Hornets looking to fly into Canterbury league premiership semi-final

Photo: Canterbury Rugby League
Photo: Canterbury Rugby League
Halswell put one hand on a semi-final berth with three weeks of the Bartercard NZ CRL men’s premiership regular season remaining, courtesy of a come-from-behind victory on Saturday. Meanwhile, the battle for fourth spot tightened up after Celebration, Northern and Eastern experienced contrasting fortunes in round 11.

A dominant second-half display saw Hornby Panthers retain their unbeaten 2021 record and top rung on the Massetti Cup ladder. The Panthers and Bulldogs were locked 10-10 at half-time at Leslie Park, but the hosts powered away to a 32-14 win with four tries after the break.

Experienced centre Will Tafua bagged a double, while brilliant young fullback Sincere Harraway made it eight tries in Hornby’s last six games with yet another four-pointer.

Linwood Keas maintained their position two points adrift of the Panthers with a five-point break on the rest of the field, but the defending champs were made to work hard by a gallant Eagles outfit.

Eastern led early before Linwood clawed back to lead 14-10 at halftime. The Keas ultimately prevailed 24-20 after a gripping second half. The Eagles sit in sixth spot, just two points outside the top four but with an unflattering points differential.

Third-placed Halswell opened up a four-point gap to the chasing pack with a 34-28 win over Riccarton at Coronation Park. The Hornets trailed by 12 at halftime but rallied superbly to take out a thrilling contest.

The heart-breaking result means the seventh-placed Knights, who have three wins on the board, must win their remaining three games and hope other results fall their way to scrape into the playoffs.

Celebration leapfrogged Northern into fourth place on for-and-against via a comprehensive 50-6 defeat of winless Papanui Tigers.

Halfback Jordan Wawatai racked up 22 points from two tries and seven goals, while front-rower John Lima also notched a brace as the Lions went on with the job after building a 28-6 halftime advantage.

BARTERCARD NZ CRL MEN’S PREMIERSHIP RD 11

  • Hornby Panthers 32 (Will Tafua 2, Sincere Harraway, Eti Collins, Caleb Murphy, Charlie Charlie tries; Murphy 4 goals) defeated Northern Bulldogs 14 (Patella Tou, Ethan Plaskett, Cameron Godfrey tries; Josh Endacott goal) at Leslie Park.
  • Celebration Lions 50 (Jordan Wawatai 2, John Lima 2, Taniela Leka, Tipazo Aukustino, Kalolo Tuuu, Reuben Watson, Shayde Turner tries; Wawatai 7 goals) defeated Papanui Tigers 6 (Anaru Donnelly try; Jacob Clarke goal) at Papanui Domain.
  • Linwood Keas 24 defeated Eastern Eagles 20 at Ngā Puna Wai.
  • Halswell Hornets 34 defeated Riccarton Knights 28 at Coronation Park.

ISC SPORT CRL CANTERBURY CUP

TOP SIX
Marist-Papanui 35 defeated Linwood Keas 6 @ Ngā Puna Wai.
Northern Bulldogs 20 defeated Hornby Panthers 12 @ Leslie Park.
Halswell Hornets 30 defeated Shirley Hawks 16 @ Halswell Domain.

BOTTOM FOUR
Burnham Chevaliers 20 defeated Ashburton Barbarians 16 @ Coronation Park.
Woolston Rams 56 defeated Eastern Eagles 16 @ Woolston Park.

-By Will Evans

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