A stunning 50-metre runaway try from Upper Central thwarted a late Vulcans comeback, resigning the Auckland side to a
18-14 loss in the opening game of the National Women’s Championship at Pulman Park.
The Vulcans were slow to start, conceding three tries and trailing 12-0 early in the second half, before clicking into
gear in the final 20 minutes.
Led by a brilliant showing from Otahuhu prop Lilieta Maumau-Pinomi – who finished the game with a try and try assist –
and a double to back-rower Yasmin Puru-Tongia, the Vulcans lowered the deficit to 12-8 with eight minutes to play.
But the momentum shifted again when Autumn Stephens sliced through the Auckland defence to score a 50-metre try which
was then converted by Honor Wilson.
Maumau’s try minutes later left Auckland trailing 18-14 with a minute to play, but they couldn’t land the decisive blow.
The Upper Central team had a strong Auckland flavour to it, with a number of their players – including Wilson, prop Mya
Hill-Moana and centre Leah Rangi-Toka – having all played in the Auckland Rugby League Farrelly Photos Girls’ U18
competition as part of the Taniwharau team which won the title in 2019.
The Vulcans still have a strong chance of securing a top two finish which would qualify them for the October 31 Grand
Final and on Sunday face Wellington (10.00am) and Northland (1.30pm).