The Premiers had their best performance of the season beating Dunedin 40-17 at Bathgate Park on Saturday.
It was a top of the table clash – both teams unbeaten after 5 rounds – and there was a big turn out of supporters on the sidelines for a highly anticipated match. Dunedin has been a bogey team of ours over recent years with the final scorelines often being within 5 points of each other.
Dunedin started well, however Southern withheld the initial pressure and then upped their own game to dominate Dunedin in all areas of the game. The forwards showed their strength in the set piece and the loose, creating good ball for the backs to exploit. Winger Josh Gordon made his presence felt busting the line and showing real pace to run in a try from 50 metres to open the try scoring, he scored a brace as did centre Nathan Cargo.
Josh Walden at halfback cleared the ball well and moved the ball each side of the ruck pressuring the opposition defence, outside him Josh Ioane was always a threat and set the backline away beautifully. Tai Walden enjoyed his more physical role at 2nd five and ran strongly.
No 8 Mika Mafi rose to the challenge of rival Dunedin No 8 ,who are both pressing for the Otago ITM Cup selection. Mafi outshone him in all facets in the loose and was the stand out player on the field. He was well supported by fellow loosies Adam Knight and Dan Baxter – who gave a great display in his 50th and Blazer match.
With another bonus point win the Premiers are now 4 points clear of Taieri at the top of the table with Dunedin dropping to 3rd and Harbour in 4th.
The Premiers have another top of the table clash with Taieri this Saturday (Anzac Day) at Bathgate Park, a side we haven’t beaten in over 3 years, the Roy Nieper trophy is up for grabs, it is also Sponsor Day.
Otago Daily Times Report:
This was a game that promised the earth and delivered Mataura. Apart from 10 minute periods in both halves where Dunedin scored two tries, Southern totally dominated.
The Magpies dominated territory and possession and for large periods of the game bivouacked deep in Dunedin territory.
This constant pressure either led to kickable penalties or enough numbers, leading to five deserved tries. Winger Josh Gordon and centre Nathan Cargo cashed in with a brace each.
Dunedin was not helped by a spluttering lineout that, unbelievably, only netted one lineout take in each half. When the Sharks did get some possession, their kicking was poor.
In contrast, Southern reigned supreme in the lineouts and was led around the park with aplomb by Josh Ioane. His uncanny kicking game and deft passing were a feature of this one sided affair.
The scrums cancelled each other out but Southern’s Dan Baxter and Mika Mafi dominated in the loose and Tei Walden was all class in the midfield.
It was hard to find positives for Dunedin but loosies Alex Fitzgerald and Hame Toma played well.
Southern is unbeaten and leads the competition comfortably, and with this performance, it is easy to see why.
Taieri first five eighth Josh Casey scored 32 points on Saturday but his last seven counted the most.
With time almost up and his side hard on defence, he nabbed an intercept and scampered the length of the field to dot down and seal a dramatic 42-29 win over University A at Peter Johnstone Park.
Pirates’ 26-23 win over Zingari Richmond was just as thrilling for the Hancock Park faithful. It was Pirates’ second consecutive win at its home venue.
Harbour loosie Ratu Dawai keeps scoring tries. He has eight now and helped his side secure a comfortable 38 -2 win over Alhambra Union at Watson Park.
Kaikorai registered its first win, beating Green Island 34 17 at Miller Park to pick up maximum points and get off the bottom of the table.