Rugby League: Taniwha prove too strong for Eels

By Stan Nicholas

Before a large home crowd, the Imperial Trading Ltd Otumoetai Eels premiers felt the full force of power, precision and pace on Saturday at Mitchell Park as the Taniwharau Taniwha premiers from Huntly walked away with a well-deserved 34-6 win.

They scored six tries and added five goals to put themselves at the top of the ladder as the only unbeaten team after just three rounds.

For 35 minutes the Eels withstood the continuous onslaught of the big powerful Taniwharau forward pack, conceding just the one try, but then let in two before halftime to go into the break 18-0 down.

It was all Taniwharau in the second half, never taking their foot off the throttle in scoring another three tries. For Taniwharau, livewire hooker Malcolm Noda and big prop forward Epiha Kete scored two tries each, with Charlie Kete-Anderson and Christopher Fox also putting in some huge runs up the middle of the field. Winger Patara Berryman was all class in scoring his try.

For the Eels, half Josh Weeden tried to stem the tide with his clever kicks and ferocious tackling along with forwards Wille Rutene and Tane Leef, who tackled themselves to a standstill, but the only team Otumoetai have never beaten in their short eight year history was never going to give up that record on Saturday.

The reserve grade game beforehand may have been a sign of things to come in the main match, with Taniwharau's current depth of quality players on show when they took the Eels seconds apart in similar style by 48-6.

In other premier matches, Ngaruawahia hammered Hamilton Hornets 62-10 and Turangawaewae won the arm wrestle 18-16 over previously unbeaten Hukanui at Hamilton.

This coming weekend sees Taniwharau travel to fierce rivals Ngaruawahia, Turangawaewae host 2012 champions Hamilton City Tigers - who had the bye on Saturday - and Hukanui should win their encounter over the hapless Hamilton Hornets. Otumoetai have the bye and two weeks to work on getting their game back on track.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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