Diehards keep Tigers winless
Easts Tigers remain winless for season 2016 after they were put to the sword 42-8 by a rampaging Valleys Diehards in the Round 12 Premier Grade match.
The Diehards, coming off 3 straight losses themselves, were unstoppable with winger Ansone Tovi and centre Jeremaiah Lale both bagging a double for the home side.
The Diehards led after only three minutes with a spectacular try from winger Tovi who acrobatically planted the ball down after a well-delivered pass from five-eighth Kasha Gault.
It was inevtibale from the early exchanges that it just wasn’t going to be the Tigers’ day, as straight from the restart the visitors were pinned for offside at the kick-off resulting in a penalty to Valleys on the halfway mark.
From the next play, the home side was in again courtesy of centre Jeramiah Lale, who latched on to a brilliant pass from lock Richard Tengdui to go over to make it 8-0.
Not two minutes later, Lale was in again for his second of the afternoon as he raced away to score unopposed to increase the scoreline to 14-0 after a precision goal from fullback Rolando Inwood.
The Tigers were well exposed on the edges and again the Diehards raced in for another quick four pointer with Lale throwing a well-timed pass to find Zach Sutton who slid into the corner to see the Diehards racking up the points at 18-0.
The Tigers, trying to maintain the same speed as the Diehards, were no match as the skilful kicking of Gault and Inwood was turning the Tigers pack around and tiring the visitors early on. To the Tigers credit though, secondrower Keni Puhlia and lock Maka Taipaleti were fearsome in stages and rattled the Diehards in patches.
Again the flimsy Tigers defence frustrated coach Tai Ellery. Valleys secondrower David Nuendorf burst through the clutches of the Tigers forwards to race 40m and a no-look pass found winger Tovi who was in support to plant the ball down for a breathtaking try right on halftime, which put the Diehards ahead 24-0 at the break.
The Diehards started where they left off in the second half. With 30 seconds of play from the opening whistle, fullback Inwood made a mockery of the Tigers defence to step his way through a yawning gap to plant the ball down under the sticks. When the dynamic fullback converted his own try the Diehards had skipped to a 30-0 lead.
Tigers lock Taipaleti nearly had the visitors on the scoreboard with a try but he fell inches short after being beautifully hauled down by Nuendorf and hooker Patrick Rasmussen.
The Tigers did fight though. Fittingly, they did produce some above-par set plays that did have the Diehards bamboozled on three occasions, but sadly this is where it all ended. Courageous efforts by centre Will Bohning and James Anderson were simply heroic as they put their bodies on the line for the visitors.
There were a few glum faces for the Tigers in Valleys’ next try, as five-eighth Gault side-stepped through another giant hole in the Tigers defence for the easiest of tries.
Inwood landed a superb sideline conversion and the Diehards hit 36.
However, that old Tigers spirit did come to the fore as a lost ball by the Diehards saw secondrower Pouhlia scoop up the pill and barge his way over to finally see the Tigers on the board, which drew a few cheers from the crowd.
The last word, however, did go to the Diehards. A try one minute from fulltime by centre and crowd favourite Quentin Pepe who launched like a missile into the tiring Tigers pack to seal a well-earned win for the Diehards.
Valleys Diehards 42 def Easts Tigers 4