by Julian Lee – GreyStar ( 29/05/2013)
South Westland’s 29-0 victory over Wests on Saturday at Cass Square was a comfortable one, but you can’t help but feel they were not playing at their standard premium.
Wests, meanwhile, who suffered from a complete lack of communication between players, nonetheless played a fairly clean, straightforward game — perhaps a sign they may be starting to tidy up their play.
In the first five minutes of the game, fearsome South Westland loosehead Rob Wilson made a serious run, leading to a breakdown from which halfback Sam O’Malley stole the ball.
O’Malley chipped and chased the ball perfectly, before off-loading it to winger Colin Scott, who scored a try in the corner.
Five minutes later another signature South Westland offensive, probably their most redeeming play this season, made mincemeat of the Wests backline and soon Kieran Harris, playing fullback for the first time this season, nabbed south’s second try.
Wests soon picked up their game, however, and managed to hold off South Westland for the rest of the second half, even beating them back with a few well-played offensives of their own. But South Westland’s superior co-ordination and some star plays by their first-five
Devon Matheson held off Wests to leave the half-time score at 10-0, despite a last-minute attack by Wests’ enormous centre, Mason Duyvesteyn, who almost took out half of South Westland’s forward pack.
The southerners started the second half with a great drive forward, and repeated attacks helped centre Nathan Blackburn to score his second try of the season, which was converted by Matheson.
A third offensive in the 53rd minute was held off by Wests right on the tryline for a good five minutes, but the pressure was too much. No 8 Josh Hill was pushed over the tryline while he was buried under a breakdown, putting the score at 22-0.
Unlike the first half, South Westland really started dominating in territory and possession. Cory Deans, normally fullback but who had been relegated to second-five this game, was keen to prove his worth with some seriously aggressive play.
And prove his worth he did, when he made a break through Wests’ defensive line and scored a try in the 63rd minute, which he converted.
Once again Wests actually had a winnable game on their hands, but they had already resigned themselves to defeat by the beginning of the second half. The last 10 minutes of the game showed they have what it takes to play a good game of rugby, as they held South Westland from scoring any further tries, but the impression is that they lack the team spirit and determination of their other rivals in the competition.
Meanwhile, on the other side of Cass Square, Kiwi had a rip-roaring game over their Marist rivals, beating them by a resounding 64-17.
Where Marist was is anyone’s guess, given their excellent performance over the past few weeks, but now Kiwi takes out Grey Valley at the top of the Muir Trophy table.
Up north, Blaketown only just managed to beat rural rival Grey Valley 38-34, with Blaketown’s Tyler Davy scoring a hat-trick.
South Westland 29 (J Hill, C Deans, N Blackburn, C Scott, K Harris tries; D Matheson con, C Deans con)
Kiwi 64 (S McClure 3, D Bishop 2, M Brown 2, F Wilson, P Te Rakau, D Green tries; S McClure 7 cons)
Marist 17 (C Smith, S Tau, M Bower tries; J Costello con);
Blaketown 38 (T Davy 3, P Thomson tries; B Cain 4 pens, 3 cons)
Grey Valley 34 (T Priest 2, P Nicholls, M Waghorn, N Makea tries; T Priest 3 cons).