Taniwha break drought with Mooloo mauling
Sunday, October 2, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
Despite the loss of the two key players and being on the end of a two year losing streak, Northland laid on a sublime 80 minute effort to secure a bonus point victory and swing a hammer blow to Waikato’s Premiership playoff hopes.
Often this season, Northland have been forced into chasing games but there was no chance of that today as they leapt to a 15-3 lead after 15 minutes. While the forwards were combative, it was wing Jordan Hyland who sparked Northland’s first two tries. The first Hyland scored himself after making the initial break out while the second came after Hyland snatched a Northland kick off to set up prop Phil Kite to crash over.
A Peter Breen penalty extended the lead further before Northland flexed their attacking muscle with a perfectly executed set piece move to put Matt Matich over for the 25-3 lead.
Trailing 32-8 at halftime, Waikato needed to start the second half strongly and did just that with two quick tries to close the gap to 32-22 and momentarily silence the home crowd.
Northland’s forward pack and the tactical boot of Peter Breen then took control as the Taniwha gained the territorial advantage and kept the ball in tight to frustrate Waikato. The tactic paid off as Peter Breen landed three penalties to make it 41-22 with 10 minutes to play and end Waikato’s hopes.
The icing on the cake came in the final minute when veteran second five-eighth Dan Hawkins scythed through the Waikato defence to secure the historic victory.
Matt Moulds said: “It’s awesome to get one over the line after so long. We have been close plenty of times and it has just been little things that have stopped us. So we have worked hard on the one percenters that have been costing us and we got that right today.”
Northland 48 (Jordan Hyland, Phil Kite, Mat Matich, Jone Macilai, Dan Hawkins tries, Peter Breen 5 pen, 4 con) Waikato 27 (Iliesa Ratuva, Sosefo Kautai, Jordan Trainor, Whetu Douglas tries, Trainor try, pen, 2 con)
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