Monday 30 April 2012 | Published in Regional
All hopes of the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles making it to the top four to be in contention for the championship title were dashed by the Titikaveka Bulldogs who romped home 16-10 on Saturday.
It was a do or die match for the Sea Eagles who, had they won, would have tied with the Bulldogs on 4th place.
After the loss the Sea Eagles are six points off the fourth spot and will face the Avatiu Eels this week where the only thing they can do is upset the Eels with a win and force the Eels to third place from the current second spot on the table.
Back to the game on Saturday – the Sea Eagles looked hot early on and even the new imports in the Bulldogs camp seemed not to faze the hosts.
The hosts put the first points on the table with a penalty kick which was quickly followed by what the Sea Eagles thought was a try in the corner.
But the touch judge denied them the try and despite the disappointment – the Sea Eagles rallied again to send the same man into the same corner and this time the try was awarded, extending their score to 6-0.
The game then turned the way of the Bulldogs with a brilliant try by the local based Samoan player to even up the scores 6-all.
Earning his spot in the team – one of the Bulldogs Samoan imports showed his value and speed when he made an 80-metre dash for a brilliant individual try to extend the Bulldogs lead to 12-6.
Ngatangiia earned another penalty and closed the gap slightly to trail by 4 points 12-8.
Clinton Charlie was a work horse for the Sea Eagles but his storming line breaks just couldn’t be capitalised on by his team mates who on more than one occasion opted to kick the ball on what was a blustery day.
While the Bulldogs ranks were boosted by a number of returning young players including the big running Patrique Numanga – it was the core team who kept the momentum up with Lloyd ‘Bacon’ Matapo doing damage to Sea Eagles defenders.
The runaway Samoan in the Bulldogs outfit pulled off another try and this time the try came from a break by Sailosi Nagi. With momentum the dogs drove towards the try line and with ball in hand – their speedy Samoan dotted down in the corner to give the Bulldogs a comfortable lead 16-8.
The Sea Eagles had the last say of the day with a penalty to close the gap to 16-10 but the Bulldogs had already done the hard yards to win the game.
In other games at the weekend – the Warriors won their first match of the season 20-18 against the Aitutaki Sharks and the Panthers went down to the Bears 14-10.
Basil Matapo was the standout player for the Bears as the young player controlled the game while lack of discipline was the undoing of the Panthers who despite the loss maintain their top position on the points table.
This week – the last week of the round competition before the quarter finals – the Sea Eagles will host the Avatiu Eels while the Panthers play the Warriors and the Bears head to Aitutaki to rumble with the Aitutaki Sharks.