Simple errors have cost Mangere East another shot at the Fox Memorial Championship. The 2004 beaten finalists lost to Manurewa 16-14 in the semi-final at Ericsson Stadium yesterday.
The Marlins showed great composure to come back from eight points down to win the game in front of a crowd of about 1000.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half the Hawks looked in control leading 8-0.
The Marlins were asking questions of the Hawks defense and it was lock forward Willie Heta who provided the answer.
Inside the 10 and on the last, Heta shaped to kick, stepped and gave an inside ball to fullback Bruce Anderson, who went untouched to the try line to score next to the uprights. Half Aaron Woodhouse converted to make it 8-6.
The try gave Manurewa a new found confidence on which they capitalized, the Marlins taking control of the game either side of the break.
About 10 minutes into the second spell and Anderson was at it again, creating two good plays to get the Marlins inside the Hawks half.
Both second rowers Jackson Crangle and Richard Blackmore proved the difference between the two sides, Blackmore creating the opportunity for the Marlins second try.
The movement came down the right flank after Mangere East lost the ball in the tackle.
Blackmore drew in two defenders with a nice shimmy and created the over lap. Quick hands by centre Henry Heta gave winger Glen Campbell the chance to score and the try in the corner.
Woodhouse was unable to convert and the score remained at 10-8 to the Marlins.
Hawks centre Saimone Makahili was unlucky in the 58th minute to be sin binned for a tackle which slowed the play the ball after yet another Anderson break.
The decision lifted the Hawks and installed a much needed hardened attitude. In the 10 minutes Makahili was off the field Mangere East played some of their best football.
In that time utility Herbert Brown scored for the Hawks after a wide play which saw half Eliakim Usai-Fononga and fullback Dave Heketoa combine to provide space for Brown.
The solidly built impact player twinkle toed down the left touchline to score from around 20 meters out. Hawks stand-off Tumanako Boyce converted to give Mangere a four point buffer. With just over 10 minutes to go Marlins prop Ioane Tuala made a bust over half way, offloading to stand-off Walter Hati who was tackled just 15 meters out. The bust provided some real go forward for the Marlins and proved a turning point in the match.
After a couple of plays either side of the ruck, big prop Colin Latu charged at the Hawks left hand defense, crashing through at least five defenders and scoring what was to be the match winning try.
The kick, five meters from the sideline, was a difficult one. But lock William Heta stepped up and converted, sending the Marlins supporters into a made frenzy in the stands.
However Mangere wasn�t giving up. A short kick-off gave the Hawks another shot at the final.
With seven minutes to go the Hawks had a repeat set on the Marlins line after a clever kick from fullback Dave Heketoa. But it was the story of the day as Mangere again lost the ball in the tackle and virtually handed over the match.
A chip kick in the last minute threatened Manurewa, but veteran Blackmore got back and saved the day.
The Marlins now meet Papakura in the final at Ericsson Stadium next Sunday as a curtain raiser to the Bartercard Cup final.
SUNDAY 18TH SEPTEMBER
MAD BUTCHER FOX MEMORIAL GRAND FINAL Papakura Sea Eagles v Manurewa Marlins Ericsson Stadium 12.30pm
BARTERCARD CUP � GRAND FINAL Canterbury Bulls v Mt Albert Lions Ericsson Stadium 2.40pm
Admission Fee: Ticket sales at Gate A & B
$20 Family passes (2 adults and up to 4 children under 15) $7.00 Adults $3.00 Pensioners/Children 5 - 15 year olds Under 5 Free $3.00 Carparking
SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER
FOX MEMORIAL PREMIER 1ST � GRAND FINAL Manurewa Marlins v Mt Albert Lions Cornwall Park 1.00pm