This Saturday afternoon Ponsonby will line-up against the current Gallaher Shield champions, Grammar-TEC, at Orakei Domain, committed to coming away with the competition points on offer.
Ponsonby will start the game having produced a scratchy 27-3 win over Eden in the previous round, whilst Grammar-TEC crushed Otahuhu by 52-3, although by their own admission, they lacked their usual accuracy and cohesion in the first half.
Ponsonby played Grammar-TEC in a pre-season ‘warm-up’ match at Orakei Domain a few weeks back and lost by 27-17.
Ponsonby and Grammar-TEC met twice in 2015, in May, and then again in July that year. Grammar-TEC were the victors on both occasions, winning the first encounter by 34-20, then the second by 67-12.
It has been five years since the Ponsonby Premiers savoured a victory over Grammar in the Alan McEvoy competition. It was on the 28th of May 2011 that Ponsonby hosted the Grammar-Carlton side, winning by 30-21 that afternoon. Ponsonby then went on to beat Grammar-Carlton in the Gallaher Shield final by 20-18, this being the last time that Ponsonby won the coveted trophy.
To date in the Alan McEvoy Championship in 2016, Grammar-TEC side has recorded three wins from three outings, having secured maximum competition points. These wins have been achieved at the expense of Manukau, Eden and Otahuhu, the latter two sides residing at the bottom of the competition table. Grammar-TEC have identified the match against Ponsonby as their first true test in the season to date.
For this match head-coach Peter Leuluso’o made a few changes to the side that had started against Eden. Marco Fepu’leai, Alex Matapo, Leo Ngahe and Waha Waitohi return to the pack, and in the backs Pryor Collier resumes in the midfield after an injury enforced spell.
The Premiers kick off at Orakei Domain at 2.45pm, and the Premier Reserves play the curtain-raiser against their Grammar-TEC opposites, kicking off at 1.00pm.
1. Alex Matapo; 2. Willie Uili; 3. Marco Fepu’leai; 4. Leo Ngahe; 5. Jamie Lane; 6. Anthony Diack; 7. Waha Waitohi; 8. Presley Tufuga; 9. Campbell Woodmass; 10.William Talataina-Mu; 11. Freedom Vaha’akolo; 12. Keenan Masina; 13. Pryor Collier; 14. Danny Tusitala; 15. Charlie Hubert; 16. Junior Halafuka; 17. Steven Savali; 18. Chanel Vito; 19. Willis Hopwood; 20. Laki Tiatia; 21. Patrick Tausie; 22. Joseph Beckett