Northland 13 - 28 Tasman, ITM Cup
Makos punish Taniwha for basic errors
September 27, 2013
Date/Time: Sep 26, 2013, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT
Venue: Okara Park, Whangarei
Northland 13 - 28 Tasman
Half-time: 10 - 12
Tries: M Wright
Cons: Hawkins
Pens: Hawkins 2
Tries: Banks
Cons: Banks
Pens: Banks 7
Tasman's Quentin MacDonald runs the ball, North Harbour v Tasman, ITM Cup,  North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, September 13, 2013
Quentin McDonald was strong off the bench for Tasman
© Getty Images
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Marty Banks starred as Tasman defeated Northland in the ITM Cup at Toll Stadium in Whangarei on Thursday night, the fullback-cum-pivot landing seven of nine penalty kicks and scoring a blistering try at the death as the Makos cemented their position atop the Championship ladder.

Northland, boosted by the return of captain Rene Ranger from a shoulder injury for the game played in perfect positions, have now lost four successive matches, and coach Derren Whitcombe must dig deeper as he looks for answers to the Taniwha's wasteful ways as they break defences then give away possession on a consistent basis.

Tasman coach Kieran Keane made eight changes to his starting side, which affected their accuracy and timing needed to score more tries, but front-rowers Sila Puafisi, Siua Halanukonuka and Francis Smith provided dominance at scrum time, an area in which the hosts were expected to have an advantage, and Chiefs signing Liam Squire and fellow replacements Joe Wheeler and Quentin MacDonald injected extra energy to the visiting pack in the second half. And Banks ensured that Tasman were always a threat behind the strong forward effort.

Former Buller star Banks opened his account in stunning fashion with a penalty from 55 metres out, and he then traded three-pointers with Daniel Hawkins as referee Mike Fraser filled the opening 10 minutes with as many penalties, many in the favour of Tasman. Northland dominated territory, despite trailing 6-3, but many promising movements were killed by basic errors before a classy offload from Ranger saw them land the first blow through Mathew Wright, who received the pass close to the left touchline and ran unopposed to score at the posts.

The try gave the hosts their first lead, but Banks hit back with two penalties shortly before the half-time siren and the visitors went to the sheds in front despite having enjoyed just 29% territory while conceding 10 turnovers.

Tasman thought they had extended their advantage early in the second spell, when an impressive offload from Tevita Cavubati sent Robbie Malnaek across, but the television match official found Hawkins' fingers in between the ball and the line. Banks landed a penalty from the ensuing scrum, and the result seemed beyond doubt when he landed his sixth goal shortly after. Hawkins replied with his boot before a major call went Northland's way as Mitchell Scott was denied a try when the TMO pulled play back for a controversial knock-on way back in Tasman territory.

Within five points of victory, the Taniwha somehow managed to hand over possession inside the attacking 22, with Fraser deeming players to have sealed off the ball illegally, and yet another turnover in attacking territory almost immediately afterwards saw Banks scoop up the loose ball and streak away to score in the left corner.

© Sportal

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