QBE NORTH HARBOUR DOWN TO TASMAN 21-14 - MATCH REPORT
Although the Makos couldn’t add to their tally in the final 60 minutes of the match, it proved enough to get the victory over a fast finishing North Harbour side.
Despite the loss, North Harbour picked up a vital bonus point to secure their place in the Premiership semifinals. For Tasman, the win is a huge boost to their playoff hopes. They sit at fourth on the ladder on 25 points – eight points clear of fifth-placed Auckland.
Tasman’s win was down to a relentless opening 20 minutes. It took five minutes for Tasman to get on the board through a penalty try. North Harbour were under immediate pressure and referee Jamie Nutbrown quickly ran out of patience as the visitors pulled down a Tasman charge to the line to award the penalty try.
North Harbour have played a largely error-free game in 2017 but made multiple errors in the opening quarter as Tasman gained confidence. The Makos next try was a stunner as they broke out from deep in their own half with the ball going through numerous hands before impressive young fullback Will Jordan scored.
Soon after, another long range effort was finished by lock Shannon Frizzell to make it 21-0 after just 18 minutes. There was a sense the tries would continue to flow, but the yellow-carding of Tasman centre Trael Joass for dangerous play halted their momentum.
North Harbour’s potent back three of Shaun Stevenson, Tevita Li and Matt Duffie hardly touched the ball in the first half, but they made their presence felt early in the second spell.
Matt Duffie took a quick lineout to put Tevita Li into space. The speedster seared 50 metres downfield before linking back with Duffie for the try.
The try sparked North Harbour into life and it took some meritorious work from Jordan Taufua at the breakdown to slow the visitor’s momentum.
With just 10 minutes remaining in the match, North Harbour showed why they have been so dangerous in 2017 when centre Matt Vaega and wing Tevita Li combined to go 80 metres for a stunning try.
North Harbour poured the pressure on in the closing moments, but Tasman held firm to cling on for a win that could just see them through to the semifinals.
Tasman 21 (Will Jordan, Shannon Frizzell tries, Penalty Try, Billy Guyton con)
North Harbour 14 (Matt Duffie, Matt Vaega tries, Ben Volavola con, Bryn Gatland con)