Bushrangers To Sharp For Ngati Kahungunu in U16 Boys Grand Final

The U16 Boys, which gets better every single year, was an amazing event, and allowed our young men to show their pride in their community and play som fast and furious rugby league. And it was the Aussie Bushrangers who came out on top, defeating a very strong Ngati Kahungunu side in the final 12-4. It was a nice moment to see the Bushrangers, who primarily only have a men’s team year to year, finally start to build momentum in the U16 boys and they will be back with a vengence next year as well.

For the Bushrangers, they stated their intentions very early. With strong wins over Tonga, CI Robbers and Maunga Raemaru, and a smart victory over the Pikiao Warriors all on the Saturday, they knew they had qualified first and awaited to see who they would face in the semi-final. And it ended up being a tricky Cook Island Moana side that finished 4th and would take on the Bushrangers for the right to be in the grand final on sunday. While Moana gave them a fright in that contest, it seemed destiny that the Bushrangers would face one of the strong Maori sides in the final.

For Ngati Kahungunu, they enjoyed almost an identical build up to the Bushrangers. Dominant victories over RLSWA, Auahituroa and Karratha JRL gave them a lead up into their tough pool encounter against CI-Moana, which while up in the air for a while, they escaped with a narrow win. And it left them a semi-final for the ages with a encounter against the Pikiao Warriors. An incredible game that went right to the wire, a try on the siren put the Ngati Kahungunu side in front and a date with the Bushrangers in the grand final. A tough loss to the black and whites, but with a young squad will be back for a massive tilt next season.

In a battle for the ages, the Bushrangers and Ngati Kahungunu sides were ready to go even before the whistle went, with the pre game exchange something to behold. With both teams fired up and ready to go, the crowd was expecting fireworks. And it was Kahungunu with the early running. A penalty in the first set put them on the front foot and when Majah Peachey beat 3 defenders it looked like the Bushrangers would crack early. But they weathered the storm and then Latrelle Chase sent Leon White on a 50 metre jaunt and this time it would be the Bushrangers who would get denied with a tough pass being dropped in the set.

Kahungunu would then get the best opportunity of the game, with Peachey breaking tackles close to the line, he offloaded to Quintin Reichardt, who would unfortunately drop it with the line open. The Bushrangers wouldn’t make that mistake. And it was that combination again as Chase set off down the blindside and attracted two defenders to put White in open space and put the Bushrangers up 4-0. With a minute left until halftime you could be forgiven for going for a toilet break. And you’d have missed a brilliant solo try by Peachey as he got the ball from the restart and left 6 defenders in his wake as he scored in the far corner. Which left us with 4-4 at halftime.

After half time, the first couple of sets were spent feeling each other out before any real opportunities presented themselves. The Bushrangers however found themselves in great field position courtesy of a dropped ball, and they didn’t make any mistakes. Halfback Darius Rogers threw a beautiful out ball to Chase who used his footwork and natural vision to pass on again the Reuben Dickson who made no mistake with the put down, and the Bushrangers once again were in the lead 8-4.

After the restart a dangerous foray into the Aussies territory by Ngati Kahungunu was defused by a great catch by Theo Woodbury, and then an offload from Nroam Berryman found George Farmar who had the fullback to beat one on one. But White was up to the task and bundled him into touch. With less than a minute on the clock, it was Rogers who put the knife in. A dummy on the inside he then sprinted through the line, beat the fullback and showed enough strength to score and win the trophy 12-4.

An amazing win for the Bushrangers, and a great effort from Ngati Kahungunu who are runners up for the second year in a row. I imagine we will see both teams at Harmony Cup 7.