Eagles stunned, Panthers win at home

Tuesday February 21, 2017 Written by Published in League
Tupapa Panthers got their fi rst win of the season against Titikaveka Bulldogs on Saturday at Victoria Park. 17022017 Tupapa Panthers got their fi rst win of the season against Titikaveka Bulldogs on Saturday at Victoria Park. 17022017

Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles had to come from behind to salvage a point in their battle against Arorangi Bears over the weekend.

The round three clash at Raemaru Park on Saturday could have been Sea Eagles’ first loss for the season, if not for their second half surge.

The Bears, who went into the match as the underdogs with a win and a loss from their earlier two matches, raced ahead 24-0 after a superb performance in the opening spell.

The undefeated Sea Eagles were clueless pitted against the Bears’ spirited play and were unable to squeeze through their sturdy defence.

The Kaka Ama-coached side, which made a comeback win against the Titikaveka Bulldogs in the round two clash, had nothing working for them in the opening spell.

But they came back a much better side in the second half, taking advantage of the tired-looking Bears to crawl back into the game.

In a complete turnaround of the opening spell performance, Bears were left back pedaling in defence, trying to keep the rampaging Sea Eagles at bay.

The visitors eventually managed to level the match 24-all to avoid what could have been the upset of the week.

In the other premier clash, Tupapa Panthers registered their first win of the season after beating the Bulldogs at home 26-22.

In a tit-for-tat battle, the two teams fought tooth and nail for maximum points from the match.

Panthers spurred by the home support at Victoria Park raced into the lead, putting the much fancied Bulldogs under pressure in the second half.

However, the Meti Noovao-skippered Bulldogs rallied on and put the match within their reach, heading into the final quarter of the match.

The epic tussle in the final 10 minutes forced the fans on their feet as both teams maintained their attack to seal the win.

Despite a tough fight from the visitors, the Darren Piri-coached Panthers managed to hold onto their slender lead and win 26-22.

The lone premier match on Friday at The Swamp saw the defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels thrash Aitutaki Sharks 60-16.

The Sharks, who have now lost three matches, are the only team without a win in the competition.

The team earlier lost to the Bulldogs at Teimurimotia Park and the Bears at home.

Meanwhile Takuvaine Warriors, who have had a win and a loss so far in the competition, were on a bye over the weekend.

Sea Eagles, after two wins and a draw, remain on top of the table, followed by the Eels which has a match on hand.

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