Matt Pritchard reviews the Maori All Stars 30-16 victory over the Indigenous All Stars on the Gold Coast.
|4th||Try Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Maori)||Maori 4-0|
|5th||Goal Kalyn Ponga (Maori)||Maori 6-0|
|17th||Try Josh Curran (Indigenous)||Maori 6-4|
|19th||Goal Tyrone Roberts (Indigenous)||6-all|
|22nd||SIN BIN Jahrome Hughes (Maori)||6-all|
|27th||Try Kodi Nikorima (Maori)||Maori 10-6|
|28th||Goal Kalyn Ponga (Maori)||Maori 12-6|
|39th||Try Blake Ferguson (Indigenous)||Maori 12-10|
|56th||Try James Roberts (Indigenous)||Indigenous 14-12|
|58th||Goal Blake Ferguson (Indigenous)||Indigenous 16-12|
|70th||Try Brandon Smith (Maori)||16-all|
|72nd||Goal Kalyn Ponga (Maori)||Maori 18-16|
|75th||Try Brandon Smith (Maori)||Maori 22-16|
|76th||Goal Kalyn Ponga (Maori)||Maori 24-16|
|79th||Try Dylan Walker (Maori)||Maori 28-16|
|80th||Goal Adam Blair (Maori)||Maori 30-16|
It was an intense opening to the game with the Maori forward pack trying to assert their dominance. They managed to get first points on the board after Joel Thompson failed to ground Corey Harawira-Naera in attempting a tackle. The ball went to the right wing where Dallin Watene-Zelezniak dived over in the corner.
Just before the quarter-time break an off-load from Dragons forward Josh Kerr put Josh Curran in a yawning gap to level scores at six-all.
The second quarter was dominated by the Maori, blowing two chances which on each occasion saw the final pass go astray after Kalyn Ponga was put clear. Jahrome Hughes’ sin bin for changing his line with Josh Addo-Carr chasing a kick through could have resulted in the Indigenous taking control. However it was Dylan Walker’s kick through which ricochet off the defensive line found Kodi Nikorima on the spot to score.
Right on half-time the Indigenous got within two after a neat one-on-one strip by James Roberts on Esan Masters resulted in Blake Ferguson scoring in the corner.
Maori 12-10 Indigenous
Both sides had their chances during the third-quarter as the game opened up. Most notably Brandon Smith’s run out of dummy half close to the line almost ended up in more points for the Maori. Just when it looked like it would be a scoreless quarter, David Fifita brushed off a defender down the right before finding a flying James Roberts to give the Indigenous the lead for the first time in the match.
With ten minutes to go it was Smith, like he threatened to do after half-time, beat the markers out of dummy half from close range and scored next to the posts. The conversion from Ponga gave the Maori a two-point lead. Smith almost scored the set after the kick-off from dummy half but was denied by the video replay for a double movement. With five minutes to go he had his second following a one-two play with Adam Blair on the Indigenous line.
Dylan Walker put the icing on the cake near full-time getting the right bounce from a kick that caught out Latrell Mitchell at the back.
Maori 30-16 Indigenous
The first Captain’s Challenge was made by Adam Blair and proved unsuccessful late in the game. The new option to set a scrum ten metres, twenty metres or in line with the black dot allowed more variation from the scrum.
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Chris Smith, and Zane Tetevano will be checked over post game for injuries.
An outstanding final quarter performance by Melbourne Storm hooker Brandon Smith, scoring a brace in the final ten minutes. The Storm will have their hands full trying to ensure they can keep the Kiwi hooker happy while club captain Cameron Smith continues to be the preferred starting hooker.
INDIGENOUS: Mitchell, Ferguson, James Roberts, Ramien, Addo-Carr, Wighton, Tyrone Roberts, Kerr, Peats, Taunoa-Brown, Thompson, Graham, Fifita, Watson, Smith, Saddler, Curran, Johnston, Peachey, Fuimaono.
MAORI: Ponga, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Marsters, Walker, Goodwin, Nikorima, Hughes, Jesse Bromwich, Smith, Blair, Kenneath Bromwich, Nikora, Harawira-Naera, Luke, Takairangi, Tetevano, Riki, Proctor, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Saulo.