Fri, Sep 24, 2021 9:02 PM
Tasman was thoroughly outplayed by Waikato at Trafalgar Park this evening. Photo: Shuttersport. (File)
An unbeaten run at Trafalgar Park that dates back to 2018 came to a crushing halt at the hands of Waikato as the Mako went down 39-22 in Nelson this evening.
It may have been a blessing for the Mako that more fans were not in attendance for what was a very sub-par performance, one that saw the side suffer its first loss of the season.
Skipper Mitch Hunt put first points on the board for the Mako but it would be its last scoring for a while.
Fletcher Smith responded as both sides squandered solid attacking opportunities in the opening quarter.
It was against the run of play that Waikato would score the opener with fullback Matty Lansdown showing great speed and ball control to beat the covering defence.
The mooloo went back-to-back in spectacular fashion Liam Coombs-Fabling finished off a brilliant break by Bailyn Sullivan.
Waikato’s dominance was halted when hooker Steven Misa was shown yellow for cynical play followed by a lengthy delay as Ryan Coxon stretchered off with what appeared to be a broken ankle.
Desperate defence continued to keep the Mako at bay and the competition leadres were kept try-less in the opening fourty.
Despite spending almost seven minutes inside Waikato’s 22, Tasman could manage only three points in contrast to the visitors who spent just 10 seconds and came away with 15 points.
Waikato continued its’ march in the second, Sullivan waltzing through some feeble defence to score under the sticks.
The Mako finally broke the shackles in the 51st minute, Leicester Fainga’anuku scoring the host’s first try with the winger proving too strong close to the line.
However, Waikato struck back immediately to regain the ascendency, halfback Cortez Ratima brushing off three poor tackle attempts to claim the bonus point.
Macca Springer entered the fray to for his Mako debut as Smith stretched the lead past 20.
Shannon Frizell and the returning Andrew Makalio offered some late hope with two more close range tries for Tasman, but a pinpoint Smith cross found Coombs-Fabling who soared through the air to claim his second.
The Mako would fight until the final whistle, but Waikato had done enough to shut out the defending champions and leapfrog the Mako to the top of the premiership table.
Waikato 39 (Coombs-Fabling 2, Lansdown, Sullivan, tries, Smith, 3 cons, 2 pens)
Tasman 22 (Fainga’anuku, Frizell, Makalio, tries, Hunt 2 cons, 1 pen)