Steelers supporters travel to North Harbour



Twenty five Steelers fans took the opportunity to support their team playing North Harbour at QBE Stadium in Albany by hopping on the supporters club bus. Others made their own way to Auckland’s north shore. Sadly they had to witness yet another defeat. While the Steelers looked good throughout the first half, Harbour staged a surprise comeback in the second half to win the game 28-20.
It took 25 minutes before the first points appeared on the board and both teams looked evenly matched, when Tevita Li scored the first try for Harbour. Earlier Piers Francis missed a chance to convert a penalty.
Frank Halai snatched a ball from the hosts off a kick and created a chance out of nowhere, but Harbour took back the ball, resulting in a penalty for Counties in the 28th minute. Two minutes later Sam Henwood added to Counties’ tally after a fair amount of jostling near the try line. Grabbing the ball, he pushed backwards, then turned for a try. Piers Francis made it 7-13. A minute into extra time Jordan Taufua slid over the chalk, but the try was disallowed after a TMO review.
North Harbour knew they had to pick up speed in the second half to have a chance of a win and they did, never letting up on the pressure.
Add to that the fact that Counties had to play into the westerly breeze. Daniel Halangahu scored a penalty for North Harbour in the 46th minute, 10-13. Cardiff Vaega continued to be dangerous at centre for Counties.
Six minutes later James Parsons scored a try for Steelers supporters travel to North Harbour North Harbour and Halangahu converted, taking the score to 17-13. Counties lost Sam Vaka to the sin bin in the 52nd minute. Two minutes later Frank Halai almost made the try line. A scrum resulted in a penalty for Counties, which went into touch and Harbour won the line-out. Soon after North Harbour lost a man, as Christopher Vui was sinbinned for robbing Toni Pulu of a try scoring chance.
Twelve minutes from fulltime Piers Francis scored a penalty try after Harbour collapsed the scrum on the try line, 20 all. Then in quick succession Harbour’s Daniel Halangahu added another three points for North Harbour and Michael Little scored a try by diving over the top of jostling players, 28-20. Right on fulltime Counties produced a great run, but it was too late. Too many missed tackles, handling errors and dropped ball meant Counties suffered their fourh loss in a row, while Harbour celebrated their second win of the season.
Steelers’ Captain Jimmy Tupou said afterwards that it had been a frustrating game. “The boys gave everything and that’s all I can ask of them as Captain.”
Harbour’s Bryn Hall said, “We’ll take the four points. It was a pleasing effort and we were very fortunate to come away with a win.”
The score: North Harbour 28 (tries: M McGahan, J Parsons, M Little; D. Halangahu 2 con, 3 pen). Counties Manukau 20 (S Henwood try, penalty try; P Francis 2 con, 2 pen) .

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