SPORTS

No Cards, Good Sign

Northland dominated the physical encounter at Gatward Park in Korovou, Tailevu. But Nadi stole the limelight at the death in round four of the Skipper Cup competition yesterday. Perhaps it
22 May 2016 10:18
No Cards, Good Sign
Northland's Eprama Sucumainalawa wins possession over Nadi’s Sakuisa Nakalevu during Skipper Cup Competition yesterday. Photo: RONALD KUMAR.

Northland dominated the physical encounter at Gatward Park in Korovou, Tailevu.

But Nadi stole the limelight at the death in round four of the Skipper Cup competition yesterday.

Perhaps it was deserved that both teams settled for a 16-16 tie.  The game was played in tremendous spirit witnessed by a good and vocal crowd.

It was a game Northland should have won but the Nadi super subs and an expansive ploy in the dying minutes worked to their advantage.

Unbeaten Jack’s Nadi readily agreed that they were happy to settle for a draw.

“Thumps up to Northland,” Nadi team manager Jeff Tamata said.

“It was what we expected and we are happy to settle for a draw.

“Northland’s a different team from last year and should be in Top Eight at the end of the competition. The Northland coaching staff are doing a great job. ”

Referee Aminiasi Tadrau, who replaced injured James Bolabiu in the second half, spoke highly of the teams.

“This is one of best Skipper Cup games so far,” Tadrau said.

“There was no cards issued and the penalty count is quite low. The stunning stats reflect the understanding of the rules by the players. Full marks also to the coaching staff for making it easier for us.”

Northland coach Timoci Tinaviti was happy with the hit out.

“We need to be physical to match Nadi and I’m proud the boys stood the test,” he said.

“I’m also happy with the discipline in the team and I can’t ask for more.

“We dominated the close exchanges and the die-hard effort of the players should be commended.

“But we are building up the intensity every week and next up is Tailevu.”

What happened:

Ilimeleki Leiloma is the mainstay of the Northland team connecting and directing play from the base of the scrum.

He kicked two penalties and missed two in the first half with Aseri Vatuniruku putting Nadi in fighting chance with a penalty.

Halftime: Northland 6-3 Nadi

A good counterattack resulted in Mesake Tuinamena scoring the first try which was converted by Leiloma, 13-3.

Two penalties by Kavekini Vave allowed Nadi to close the gap, 13-9.

Leiloma extended the lead for Northland with a penalty. But the visitors had the last laugh with a try in the corner to Inoke Cakautini.  Vave was spot on with the conversion from the sideline.

Star turn:

Leiloma deserved the player of the match award with his tireless effort.

Big plays:

Sireli led by example and always in the thick of battle.

Comments

Nadi team manager Jeff Tamata

“It’s good to stay unbeaten but more effort needed next week before we face Malolo.”

Northland coach Timoci Tinaviti

“We need to up the momentum, create more fluidity in our game.”

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