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Eels slip out of Eagles’ grip

Monday 19 April 2010 | Published in Regional

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The Avatiu Eels managed to slip out of the Ngatangiia-Matavera Sea Eagles’ claws on Saturday in an intense match at the swamp.

The Sea Eagles continued to prove that they are no easy beats as they forced the Eels to lift their game.

The Eels took charge of the game early on in the match with the Eels big runner Mark Charlie bashing across the line to dot down.

A penalty against the Sea Eagles shortly after the try gave the Eels an easy two points to lead the game 6-0.

A beautiful 95m try by young Sea Eagles David Toa nearly went unnoticed as a fight broke out on the sideline between a drunk Sea Eagles fan and an Eels player as Toa bolted down the field to score his team’s first try.

Toa’s beautiful try closed the Eels lead 6-4.

The Eels made up for watching the fight instead of the game with a team effort try to extend their lead to 12-4 at the half time hooter.

But it was David Toa who again got the Sea Eagles back in the game with the first try of the second half to again keep the Sea Eagles in the game 12-8.

The Eels rallied again and stormed the Sea Eagles line and this time the try came via Duane Gukisuva who knocked out a Sea Eagles player in the process.

Fired up by Gukisuva’s try, the Eels went back on the attack and with ball in hand, the team’s new arrival Terence Poila was too slippery for Sea Eagles tacklers.

Poila slipped out of a number of tackles before offloading the ball which was spread out wide and into the hands of veteran Terry Piri.

Piri couldn’t believe his luck when a gap opened up and he slipped through for a try to finish off what was a fantastic set for the Eels to take his team to a comfortable 20-8 lead.

But in typical Eels style – they began celebrating the win before the final whistle and the Sea Eagles punished them for it.

This time David Toa teamed up with older brother Thomas for what was the classiest play of the day.

A cheeky chip over the top by David was chased and caught by Thomas who thundered down the field and as he was tackled, offloaded the ball back to David who sprinted the final metres to the line to score.

The converted try brought the Sea Eagles score to 14 with the Eels still in the lead on 20 points.

Young Eels half back Tepou Tana was given the easiest try of the afternoon when the Sea Eagles misread the Eels play and in doing so parted their defensive line to give Tana a clear path to the try line.

And as the Eels celebrated, the Sea Eagles dug deep for a team effort try and with the extra two points from the conversion – there was only a try in it for the Sea Eagles who trailed the Eels by four points 24-20.

League supporters were on their feet for the final two minutes with the Sea Eagles hot on attack.

But their attempts at a final try were foiled by the Eels who were very glad indeed to hear the final hooter.