; HSOB strive to keep their impressive start to the season going against Marist Albion. 

Christchurch Metro Premier third round results:
Sumner 36 Belfast 17; Christchurch 20 Burnside 0; HSOB 39 Shirley 33; Lincoln University 45 Marist Albion 17; University of Canterbury 39 Linwood 28, Sydenham 33 New Brighton 26.

Lincoln University 15, HSOB 15, Sydenham 15, Marist Albion 10, New Brighton 10, Christchurch 8, Linwood 6, Sumner 6, University of Canterbury 5, Shirley 2, Burnside 0, Belfast 0.

Round 4 draw (all Saturday 2.45pm):
Burnside v Lincoln University, Burnside Park; Linwood v Christchurch, Linfield Park; Belfast v New Brighton, Sheldon Park; Sydenham v Sumner, Sydenham Park; HSOB v Marist Albion, Bob Deans Field; Shirley v University of Canterbury; Burwood Park.

Wellington Phoenix fan favourite Paul Ifill scored his first goal as player-coach of Christchurch United as the Southern League leaders built their positive goal differential with an 8-0 drubbing of Nomads United.

Ifill, 42 scored United’s penultimate goal after joining the rout as a 72nd-minute substitution at Tullet Park on Saturday.

United opened the scoring in the fourth minute through Matt Todd-Smith and also finished strongly with three goals in a seven-minute spree near the end of regulation.

At the opposite end of Ifill’s age and experience spectrum, 16-year-old Jordan Cole capped his senior debut – as a second half substitute with the final goal, via the penalty spot, in the 89th minute.

Cashmere Technical, who still have a Covid-19 catch-up game to play, are the other unbeaten side thanks to a comfortable 4-1 win over Green Island in Dunedin.

Selwyn United boast the fourth best goal differential in the 10-team league at -2 but find themselves second last after conceding late to share the points – and eight goals – with Mosgiel AFC.

A Daniel Ede brace appeared to secure the three competition points but Cody Brook and Matt Kelly both scored in added time.

Fortunately for Selwyn United, the boot was on the other foot in a Covid-19 catch-up game on Anzac Day, with Coastal Spirit conceding in added time through James Martin and Ede to squander a two-goal lead.

The next slate of fixtures is not likely to affect the top of the table with Christchurch United hosting Selwyn United in tomorrow night’s round-opener while Cashmere Technical take on Coastal Spirit in the final match on Sunday.

Southern League 5th round results:
Ferrymead Bays 2 Coastal Spirit 2; Selwyn United 4 Mosgiel AFC 4; Nomads United 0 Christchurch United 8; Nelson Suburbs 3 Dunedin City Royals 0; Green Island 1 Cashmere Technical 4; Coastal Spirit 2 Selwyn United 2.

Christchurch United 15 Cashmere Technical 12, Nelson Suburbs 9, Ferrymead Bays 7, Coastal Spirit 6, Mosgiel AFC 4, Dunedin City Royals 4, Green Island 4, Selwyn United 3,Nomads United 3.

Round 6 draw:
Christchurch United v Selwyn United, Christchurch Football Centre, Friday 7pm; Ferrymead Bays v Nelson Suburbs, Ferrymead Park, Saturday 12pm; Dunedin City Royals v Nomads United, Football Turf, Saturday 12.30pm; Mosgiel AFC v Green Island, Memorial Park, Saturday 2.45pm; Coastal Spirit v Cashmere Technical, Linfield Park, Sunday 2.45pm.


Carlton Redcliffs carry winning momentum into the Canterbury Hockey’s men’s and women’s premier league’s after they won their finals of the Porritt Cup knockout competition against Marist on Saturday.

The men kept their nerve during a shootout following a 3-3 stalemate, three players hit the target while Marist’s trio were all astray while the women’s team prevailed 3-2 thanks to a brace by Jenna-Rae McIntyre and Sophie Nation.

HSOB/Burnside are the reigning men’s Champions Cup holders are upsetting Carlton Redcliffs last September while women’s defending champions Harewood open their season with a bye.  

Premier League round 1 draws (all Saturday):
Men: Harewood v University of Canterbury, Nga Puna Wai,12pm; Hornby v Avon, Mainpower Waimakariri Turf, 12pm; Marist v HSOB/Burnside, St Bede’s College, 1.30pm; Southern v Carlton Redcliffs, Nga Puna Wai 3pm.
Women: HSOB/Burnside v Marist, St Bede’s College 12pm; Avon v Hornby, Mainpower Waimakariri Turf, 1.30pm; Carlton Redcliffs v Southern, Nga Puna Wai, 4.30pm; Harewood bye.

Local trusted journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Star Media journalists and photographers continue to report local stories that matter everyday - yours.

For more than 152 years our journalists have provided Cantabrians with local news that can be trusted. It’s more important now than ever to keep Cantabrians connected.

As our advertising has fallen during the pandemic, support from you our reader is crucial.

You can help us continue to provide local news you can trust simply by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter