Harbour 32 – Dunedin 0
The conditions were marginal at Port with an icy wind across the ground, meaning most of the play was played down the touch line by the clubrooms. One team, Harbour, played the conditions well, thus the six tries, while Dunedin was tactically inept.
The early stages of the game were relatively even but Harbour used runners one wide of the ruck to make inroads into the Dunedin defence and with the territory advantage, the points had to come. It scored close-range tries to hooker Aiden Spence and flanker James Tomkinson.
The Dunedin kicking game was woeful, considering the wind, and a poor kick led to a Logan Allan-sparked counterattack that went 60m and ended with flanker Ben Whale going over in the opposite corner. This gave Harbour a deserved 15-point lead at the break. The second spell was more of the same as Dunedin, unbelievably, tried to spread the ball wide in the windy conditions. It gave up a minimum of five intercept passes in its backline, effectively sealing its demise.
Flanker Tomkinson went over again and lock Chucky Koroi and No8 Charles Elton strolled over for tries to complete the scoring for Harbour. For Harbour, loose forwards Elton, Whale and Tomkinson were impressive and Koroi and Sione Misiloi dominated the lineouts. Halfback Tala Fagasoaia and flyhalf Allan played intelligently and kept the ball in front of their rampant pack.
Although Dunedin was down on strength, few players enhanced their reputations. Captain and lock Mark Grieve Dunn and flanker Jamie Mowat were standouts in a beaten pack. The ageing replacement prop Bronson Ross carried the ball strongly in the second spell.
These two teams will probably square off in the semifinals in a few weeks and, if so, Harbour has made an emphatic statement.
Read the full ODT weekend writeup here