Turbos Lose to Bay of Plenty
Costly second half penalties saw Manawatu lose 38-33 to Bay of Plenty on Sunday evening.
Such as with many games this season, a dubious second half for the Manawatu Turbos has led to their demise as they went down in a game that hotly contested by both teams.
The lead was continually changing hands as the ascendency swayed throughout the game. An effective Bay of Plenty backline was opposed by a strong Manawatu defensive unit which made the game an entertaining one to watch.
The Turbos were led by No.8 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis. Workhorse captain, Callum Gibbins was out due to concussion risks but Bedwell-Curtis proved earl in the season, he is a great captain and not afraid of a bit of hard yakker.
After the game, Bedwell-Curtis praised his team’s efforts but conceded that they contributed to their own misfortune. “We just made it hard for ourselves. We gave away a few penalties and couldn’t really hold onto the ball.”
Bedwell-Curtis identified that set pieces weren’t up to standard in Sunday’s game and that the pressure got to them. “We just panicked a little bit. I suppose the pressure was on us a little bit. We were behind and we needed to catch up and get in front.”
Manawatu employed a lot of kicking in the game, something Bedwell-Curtis saw as a definite tactic. “We did just want to look for territory. It was a little bit slippery, sort of targeting their weakness. We had a good kicking contest in the second half and came away with a good try so we just wanted more of that.”
The game began well for Manawatu who secured the ball early and strung together multiple phases. This led to penalty chance for first five Otere Black. His form of recent week has been less than optimal and it looked to continue as he missed the long range effort.
Once again, Manawatu’s lineout problems were highlighted with sloppy lineouts early on. This was in contrast to their defence as they were able to absolve some pressure from a good looking Bay of Plenty backline.
However, this would not last long as front rower, Aidan Ross for BOP would crash over the line in the 13th minute. First five Dan Hollinshead would convert the try and make it 7-0. From there, BOP set plays were being executed well as they continued to hammer the Turbos.
Manawatu got their first points through a penalty try as they look to rumble over the line from a lineout. Captain Callum Retallick was given a yellow card as a result and had to sit the next ten out. This made the score 7-7 in a game where the scores were more often even than not.
This ushered in a purple patch for Manawatu as they went onto the attack. Not long after that penalty try, a great piece of awareness from Jason Emery saw the centre go over for a try. A penalty had been awarded in front of the posts and while BOP were slow to focus, Emery to a kick tap and snaked his way through the defence to score.
BOP were getting enough ball and their backline was still operating well. However, they would concede penalties in crucial areas of the park, reducing their territory conversion stats.
BOP would score on the stroke of half time through No.8, Jesse Parete which, with the conversion, made it all square at 14 apiece. As the boys went to the sheds, the half time stats were fairly indicative of the gameplay as neither team looked a strong favourite to win the game.
Early in the second half, Manawatu refused a simple shot for three and opted for a kick in the corner. The risk paid off as halfback, Jamie Booth scored off the back of multiple phases from the Turbos.
Not long after, BOP would find themselves camped five metres out from the Manawatu line. A good showing of defence from the Turbos kept the Steamers at bay for a time but it was inevitable going to crack.
As BOP player, Te Aihe Toma had seemed to ground the ball fairly, the play beforehand has involved a suspected knock-on. Once the TMO had deliberated on the issue, it was adjudged the ball had been knocked back and the try was awarded. This evened it up again at 21-21.
At this point, Manawatu were getting sloppy and began conceding more and more penalties. This was punished by Steamer, Henry Stowers who dived over in the 59th minute to give BOP the lead at 28-21.
BOP were really waking up as the game began to dwindle down and Manawatu soon started slipping tackles and opening gaps for the Steamers to charge through. This was countered by a great run from second five Ngani Laumape who set up Ambrose Curtis to dot down under the sticks.
Just as quickly as Manawatu had levelled the game, BOP hit back after the Turbos failed to claim the kick off and minutes later Shahn Eru had scored to give BOP a seven-point lead.
The last ten minutes saw Manawatu duff chance after chance as BOP kept a strong defensive effort going. This was pierced by the Turbos in the 77th minute as Bedwell-Curtis charged over to get his team to within two of BOP at 35-33. Unfortunately, Black missed the conversion and BOP kept their lead.
Manawatu were to concede another penalty as Hollinshead knocked over a penalty to make it a five-point game. Despite some drama with the ball being cleared into touch before the hooter, Manawatu were unable to score the winning try and went down 38-33.
Again, the second half is plaguing this Manawatu team. Any consistency or form from the first half seems to dissipate in the sheds before they come out for the second 40. This will be a key aspect to fix should Manawatu hope to make a Championship final.
Otere Black’s kicking will soon become a hindrance to the Turbos’ performance. If he can find his way back to the form he showed in the earlier games, they will look a good chance to beat Otago in Palmerston on Friday at 7.35pm.
Bay of Plenty 38: (Aidan Ross, Jesse Parete, Te Aihe Toma, Henry Stowers, Shahn Eru tries; Dan Hollinshead 5 cons, 1 pen).
Manawatu 33: (Jason Emery, Ambrose Curtis, Jamie Booth, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis tries; Otere Black 4 cons).
Adam Pearse: Turbos Reporter