Big second half boosts Tasman to win

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Friday, October 15, 2010    Getty Images

It was Tasman's fourth win in five matches against Northland and the Makos had to overcome an 11-point half-time deficit. Northland was the sharper and more penetrative team in the first half, scoring three of the four tries before the break, but as its intensity decreased, Tasman's energy increased and the home team finished far the better.

Tasman opened the scoring in the fifth minute with fullback Tom Marshall slotting a 23m penalty goal, but two minutes later Northland fullback Lachie Munro scored an audacious try.

He was expected to kick for goal from a handy penalty position, but as Tasman players turned their backs he tapped to himself and ran 20m to score in the corner. He was unable to convert.

After a concerted period on attack Northland had its second try albeit through a bit of luck after 16 minutes. A kick through by captain Jared Payne rebounded off a Tasman player and into the hands of lock Roy Griffin who barged over, Munro adding the conversion to give the visiting team a 12-3 lead.

In the 23rd minute, Tasman captain, lock Chris Jack, claimed a line-out throw when unmarked near the back and strolled 15m to the line. Marshall was unable to kick the wide conversion but the lead was reduced to four points.

Northland, when on hard defence, forced a turnover and wing Iwi Hauraki made a fine break which led to a kickable penalty, but Northland needing maximum points from the bonus-point try, elected to kick for touch and the lineout was unproductive.

Six minutes from half-time Northland had its third try, the forwards taking it to the line in phases and prop Matt Wallis burrowing over for his first try. Munro landed the conversion from a handy position to take his team to a 19-8 lead which it held to half-time.

Tasman wing Blair Cook crossed three minutes into the second half and had the try awarded by the TMO contrary to the opinion of many observers. Marshall added the conversion to close the gap to 19-15.

After 50 minutes Tasman wing Kade Poki showed the class that has seen him win a Crusaders contract in recent years with a swerving run past two defenders to score his team's third try. Marshall missed from close range but Tasman took a 20-19 lead.

Tasman increased its lead to eight points with prop Fai Mika barging over for the bonus-point try after 57 minutes, Marshall kicking an angled conversion.

Northland pulled three points back with a simple penalty goal by Munro after 66 minutes, but almost from the restart Tasman crossed again, Tom Marshall making the break and big No. 8 Poutasi Luafutu finishing the attack. Marshall kicked the sideline conversion for a 34-22 lead.

Replacement Northland hooker Tim Dow forced his way over in the 72nd minute to score by the post and Munro added the extras to close the gap to five points. Marshall missed a 49m penalty attempt with three minutes remaining and Northland, with Munro kicking a penalty to 5m of Tasman's line, lost its own lineout and Tasman gratefully kicked to touch as the final whistle went.

Tasman 34 (Chris Jack, Blair Cook, Kade Poki, Fai Mika, Poutasi Luafutu tries; Tom Marshall 3 con, pen) Northland 29 (Lachie Munro, Roy Griffin, Matt Wallis, Tim Dow tries; L Munro 3 con, pen). HT: 8-19