Winning this weekend for all these teams – Reds, Eels, Cowboys and Bulls – will be vital for them to secure a top-four position.
The Avatiu Eels will be wounded after their unexpected 20-23 loss last weekend to the bottom of the table Titikaveka Bulls, so they will want to make amends for last week’s disappointment.
The Reds will be quietly confident as the only team that has toppled the Panthers this season – their defensive efforts were the key to that win.
Both teams bring players with X-factor and aggression, so this should be an exciting match to watch.
Some players who could dictate the outcome of this match include:
Reds: Mercurial utility back Viiga Ruepena’s overall game sense and kicking boots will be crucial for the Reds. Tighthead prop Vaike Potoru will need to anchor the scrums and lead his forward pack for the full 80 minutes. And expect Logan Perenise and Joshua Koroi to lead the Reds’ defensive effort from the midfield.
Eels: The work rate of their Number 8 Tokerau Raru and his loose forward partner Tamanui Nicholas has been outstanding all season. The young halves duo of Arii Nicholas and Meyer Rairoa also seem to be growing in confidence – their organisation skills will be tested this weekend. Desperation will win you matches with only the hungry to survive.
Meanwhile, the Titikaveka Bulls will be confident after last week’s surprise 23-20 victory over the Eels.
The young team from Arorangi have been competitive in most matches however – but just not on point for the full 80 minutes.
They have plenty of potential as they grow as a team, so this week’s ‘must-win’ setting will test their character as the competition heads towards the finals.
Some players to watch out for:
Bulls: Exciting 18-year-old midfielder Tomasi Bikaka, hardworking hooker Timo Tangirere, and also abrasive Number 8 Eddie Qui.
Cowboys: Busy 18-year-old lock Tanire Mokoroa, skillful first five-eighth Leo Roa, and strong-running midfielder Andre Iro will be key players in this match.
Fixtures: 11am U9 & U11, all clubs. 12pm U13, all clubs. 1pm U16, all clubs.
Arorangi Field: 1pm U16, Arorangi v Titikaveka (Ref: Ben Koteka, Assist Refs: Club Officials). 4pm Senior A, Arorangi Cowboys v Titikaveka Bulls (Ref: Abel Masters, Assist Refs: Peter Godfrey/Tutai Taurarii).
Takuvaine Field: 4pm Senior A, Takuvaine Reds v Avatiu/Nikao Eels (Ref: Tua Ngaputa, Assist Refs: Mike Wynne/Paul Peyroux).