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Bears survive fiery feud

Monday 13 February 2012 | Published in Regional


The Arorangi Bears, Tupapa Panthers and Avatiu Eels were the winning premier grade rugby league teams at the weekend in what were three evenly matched encounters.

At Raemaru Park tempers flew as hosts Arorangi Bears were made to work hard clipping the wings of the feisty Sea Eagles to win the physical match 18-8.

Both sides stepped out confidently on to Raemaru Park backed by vocal supporters but errors and flared tempers made for a shaky start to the game for both sides.

With big breaks and big tackles from both sides preventing any points for the better part of the first half, frustrations built and boiled over with referee Tua Manea sin binning a player from both sides to stamp out hot tempers.

With the Sea Eagles on attack, the visitors made the most of one less defender in the Bears line to squeeze in a try in the corner through the teams nippy Fijian Laisa Rabuku for an early Sea Eagles lead 4-0.

Ten minutes later the Bears hit back with a try of their own through young gun Basil Matapo and with the conversion successful the Bears edged into the lead 6-4.

To prove their first try was no fluke the Bears mounted another attack chipping the ball over their Eagles defenders and forcing a foot race to the ball won by the Bears speedy Pokoroa Pauka who got a finger to the ball before just ahead of a Sea Eagles player, to extend the Bears lead to 10-4.

With two tries under their belt the Bears began to play with a bit more spring in their step but overconfidence saw them fumble a try after a well worked play that cut through the Sea Eagles line.

The Bears kept chipping away at the Sea Eagles and were rewarded with a penalty kick just before half time to lead 12-4.

Back in the second spell things just didn’t seem to go the way of the Sea Eagles who grew more frustrated with each error which was turned to points by the Bears who slotted in two early penalty kicks to push their lead to 16-4.

More scuffles erupted on the field and the Bears were down two payers as Manea cracked the whip but fortunately for the Bears they starved the Sea Eagles of possession and the visitors had little opportunity to make the most of the downsized Bears pack.

Eventually the Sea Eagles showed class when they spread the Bears, who still had one man in the bin, with some fast and confident passing.

With ball in hand young Sea Eagles winger Petero Pukeiti was across the line for a stunning try that even a Bears supporter commented was possibly the best play of the game.

A beautiful try it may have been, but it was all too late for the Sea Eagles who will no doubt take a lot of lessons from the game as they prepare for round three of the 2012 season.

The Bears on the other hand were over the moon with the win which has dashed the disappointments of their first loss of the season last weekend.

At the Avatiu Swamp the Eels dominated proceedings and showed little mercy to the Warriors visiting from the Takuvaine Valley.

The Eels comfortably won the match 32-18 but the Warriors will be smacking themselves on the back for exposing weak Eels defence to score 18 points against the defending champions.

At the Titikaveka field the Bulldogs almost registered their second win in a closely fought battle again the visiting Tupapa Panthers, however the Panthers managed to edge out the Doggies to win the game 22-18.