Sea Eagles soar through to semis

Monday May 21, 2018 Written by Published in League
Storming through … Storm Ruatoe scored four tries in Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles’ 40-14 win over the Titikaveka Bulldogs. Storming through … Storm Ruatoe scored four tries in Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles’ 40-14 win over the Titikaveka Bulldogs.

It may be an overused cliché but in Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles’ case, this rings true: They came they saw, and they conquered.

 

And it was not some small battle win, but a major one in the war they are in for the coveted domestic rugby league title.

In the preliminary playoff on Saturday, the Sea Eagles soared high to put down the defending champions Titikaveka Bulldogs in a 40-14 win and book a date with Avatiu Nikao Eels in this weekend’s semi-final.

The Sea Eagles were on-song after a scrappy start and made the Bulldogs dance to their tune in a well-deserved win at the BCI Stadium.

Heading into the match, the Meti Noovao-coached Bulldogs were the favourites, but that counted for nothing after the Bobby Hansen-coached Sea Eagles ran rampant to claim the astonishing win.

The Sea Eagles proved dominant in every facet of the game - they got their basics right, completed their sets and made their tackles count to stun their opposition.

After a good start, the Bulldogs were left backpedalling when the Sea Eagles scored and they remained clueless in the entire match, allowing the latter to invade and terrorise their defence to pile on points in the massive win.

Lanky Sai Nagi gave the Bulldogs an early 4-0 lead after the Sea Eagles failed to gather possession.

About 10 minutes later, the Sea Eagles bounced back and tore through the heart of Bulldogs defence to allow their stand-off Ben Wemin over the Bulldogs line.

Daniel Toa’s kick handed the Sea Eagles a 6-4 lead.

The Bulldogs tried to come back into the match with a try of their own, but simple errors marred the chances they created.

They had some chances but poor communication and lack of coordination, mainly due to the absence of their first choice playmaker Reece Joyce, saw them unable to penetrate through the Sea Eagles defence line.

The Sea Eagles capitalised on the Bulldogs’ downfall and Wemin burst again through the middle to score his second try near the upright, handing Toa an easy conversion for 12-4 lead.

The team from Muri were not done yet and a fumble by the Bulldogs defence allowed Storm Ruatoe to dive in the corner to extend the lead to 16-4.

The under-pressure Bulldogs, after a string of good passes, managed to strike back through Nagi to cushion the deficit to 8-16 at the break.

The Bulldogs started the second half in similar fashion – by scoring, and this time through Phillip Taio to come within the fighting distance, with Sea Eagles maintaining a slender 16-14 lead.

But the cool, calm and collected Sea Eagles had better ideas.

The combination between Terekia brothers of Shaiquan, George and Juwaan aided by the likes of Wemin and Dominique Noo proved too much for the Bulldogs to handle.

The Sea Eagles scored five more tries through Shaiquan, Storm (3) and Noo to hand them the 40-14 win.

The Bulldogs were a shadow of the team they were in the final stage of the preliminary competition where they handed top guns Tupapa Panthers and Avatiu Nikao Eels their first losses of the season.

The Sea Eagles, on the other hand, were on fire.

They showed power and grit, playing their hearts out to slay a giant in their quest for the premiership title.

And it’s about time for them to slay another when they take on the Eels in the semis this Saturday.

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