Indigenous NZ Tour Diary Day 1 & 2

first_imgDay 1 Tuesday 3 April Tuesday was mainly a travel day with people departing from both Brisbane and Sydney to arrive in Auckland. We then transferred by bus to Auckland accommodation in the City Centre, by bus driver – Steve, nicknamed MO. The weather has been overcast and raining, but not that cold. The girls opted for dinner at La Porchetta, all the way to New Zealand to eat at a place that’s in Oz, while the Boys headed out for Sushi.At team meetings Bo De La Cruz was named Women’s team captain, while Damon Viellaris & David White will share the duties in the Men’s. Day 2 Wednesday 4 AprilWe awoke to beautiful weather with a bit of light cloud. After breakfast both teams went for a morning walk around harbour area of Auckland, with a massive Cruise ship also docking as we walked by. With everyone itching to throw the ball around and have a run we headed to Victoria Park and Both teams had a light training run where they went through moves and plays and walked back to accommodation. After training some went for lunch at the café on top of sky city tower 192 m high!We headed to Gallaher Park in Counties Manukau both teams posed, and I mean posed, for team photos and large group photos at the ground Both Men and Women played at same time, grounds very hard and very small in comparison to Oz, referees graciously supplied by host Counties. Men’s Game 1 v Auckland started at 6.15pm Boys started well catching a very strong Auckland team by surprise by scoring first and leading 1 nil, Kristian Congoo scoring the very first touchdown on tour. Auckland hit back pretty quickly scoring two unanswered to lead 2-1, then we scored again and the Auckland boys knew they were in for a game and started to noticeably lift, Auckland scored another two before half time to lead 4-2 at the break. Our boys playing very well for the first run together displaying some fantastic skill and speed to have the big crowd on the hill cheering, Cody Green showing his great passing game with a couple of monster long balls which the crowd loved. The boys from Badu island in the straits (Tamwoy bros and Tony Ah Boo) loving every minute of it and you couldn’t take the smiles off their face even at half time. Second half started with Auckland more determined and scoring first to lead 5-2, but again we hit straight back to make it 5-3, still playing good touch, however from here Auckland started taking control as our boys were still learning their combinations they put on 5 more touchdowns to our 2 to run out winners 10-5. Our best were Cody Green and Kristian Congoo Great display for the first game against an extremely strong provincial team, with both teams joining at the end to congratulate each other. Women’s Game 1 v Counties Girls started slowly just feeling their way against a strong Counties team. Counties scoring first until we hit back a minute later, sorry the didn’t see much but it was very tight until half time with counties leading 3-2 at break, Captain Bo De La Cruz playing awesome as usual and being a threat every time she touched the ball, but 15 yr old Jaylene Bonson showing she is a player to watch in future with some great catching of Bo’s long balls on the wing. Counties came out a different team in second half putting on 5 touchdowns to our 1 to lead 8-3, before a Bo inspired mini comeback with two scores to get it back to 8-5 at the end. Best were De La Cruz, Emma Brereton and Jaylene Bonson.Thought they played well in first half and if not for a couple of “local” decisions would have been right in it, good effort for first game together and only can get better, great learning opportunity for these girls Teams showed great camaraderie at the end with photos and well wishes With only 20 minute break we were back into it….Men’s Game 2 v Counties Counties boys performed the Haka before game at halfway, everyone loved it, the boys said it made the hairs on their neck stand up.This was one of the more dominant displays of men’s touch I have ever seen, and our boys were not bad by any means, but Counties were breathtaking with their speed and agility and we had no answers, they lead 7-2 at the break with our scorers Naseli Tamwoy and Chris Taiters, fresh off the plane. They would be the only touchdowns we would get but the boys tightened up their defence in second half to only let 3 more in to go down 10-2, honestly this was amazing and scary all at the same time, they had guys somersaulting for touchdowns and doing 360’s in mid air, flick passes and about 4 guys with steps rivaling Drummy (Drummayne Dayberg-Muir) Best for boys were Colin Cedric who showed some great footwork of his own to continually worry the opposition.Women’s Game 2 v Auckland Auckland opened the scoring but we hit straight back with good work by De La Cruz to set up Jess Shaw, that’s how it stayed until half-time with both teams having a couple of chances but the game being very much an arm wrestle. The second half opened with Jaylene Bonson again showing her great hands to score out wide for the girls to lead 2-1 but Auckland replied with 2 of their own to go ahead 3-2, before Theresa Anderson got one back to level it up. De La Cruz  then got through (again) to find Sara Hamilton and we were back in front 4-3,  Auckland then started to go to their NZ reps in Shani Wells and Niall Williams and they set up two to again lead 5-4, then the ever reliable De La Cruz set up a diving Jess Shaw for her second td to level it up again 5-5 with seconds left on clock. A drop off was played and it was quite exciting with a big crowd getting into it, neither team took early chances to score, drop off getting down to 3 on 3 until…you guessed it….Bo De La Cruz showed some amazing footwork to get through and find a full length dive from Mtia Tass to score the winner. Great win and good reward for a tough effort against a very physical outfit in Auckland. Best was undoubtedly De La Cruz, with Tass and Shaw also playing well.  Presentation at the end were made by hosts Counties to Colin Cedric and David White for being our players of the matches, girls went to Bo, Emma Brereton and Tamara Appo, they each got shirts and shorts from counties and Auckland and were stoked We presented hosts with an aboriginal painting and De La Cruz  made a speech and thanked everyone. Michael Zitha and Naseli Tamwoy then performed a traditional Torres Strait dance for the group. Unfortunately had to take Kristin Wuruki to local medical centre for x-rays on suspected fractured sternum sustained in game against Auckland ( I said it was physical), x-rays show a small crack but specialist having a look at it tomorrow as it occurs right near a growth plate which could also be the crack in the x-ray, so will have to wait and see.  The tour tomorrow heads to Hamilton to play Waikato and Bay of Plentylast_img

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