Rugby: Miller Park men source of inspiration
The first round is almost done and what have we learned so far? Perhaps it is that Dunedin cannot seem to win a game without Gareth Evans, or that Southern will continue to lose the big games until its players remember how to catch the ball.
Kaikorai can take heart from its comprehensive 42-15 win against Taieri but then the Eels appear to have hit a mid-season slump.
Alhambra-Union has to be the unluckiest team in the competition with three narrow losses.
The club finally got a win with a 40-23 victory against the struggling Pirates.
Pirates came close to defaulting a few weeks back and Zingari-Richmond will be wishing it had defaulted after it was humbled 137-0 by a rampant University A team last weekend.
Green Island’s efforts to date offer clubs such as Zingari-Richmond and Pirates hope.
The men from Miller Park have been the whipping boys of the competition for the past two years but have picked up some exciting Japanese players and Highlanders prop Ross Geldenhuys has made a big impact up front.
For a team that conceded more than 100 points to Taieri two years ago and 99 points to Harbour last season, it is a remarkable turnaround.
It is just six points outside the top four in sixth place with three wins from seven games.
University still shapes as the team to beat but arguably Harbour has the best forward pack in the competition.
It is a quirk of the draw this season that the two best teams do not play in the first round.
The clubs elected to play two rounds of eight games this year, and Harbour and University get to skip each other until game 14.
It is disappointing to have to wait so long for what promises to be a wonderful match-up.
It is also disappointing for those fans who loved the simplicity of a proper double round.
It has also left the competition table slightly skewed.
Southern has not been in champagne form this season but you can bet the Magpies would have loved to have avoided University and racked up an easy win against Pirates instead.
But it skips Pirates this round, while Kaikorai misses out on the opportunity to play Zingari-Richmond, Alhambra-Union avoids Dunedin and Green Island dodges Taieri.
How much difference would that missing round of games have had on the standings?
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