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Mounties just out of reach for Vulcans

Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell produced some of his customary destructive touches but his influence wasn't enough to help the Auckland Vulcans to victory in their sixth-round NSW Cup game against the Mounties at Mount Smart Stadium.
Mounties just out of reach for Vulcans
by NRL

Warriors centre Konrad Hurrell produced some of his customary destructive touches but his influence wasn't enough to help the Auckland Vulcans to victory in their sixth-round NSW Cup game against the Mounties at Mount Smart Stadium.

Coming back from a week off with a groin complaint, the 20-year-old four-game NRL player made an immediate impact with his power game as the Vulcans had the lead for significant periods in the first half before conceding a little too much ground to the visitors soon after halftime to lose 30-36.

The critical contributors to the Mounties' cause were fullback Nathan Massey, who has played for Canberra at NRL level, and Christchurch's former Junior Kiwi hooker Matt McIlwrick, who both snared hat-tricks to provide six of their side's seven tries.

The Vulcans made an early statement with a try to fullback Steve Waetford and, while conceding a couple of tries to Massey and then McIlwrick, worked their way into a 14-10 advantage through a powerhouse try by prop Suaia Matagi and a superb Darin Kingi effort. They should have had that lead going into halftime.

Instead they made an error inside their 20, gifting an attacking scrum to the Mounties. There was time for just one play and, much to the Vulcans' chagrin, the Mounties made it count. A grubber was pushed through the advancing defensive line, Massey chasing it down for the easiest of tries with no cover to be found.

Soon after halftime the Mounties converted the slender 16-14 lead into 22-14 and then 26-14 with a one-two blow. First McIlwrick shredded the defence up the middle of the park as he embarked on a dazzling dash from close to halfway for his second try before centre Drury Low, also a former Junior Kiwi and a player with NRL experience, was unchallenged to pluck a floated chip kick wide to the Mounties' left to score his try.

The 12-point margin wasn't insurmountable with plenty of time to go but ultimately it proved just a bit too much to chase down, simply because the Vulcans essentially conceded the advantage just as quickly as they had appeared to acquire it.

The first example came when they engineered a try for former Vodafone Junior Warriors prop Daniel Palavi, as he latched onto Tevita Latu's flat ball to score near the posts. DJ Collier converted and it was 20-26.

Almost immediately, though, the Mounties were back out to a 12-point lead at 32-20 when the Vulcans failed to stop them rolling forward to create Massey's third try.

Again the Vulcans came back, this time through Pita Godinet swooping on a Mounties error and dashing 40 metres to score, Collier converting to cut it back to six points at 26-32. Now they had a strong whiff of victory and came at the Mounties again, Latu running from dummy half to score wide out only for Collier to miss the conversion.

Still it was now 30-32 with enough time left to snatch victory despite being well behind for much of the second half.

Trouble was they couldn't complete effectively when they most needed to. The Mounties were able to benefit from three consecutive sets in the Vulcans' 20, the locals battling bravely to deny them but not able to hold them out in the end as McIlwrick was able to roll and spin out of the grasp of defenders to score a try which should have been stopped.

The win was the fourth of the season for the Mounties which, together with a bye, lifted to them 10 points on the table. The Vulcans now have a two win-four loss record.

Match details:

At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Auckland Vulcans 30 (Steve Waetford, Suaia Matagi, Darin Kingi, Pita Godinet, Tevita Latu, Daniel Palavi tries; DJ Collier 3 conversions).
Mounties 36 (Nathan Massey 3, Matt McIlwrick 3, Drury Low tries; Nathan Massey 4 conversions).
Halftime: 16-14 Mounties.
Referee: Shane Rehm.

Auckland Vulcans: Steve Waetford; DJ Collier, Rusty Bristow, Konrad Hurrell, Ivan Penehe; Willie Stowers, Pita Godinet; Herman Retzlaff, Darin Kingi, Suaia Matagi; Agnatius Paasi, Sam Lousi; Tevita Latu. Interchange: Willie Peace, Tulson Caird, Daniel Palavi, Manu Mau. Coach: Ricky Henry.




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