With the halfway point in the Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy competition approaching, many will now be analysing which teams might potentially finish as the top four qualifiers, and then progress to the Gallaher Shield playoffs. Ponsonby currently sit in second place on the ladder, one point behind the leading team – Suburbs. Ponsonby are at home this weekend, in this the fourth round of the competition, hosting Papatoetoe who are sitting at the bottom of the table and are still searching for their first win in this section of the season.
Papatoetoe have had a mixed season to date, and from the ten matches played in 2016 they have recorded four wins, a draw and five losses.
Ponsonby will be brimming with confidence after their emphatic 41-23 victory over Waitemata last week, whilst Papatoetoe will be licking their wounds after being on the receiving end of an eight try, 44-5 trouncing by Pakuranga.
Ponsonby last played Papatoetoe on the 25th of July 2015 in the final of the Portola Trophy. In this match Ponsonby put in one of their best performances of that season to beat Papatoetoe by 27-21. The two sides had met just two weeks earlier in the last round of the Alan McEvoy competition, Ponsonby coming from behind to lead Papatoetoe by 31-30 in the final ten minutes, only to see their advantage be overtaken and then lose by 38-31.
This week’s starting XV features a few changes from the side that performed so well against Waitemata. Alex Matapo, Romero Tagi and Anthony Diack return to the pack, together with the experienced Ben Bacon. The bench includes the powerful Josh Hawkins and the Premier centurion, Mark Ama who have been promoted from the Ponsonby Premier Reserves.
The Premiers feature on the main ground at Western Springs Stadium at 2.45pm, whilst the unbeaten Premier Reserves play on the Western Springs Outer field, kicking off at 1.00pm.
1. Alex Matapo; 2. Willie Uili; 3. Marco Fepu’leai; 4. Leo Ngahe; 5. Ben Bacon; 6. Anthony Diack; 7. Willis Hopwood; 8. Presley Tufuga; 9. Campbell Woodmass; 10.William Talataina-Mu; 11. Morrison Siliko; 12. Pat Tausie; 13. Pryor Collier; 14. Joe Beckett; 15. Charlie Hubert 16. Junior Halafuka; 17. Steven Savali; 18. Josh Hawkins; 19. Chanel Vito; 20. Laki Tiatia; 21. Mark Ama; 22. Robert Sanele/Chico Huch