This summer the Chronicle is bringing you another look at some of the best content of 2019. This story originally ran on October 05, 2019
The Wanganui Past Players continue to run roughshod against their King Country counterparts in the return match from the inaugural fixture in Te Kuiti last year, after a 64-31 attacking exhibition in the Cooks Gardens curtain raiser game today.
Having the larger bench and making rotating substitutions, Wanganui had blown the score out considerably by the second half of the scheduled 60 minute match, which lead to an early stoppage, but not before players had begun swapping teams – as Wanganui turned their jerseys inside out to join the King Country squad.
It created the interesting statistic of wingers Simon Dibben and Aaron Paranihi scoring tries under the posts for both teams.
Wanganui looked to keep to a mandatory rule of a pass after running 20 or so metres, but often some of the breakaways were so clear cut that the ball carrier just had to carry on by themselves.
It was good to see the likes of Cameron Crowley, Leon Mason and Mark Davis back in Wanganui colours, as the home side found the gaps out wide early to put the ball through the hands and out-run the visitors.
Likewise, some of the tryline defence from Wanganui was very willing, led by captain Peter Rowe.
Wanganui's tryscorers took their own conversions, with a fair amount of accuracy as well, given most were scored under the black dot.
After his second try, Davis asked referee Peter Clarke to take the kick for him – with a slightly less than impressive result.
David Gower opened the scoring for Wanganui after three other players could have dotted down but chose to offload, then Davis scored after good leadup from Steelie Koro, Ace Malo and Crowley.
Rowe charged down the other sideline and found Paranihi, who turned the ball back inside to Mason to step the final defenders and run to the posts.
A penalty for King Country allowed them to halt the deluge of tries, as they took a quick tap and made some good offloads themselves to get the ball down in the cover tackles for 21-7.
Wanganui just resumed their spread passes to the sideline, where Crowley cantered away and was looking to pass but found no nearby takers, putting it down further out for a missed conversion.
The home side then had to get serious for a little while as they defended their own tryline with some hard hits, eventually forcing the turnover, but in trying to run the ball out, one pass was read by King Country fullback Ross Fenton to dash away under the posts for 26-12.
Play then stagnated between the two 22m lines for a time, before Wanganui's late inclusion Corey Carmichael decided to just make something happen himself, stepping through the line on halfway and beating cover tacklers to go under the posts on halftime.
Wanganui were swiftly back into their work after the break, as Sean Brown got through the defence and fed Paranihi to run away to the far posts, then after a strong midfield run by prop Brett Turner, Lasa Ulukuta cantered wide and reunited the old Heartland firm with Rowe, who took the pass to go under the posts.
Again, Wanganui defended their tryline, and when the turnover happened, the still-active Dibben beat two dive tackles and ran 90m untouched, and unlike in Te Kuiti last year, he didn't unexpectedly 'drop' the ball.
Another Malo attack set up Davis for his double and Clarke's embarrassing conversion, and then at 57-12, Wanganui players began swapping sides.
It worked immediately as three of them spread the ball wide to put the King Country winger over in the corner, where two risky passes were made for another visiting player to score closer to the posts.
Ironically, there was a full flipflop of the prior script as Fenton, who had joined the Wanganui side, snatched an intercept off King Country's Wanganui players to run off and also get himself a try for each team.
Approaching the 50th minute, King Country got two more tries through Dibben dashing away and then Paranihi scoring in the corner after a penalty tap kick.