Harbour Hawks fine all-round unit

The first round has is past the halfway point and Harbour sits on top of the standings – but are the Hawks the team to beat?

The men from Watson Park certainly have the muscle up front. Harbour’s set-piece play is formidable.

Hale T-Pole is a reliable and abrasive figure in the middle of the line-out, while Ben Whale has made a habit of picking off ball at the front.

The front row of Aiden Spence, Sekonaia Pole and Peter Mirrielees is one of the best in the competition.

No8 Charles Elton is an under-rated performer and James Tomkinson is making some big strides in his first year as the starting openside for the club.

It all amounts to a solid platform for nippy halfback Tala Fagasoaia to work his magic.

Aleki Morris is the playmaker in the midfield, while wingers Sala Halaleva and Jerome Harimate know their way to the tryline.

Harbour started with a shock loss to Dunedin first up but has strung together four wins.

The Hawks should not have too much trouble putting away Zingari-Richmond at Montecillo tomorrow but have a tough finish to the first round with games against Southern and Taieri.

Harbour will not play University in the opening round and that was a fortunate draw because the defending champion is arguably still the favourite.

The students produced a sleepy effort against Taieri during round two to lose 27-10.

But University rebounded the following week with an impressive 35-10 win against Southern.

Like Harbour, University has very few weaknesses.

Sam Sturgess has to be the hardest-working hooker in the competition and lock Josh Dickson is bound for much higher honours now that he has added a bit more bulk to his previously lanky frame.

He is fantastically athletic and perhaps quicker than some of the wingers around the scene.

Pivot Fletcher Smith is capable of acts of pure genius, mixed in with the odd head-scratching moment.

He very exciting to watch and has some good players outside him, including pacy winger Gavin Stark.

University has a reasonably gentle finish to the first round with games against Green Island, Zingari-Richmond and Kaikorai.

Potentially it could pick up 15 points and move to the top of the table.

Taieri was unbeaten until last week but the Eels have not been as convincing as previous seasons.

The team lacks a little direction in the absence of Josh Casey and it also misses the straight running of Michael Collins.

Dunedin is a hard team to get a read on.

When Gareth Evans suits up the team is a more formidable unit, while Southern remains dangerous but has yet to find top form.

The rest of the teams are making up the numbers – sorry.

But it is good to see Green Island winning games again.

ODT Article