Defending champions Mt Albert Lions came back from a 12-6 deficit at halftime, to steer off a hard fought battle from Marist and win by 18-12.
Manuwera, under new coach Kelly Shelford, a former Kiwi rep, showed they are going to be tough opponents in 2003, narrowly beating Otahuhu Leopards on their home ground, by 40-38.
Central Vikings gave the Glenora Bears a run for their money well into the second half until the home side pulled away to a 34-12 win.
Canterbury Bulls gave the Taranaki side no chance to show themselves, soundly beating them at home by 80-4, showing they will be a force to be reckoned with once again in 2003.
Wellington at home, had no answers for the 2002 finalists, Hibiscus Coast Raiders, being soundly beaten 62-16. The Raiders will be set to make up for the loss to Mt Albert in the final last year, and will be very tough opposition in this year's competition.
The final match of this year's first round was played at Ericsson Stadium's Number 2 ground, and saw the newly named North Harbour Tigers (formerly Northcote) be defeated 26-24, in a close fought match by the Eastern Tornadoes, coached by former Kiwi, James Leulaui.
2003 Bartercard Cup: Round 1:
12/04/2003 Glenora Bears defeated Central Falcons at Harold Moody Park 34 - 12.
12/04/2003 Otahuhu Leopards lost to Manurewa Marlins at Henham Park 38 - 40.
12/04/2003 Marist Richmond Brothers lost to Mt Albert Lions at Grey Lynn Park 12 - 18.
12/04/2003 Canterbury Bulls hammered Taranaki Wildcats at Rugby League Park 80 - 4.
13/04/2003 Wellington lost to Hibiscus Coast Raiders at Porirua Stadium 16 - 62.
13/04/2003 Eastern Tornadoes defeated North Harbour Tigers at Ericsson 26 - 24.