The penultimate round of the Alan McEvoy Memorial Trophy competition has Ponsonby back at home hosting Suburbs. This matchup between the second and third placed teams promises to be a tough encounter.
The blue and blacks will be eager to recapture their winning form following losses in their previous two matches. Ponsonby will need to bounce back after their injury time loss to Marist in the last round. Despite outscoring Marist by five tries to four, Ponsonby conceded some late penalties in the match from which their hosts profited. Ponsonby were on the wrong end of some 50-50 calls by the match officials, but they will need to look for accuracy, particularly with their final passes.
Ponsonby last played Suburbs on the 28th of June 2014 at Shadbolt Park in Green Bay, and the blue and blacks turned round a 9-3 halftime deficit to win by 28-17.
In the Alan McEvoy round in 2016 Suburbs has collected 20 competition points from the five outings, recording four wins and a solitary loss. Their loss came in the fourth round, when they were undone on their home ground by Grammar-Tec by 18-14. Suburbs have notched up wins over Marist, Papatoetoe, College Rifles and Waitemata. The latter three were all high scoring encounters, with Suburbs scoring a total of 100 points from the three, and their opponents amassing 89 points. In the Alan McEvoy round Suburbs and Ponsonby have both recorded 19 tries, and have conceded 14 and 13 tries respectively.
Ponsonby will be aware of the goal kicking prowess of Suburbs first five eighth Carl Perry, who has notched up a very respectable 131 points in the 2016 season to date. Additionally Suburbs has some strong ball carriers and dangerous running outside backs, so Ponsonby will be looking for a big defensive effort this week.
The starting XV for this match features a few changes from that which started against Marist last week. In the pack Willis Hopwood and Sam Slade start on the flanks. At halfback Danny Tusitala replaces Campbell Woodmass, and in the midfield the Premier centurion Mark Ama comes in at second five eighth, and Pat Tausie moving out one place.
The Premiers play Suburbs on the main ground at the Western Springs Stadium, kicking off at 2.45pm. The Ponsonby Premier Reserves play the curtain-raiser against the Suburbs opposites, kicking off at 1.00pm.
1 Junior Halafuka; 2 Willie Uili; 3 Marco Fepuleai; 4 Leo Ngahe; 5 Jamie Lane; 6 Sam Slade; 7 Willis Hopwood; 8 Presley Tufuga; 9 Danny Tusitala; 10 William Talataina-Mu; 11 Morrison Siliko; 12 Mark Ama; 13 Pat Tausie; 14 Joseph Beckett; 15 Freedom Vaha’akolo
16 Alex Matapo; 17 Steven Savali; 18 Anthony Diack; 19 Chanel Vito; 20 Laki Tiatia; 21 Tyrone Ngaluafe; 22 Junior Cagiaceva