East Coast 25
East Coast ended Wanganui's unbeaten run in the Heartland Championship today with a thoroughly deserved 25-17 win at Whakarua Park, Ruatoria.
The Coast outscored the team who beat them in last season's Meads Cup final three tries to two and were unlucky not to grab a bonus point when left wing TK Moeke looked to have scored in the corner in the 78th minute.
Touch judge Chris Wanoa, however, signalled to referee Shane McDermott, who had an excellent game, that Moeke who scored the Coast's first try in the opening minute had stepped into touch.
"We didn't turn up in the first half, but I don't want to take anything away from the Coast, they were the better team on the day," said a bitterly disappointed Wanganui coach Jason Caskey.
Coast coach and hooker Ngarimu Simpkins was naturally delighted with the win.
"To beat a team as good as Wanganui is a huge confidence boost for the boys but we'll be keeping our feet on the ground, it's still only one win in a round-robin competition," said Simpkins.
The Coast rocked Wanganui with a try from a Wanganui kickoff.
Simpkins, prop Ziggy Fisihoi, first five-eighths John Semple, No 8 Morgan Wirepa, fullback Verdon Bartlett and second five-eighths and captain Rua Tipoki all handled before Moeke dotted down in the corner.
Semple converted for the perfect start.
Wanganui never recovered and trailed 18-3 at halftime.
A few 'words' from Caskey had the desired effect as Wanganui came out firing for the second spell and when right wing Simon Dibben scored a converted try in the 53rd minute it was game on.
The Coast replied through a try to right wing Whaimotu Craft-Chemis, who finished off a strong run from openside flanker Brent Ingram. Semple's sideline conversion made it 25-10. And it stayed that way until the 76th minute when Wanganui centre Saul Chase scored a consolation try for the visitors.
East Coast 25 (TK Moeke, Ziggy Fisihoi, Whaimotu Craft-Chemis tries; John Semple 2 cons, 2 pens) Wanganui 17 (Saul Chase, Simon Dibben tries; Mark Davis, 2 cons, pen). HT: 18-3.By John Hll Gisborne Herald