Turbos Undone by Tasman
The Manwatu Turbos suffered a heavy defeat to competition leaders Tasman on Thursday night, going down 41-21 to the Makos in Blenheim.
The Turbos had to do a lot of tackling in the first half, as Tasman made a point of testing the visitors' defence. Manawatu looked more impressive than they have in the past few games, but under such pressure, it was inevitable that they would concede some points. They were even the first team to score a try in Nelson, and looked sharp every time they made their way inside the hosts' half. However, they were living off scraps in the first spell, and their attacking chances were few and far between.
To be trailing by 14 at the break given the fact the Turbos were struggling so much in most statistics wasn't terrible, but they could have been in a better position had Otere Black been on target. The forwards impressed on defence, but at the set piece they struggled to gain a foothold. The line-out was wobbly all night, meaning it was difficult for the backs to receive a solid platform to launch from. The scrum was much more solid, but winning a game with just a solid scrum is difficult. They had to rely on rare half breaks, which though exciting, didn't always reap much-needed rewards. In the end, it was a mix of missed opportunities from the Turbos coupled with an accurate kicking display from Marty Banks which sealed the Turbos' third straight loss.
For the third game in a row, the Turbos made a slow start. Tasman had a wealth of possession and territory over the opening ten minutes, but unlike in previous weeks, the Turbos muscled up in defence and denied the hosts a quick try. The mountain of tackles Manawatu had to make took its toll, and they eventually conceded a penalty which Banks landed.
First points may have gone to Tasman, but the Turbos were quick to hit back with the opening try. With their first attacking opportunity, the Turbos pounced. A good line-out and accurate passing from Callum Gibbins and Ambrose Curtis put Kayne Kammington under the posts, and gave the Turbos a 7-3 lead.
The Turbos failed to consolidate their lead though, conceding a try barely three minutes later when Tasman turned down a shot at goal. Quentin MacDonald barged over from close range as the lead changed hands once more.
Another try to Pete Samu when Tasman again turned down a shot at goal extended their lead further, before Banks did slot a penalty to make it 18-7 after 25 minutes. Manawatu could have closed the gap, but Black had a rare off night with the boot. He missed two penalties, while Banks slotted a third right before halftime, to see Tasman leading 21-7 at the break.
The Turbos, made a much better start to the second half. It was the visitors' turn to control possession and territory, gather some momentum, and reduce the deficit. Black popped a nice pass to Semisi Masirewa, and the fleet-footed winger stepped his way across the try line.
There was a clear improvement in the Turbos' second half efforts, while the Makos looked stunned and a shade of their first half selves. However, the Turbos undid much of their good work with some poor discipline, allowing Banks to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Two more penalties gave his side a 27-14 lead after 60 minutes.
Sadly, there was no comeback from the Turbos this week. Tries to Samu and Jimmy Cowan gave the Makos a bonus point, and a 41-14 lead. The hosts were reduced to 14 men and conceded a penalty try when Callum Gibbins was tripped chasing a try, but the Turbos could do no further damage.
Jason O’Halloran acknowledged his side were undone by a very well drilled Tasman side but also sighted areas to move forward with, “The hard thing is that a lot of areas improved to the standards we expect, particularly our resolve on defence, however it is hard to keep up with a side like Tasman if you struggle maintain your own set piece ball. As a team we are growing but will need to work on securing possession consistently to continue to compete.”
The Turbos return home to The Boneyard for their next game, when they take on Canterbury on Thursday, September 3rd for their charity jersey game.
For this game they will be wearing a completely unique jersey which will be available for order at the merchandise cube. All proceeds will go towards helping Children with Disabilities in the Manawatu.
Tasman Makos-41 (Pete Samu 2, Quentin MacDonald, Jimmy Cowan tries; Marty Banks 3 con, 5 pen)
Manawatu Turbos-21 (Kayne Hammington, Semisi Masirewa, Penalty Try tries; Otere Black 3 con)
Jordan Matthews – Turbos Reporter