GREYTOWN are out to extend their unbeaten start in the Moose Kapene Cup when they travel to Gladstone for tomorrow’s feature club rugby match.
The southerners turned in their best performance of the season last Saturday with a bonus-point victory over Marist, built on a dominant first-half forward display and they will need a similar performance to quell an experienced Gladstone forward pack.
Who turns out for the home team is a matter of conjecture, with injuries having had a major impact.
With the likes of Andrew McLean, John Stevenson and Richard Puddy, Gladstone have the skills and experience to better most of the region’s forward packs.
Where Greytown could have a decided advantage is in the backs.
The hard-running midfield of Byron Karaitiana and Carlos Rimene are backed up with the speed and guile of fullback Nick Olsen and slippery wingers Abe Southey and Nick Robertson.
It is Past Players Day at Gladstone. The activities get under way with pre-match drinks and nibbles in the clubrooms at noon.
Prediction: Greytown by 13 plus – too much skill and pace in the backs.
-Pioneer and Eketahuna go into their clash at Jeans St with widely contrasting form.
Pioneer come into the game on the back of a six-try, 40-12 thumping of Gladstone, whereas Eketahuna suffered a heavy defeat to Carterton.
Eketahuna are a mere shadow of the team that won last year’s championship team and appear to be struggling for numbers.
On the other hand, Pioneer are progressing well, with their forwards providing a solid platform for their talented backline, which is well marshalled by lively halfback Victor Thompson.
Prediction: Pioneer to run away with it in the second half – 13 plus.
-The closest game of the round could be at Carterton, where the home team take on Martinborough.
Both teams have had stuttering starts to the season but have shown some form.
Carterton would have gained some confidence from their first win of the season last Saturday over Eketahuna.
Martinborough have had two victories, over East Coast and Eketahuna, and have a chance of moving into the top four with a win tomorrow.
Prediction: Carterton to sneak a very tight battle – 12 under.
-Marist coach Nathan Riwai-Couch was philosophical after last Saturday’s loss to Greytown and said he would not stop his team from playing an attacking brand of rugby.
Up against bottom-of-the-table East Coast tomorrow, their enterprising backline should get plenty of opportunities to display their talent.
The Marist forward pack should get parity with the Coast eight, who have been struggling for depth.
Given that, there should be plenty of freedom for impressive halfback Joseph Sio to set the backline alight.
Prediction: Never easy to win at Whareama, but Marist too big and too fast – 13 plus.
By Chris Cogdale – Wairarapa Times-Age