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Sunday, February 23 2020 @ 09:55 pm ACDT

NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs

International Cup 2017

The late game for the day provided a power packed pitting of Pacific protagonists – New Zealand Hawks taking on the Nauru Chiefs. The rain had thankfully passed - however as this 3:45pm game progressed the sun also began to pass - as the moon rose in the East the lights were flicked on, with limited benefit to the onlookers.

The New Zealand squad had the height advantage and match up pretty well on weight so wouldn't be pushed around. Nevertheless there were some fierce clashes and players on both sides will wake up sore tomorrow morning.

The Chiefs began with what might be regarded the scoring end - favoured by the breeze however from the first ruck contest via the high leaping Ty Smith (#25) it was clear the Hawks height would worry the Chiefs. The Hawks dominated the early stages of this game and set the theme early for this late afternoon match. Strong marking up forward, especially by Barclay Miller (#21), was causing a headache for the Chiefs. Miller completed a specie for the first goal. Shortly after Liam Beattie (#18), coming off the bench, snapped the ball forward where Clark (#50) got on the end of it to put through the 2nd. Early on skipper Howison (#10) was proving a ball magnet, along with Christensen (#9). The Hawks were cleaner by hand while the Chiefs were struggling to get clear from the stoppages. Noticeable early was the heavy use by the Hawks of the bench with high rotations, especially through the midfield. Further goals to Gregson (#22) and Kusel (#55) surged the Hawks to a 25 pt advantage at the first break - with the Chiefs unable to penetrate.

The 2nd term saw the Hawks slam through the first 2 to set up a match winning lead already - via Hick (#32) playing on quickly with the advantage free followed by Clince (#14) receiving from exciting youngster Faimalo (#2) and snapping from tight in on the boundary. Finally at 4 mins 10 into the 2nd term the Chiefs finally broke the ice (almost literally - the wind blowing cold) - via Spanner (wearing #20) with a long range shot that scraped in over the Hawks on the line. The footy tightened up as the Chiefs lifted their work rate and pressure acts. A rushed behind to the Hawks but at 9:43 in and it was Spanner again who showed the better judgement to mark in front of goal and convert truly. Were the Chiefs back in the game? Narrowing the margin back to the 1/4 time extent - however that was pretty well it. The Hawks finished the quarter with 2 more goals via McKenzie (#6) and the classy Faimalo (#2). The McKenzie goal indicative of the Chiefs concerns - 3 up in defence due to the worries about the aerial supremacy of the Hawks - leaving McKenzie alone to scoop up the loose ball and dribble a goal through the unguarded goal mouth. So into the main break and the Hawks had pushed it back out to 39 points and playing the game on their terms.

The 3rd term was all New Zealand on the scoreboard - only one behind to the Chiefs while the Hawks - inaccurate at first, got their radar a little straighter to finish off with goals to international veteran Rattenbury (#15) with a final long goal from the left flank followed late in the term buy Miller (#21) again imposing himself with a big grab deep forward. The Chiefs had been constantly forced back to defend and were unable to clear their defensive zone with the Hawks setting up well behind the ball and continuously sending the ball back into attack. 54 pts at the last break.

The last term was actually won by the Chiefs - allowing them to take some momentum into their next contest. Attacking early the Chiefs looked sharper, although found little reward for their hard work until 5:33 in when winger Diema (#3) intercept marked and converted from a long way out. The Hawks responded with the next couple of goals (Kusel #55 a long bomb to the vacant square and Donnell-Brown #11 after a centring mark) to again put down the Chiefs challenge. However from there on, the Chiefs ran out the game with 2.2 to gain some respectability on the scoreboard however it was too little too late. The Chiefs hadn't been able to ensure sufficient supply to the big guns up forward although the few chances that Oppenheimer (#11) had were sprayed across goal and Yoshi Harris (#28) was barely given a look in within the forward 50.

Squad Stats
New ZealandNauru
Avg Ht cm183176
Avg Wt kg8483
Avg age25.624.2

Match Details:

Ransford Oval 3:45pm
New Zealand vs Nauru
Team 1/4 1/2 3/4 Final
New Zealand 4.1.(25) 8.3.(51) 10.7.(67) 12.9.(81)
Nauru 0.0.(0) 2.0.(12) 2.1.(13) 5.4.(34)

Goal Kickers:
New Zealand:
Miller 2, Kusel 2, Faimalo, McKenzie, Donnell-Brown, Clince, Rattenbury, Gregson, Hick, Clark
Nauru : Spanner 4, Diema

Best Players:
New Zealand:
Kusel, Beattie, Howison, Miller, Clince, Baker-Thomas
Nauru : Grundler, Waidabu, Spanner, Adeang, Diema, Dagiaro

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NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, August 07 2017 @ 01:21 am ACST

What do you reckon Mick, I had NZ as taking out the tournament, narrowly from PNG partly as PNG has a tougher draw. PNG already look gone as you probably can't make the GF with any losses.

Do NZ look the goods? With South Africa losing it looks like the overall winner will come from NZ, Ireland or maybe even the US as a smokey.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, August 07 2017 @ 06:11 am ACST

The Hawks had so many options, able to rotate through the ruck and mids was a key. They look very well placed to manage their key players through a tournament.

NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs
Authored by: Mister Football on Monday, August 07 2017 @ 12:54 pm ACST

I saw a bit of every game, and to my mind, NZ and Nauru are the most natural looking footballers of all, and with NZ's height, and they definitely know how to use that height, they must be favourites to take out IC17.

Mister Football

NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs
Authored by: Michael Christiansen on Monday, August 07 2017 @ 02:30 pm ACST

I really do think the benefit of the AFLNZ Premiership competition is going to kick in massively for them. Those 10 rounds of footy played each of the last 2 years is arguably the best standard 'premier' division being played. They were very well drilled on the day - and that's what is clearly evident via the I/C rotations. They go hard, they come off 'stuffed' and have a breather and then go back out and go hard again. The other nations - Ireland, US, GB, PNG - had better take a look and work out how to combat it. Need to keep fresh legs coming through the mids or they'll be left behind.

Edited on Monday, August 07 2017 @ 02:31 pm ACST by Michael

NZ Hawks too tall and clean for Nauru Chiefs
Authored by: Brett Northey on Monday, August 07 2017 @ 04:15 pm ACST

For NZ that higher standard national league, plus more playing in Australia now, the spread in size, the kids coming through that have played since juniors, all suggests NZ should be very good by now. With SA seemingly stagnating and lacking some size (the Afrikaans key position players of the past appear to be absent), with PNG lacking height and it seems composure with ball in hand, it would seem Ireland and NZ will be the teams to beat. The big key positions for Ireland could do very well in the GF at the MCG in good conditions, whereas NZ could have an edge around the packs.

But it only takes one upset by say GB or the USA to spit one of the favourites out.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN