Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Steamers crack 50 points over Northland

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IN FORM: Steamers winger Monty Ioane had a lively game against Northland in Rotorua on Friday night. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER
IN FORM: Steamers winger Monty Ioane had a lively game against Northland in Rotorua on Friday night. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Bay of Plenty defeated Northland convincingly by 52-25 to register their first win of the Mitre 10 Cup Championship in Rotorua this evening.

The bonus point win pushed the Steamers into the top four and despite some dodgy moments in the first half, they never looked likely to lose this one.

Northland came into the game after 15 consecutive losses going back to October 2014, while the Steamers had three losses on the bounce to Taranaki, Counties Manukau and Otago.

Northland had first use of a blustery breeze and it was halfback Ruki Tipuna, in his blazer game, who sparked their first attack leading to a penalty in handy range.

But the Steamers took the lineout option and drove over for a fine try scored by flanker Jesse Parete.

Northland were awarded five straight penalties to gain some momentum and field position.

Referee Mike Lash ran out of patience, issuing a verbal warning to captain Culum Retallick. No doubt discipline would be a key discussion point this week in the Steamers' camp.

Northland took the lead through a try to Waisea Lawebuka and Breen kicked his team to 11-8 after 27 minutes from another penalty.

But that was the end of Northland's control on the game.

The Steamers put some concerted phases on attack, sparked by winger Monte Ioane, which led to a try to Terrence Hepetema after a great chip kick from Kelly Haimona.

Steamers No 8 Joe Tupe was clobbered in the air taking the kick-off which meant 10 minutes in the bin for Tom Robinson.

With a man advantage the Steamers lifted the intensity up front. Hepetema went close before Parete crashed over for his second try for a 19-11 lead at halftime.

Outstanding Steamers player Tupe scored the first of his two second half tries almost from the restart, after a superbly organised rolling maul travelled 23 metres.

The Steamers then took complete charge of the game and immediately set siege on the Northland line.

Referee Lash awarded a penalty try for cynical play and sent Shane Neville to the bin, just after Robinson returned from the naughty chair.

The Steamers were cruising up 33-11 but would be disappointed Northland winger Lawebuka went through some weak defence to score his second try.

Fresh legs from the subs bench sparked the Steamers and it was that man Tupe who crashed over for the Bay's sixth try.

The biggest cheer of the night came after former Rotorua Boys' High star Isaac Te Aute showed his rare speed to sprint away and score in the corner.

Another Rotorua favourite Te Rangi Fraser waltzed through to score with his first touch to bring up 50 points.

Northland had the last laugh with a late try but it was undoubtedly the Steamers night.

Bay of Plenty 52 (Jesse Parete 2, Joe Tupe 2, Terrence Hepetema, Isaac Te Aute, Te Rangi Fraser tries; penalty try; Kelly Haimona 5 cons; Te Aihe Toma con)
Northland 25 (Waisea Lawebuka 2, Matt Talaese tries; Peter Breen 2 con, 2 pen) HT 19-11

- Bay of Plenty Times

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