Tasman regain winning mojo

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Friday, September 14, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

It was an emphatic statement by the Tasman side who were relentless in hounding Taranaki all night to produce an effort that lifted them to a share of second place ahead of the Canterbury-Auckland game on Sunday.

The home pack laid a fine foundation, putting pressure on the Taranaki scrum and showing plenty of solidity in defence. Hooker Andrew Makalio scored two of the side's seven tries and prop Tyrell Lomax scored another.

A classic first five-eighths break by Mitchell Hunt split Taranaki's close defence and took play 40m to the Taranaki goalmouth and in 12 phases of driving at the line it was prop Tyrell Lomax who blasted his way low over the line for the try.

Continuing the lucrative night for the home front row hooker Andrew Makalio scored twice, the first in the 33rd coming after an 11-phase build-up and the second, four minutes later after good lead-up work by second five-eighths David Havili and new No.8 Tania Fox-Matamua, saw Makalio slip the defensive line stylishly to run 15m for the line to score.

Tasman, in the first half dominated position (69-31 percent) and possession (73-27 while breaking 15 tackles to four while Taranaki had to make 63 tackles to Tasman's 19.

Try as Taranaki might they were unable to take advantage of the chances they created, especially in the third quarter when they gained much needed time in Tasman's 22m area, only to lose the ball in key plays. An early one saw lock Leighton Price stripped of the ball by Havili which allowed their line to be cleared and then Havili executed an intercept from replacement halfback Logan Crowley's pass to clear out on an 80m run in the 50th minute.

Finally, however, a show of patience involving 23 phases of play in the Tasman red zone, much of it within five metres of the goalline, resulted in first five-eighths Ciarhan Matoe sliding through for their first try.

Any hopes of a late revival from the visitors were immediately extinguished by lock Pari Pari Parkinson who capped an outstanding and vigorous evening by taking a midfield gap to power ahead, throw a high pass inside to centre Levi Aumua who in turn passed inside for Hunt to cross and take Tasman out to a 41-10 lead.

As the game opened up Taranaki got back on attack and when wing Manasa Mataele exploded into one backline move he was grounded short of the line for replacement Kane Thompson to score.

Tasman's response was emphatic with fullback Will Jordan tidying up loose ball after 18 phases to score in the 70th minute and then wing Solomon Alaimalo charged onto a short pass from a ruck to score in the 73rd minute.

Duane Monkley Medal points:

3 Pari Pari Parkinson
2 Andrew Makalio
1 Solomon Alaimalo

Scorers: Tasman 53 (Tyrell Lomax, Andrew Makalio 2, David Havili, Mitchell Hunt, Will Jordan, Solomon Alaimalo tries; Mitchell Hunt 5 con, 2 pen; Timothy O'Malley con) Taranaki 17 (Ciearhan Matoe tries; Beaudein Waaka con, pen). HT: 24-3