Persistent penguins hold on to top spot
Despite having to wait until the 74th minute Taroona Penguins rode to the Tasmanian Rugby minor premiership on the back of wing Rob Holmes’ second try in overcoming Launceston Bees 22-7 at Royal Park on Saturday finishing under lights. The result propelled ringside viewers Harlequins into fourth spot at Launceston’s expense after they accounted for AMC Vikings 70-5 in the early match, meaning Devonport Bulls finished second on percentage and were denied a home final.
Launceston missed two kickable penalty chances after trailing 7-0 at half-time to worry Taroona, who were out of sorts despite leading from the 5th minute after fly-half Mikey Whyte dummied superbly to cross under the posts. For the rest of a robust first half Launceston scrambled to pressure the Penguins’ efforts in attack and mounted some telling continuity of their own with Colin Montgomery, Nic Sotiriou and Robbie Lyons prominent. Dave Climie bound the Taroona defence with solid tackling close to the breakdown. Launceston’s Perry Chancellor and Gus Cosgrove showed great defensive resilience but scrum-half Glen Morgan suffered a corked thigh, forcing backline changes.
Taroona struggled to apply coach Dave Whyte’s instructions to move the ball side to side until Launceston failed to prevent Holmes counter-attacking and off-loading to Jeremy Climie to score in the 58th minute before he scored through a fine 30 metre run from quick phase ball. Fresh legs allowed Taroona to finish the stronger, despite Launceston scoring a converted try on the bell. ‘We got what we needed, but need to sort out where we struggled’, said coach Whyte.
Harlequins were never troubled, running ample possession throughout, with Josh Papera scoring 5 tries and Paulo Finau a hat-trick. Scrum-half Fale Atileo precisely distributed quality possession from the charging Sunia Ma’afu and Vaha Afu. Willie Campbell and Villi Via cleaned out superbly. For the AMC Vikings, Number 8 Criff Tupou was close to the best on the field, tirelessly plunging at the Quins defence, well supported by two debutants, former Launceston players Blair McHenry and Josh Brierley.
Devonport Bulls disposed of Glenorchy Stags 52-10 at Eady Street. The scoreline failed to acknowledge good early Glenorchy pressure. For the victors centre Dean Wallace scored three tries and Mark Meo two as the Bulls managed to spread the ball to score 26 points in each half. Stags mentor Shannan Banks thought the Bulls were understandably looking to next week but recognised the contributions of Glenorchy’s scrum-half Glen Mullaney and lock Matt Graham.
Hobart Lions seized second half chances to post a 17-0 result over University, leading only 5-0 at the break through a good try to Dave Palmer before player-coach Adam Johnston scored twice to ensure the result. Wilhelm Koch, James Cazaly and Derek Clack showed useful form for the Lions and Brad Doran, Alex Cronin and Aiden Stalker were Uni’s best.
Taroona 22 def Launceston 7
Harlequins 70 def AMC Vikings 5
Devonport 52 def Glenorchy 10
Hobart Lions 17 def University 0
Hobart Lions 72
Eastern Suburbs 11
AMC Vikings 4