In the playoff for 5th to 8th, MAGS Rugby League First XIII came up against a Rotorua Boys High School side playing a fairly conventional one-out game but their halves and fullback were able to make line breaks on the back of the forwards bending the defensive line. In contrast, MAGS were playing a much wider game with good shape on both sides of the attack.
We finally broke the deadlock when James Strickland caught a pinpoint cross-field kick from Antonio Wulf. David Otukolo added the extra points but MAGS were playing into the wind in the second half.
In the second half, Rotorua Boys attacked and scored off a stray pass that hit the ground. MAGS went back on the offensive but, from a scrum, the Rotorua fullback got outside his marker and went the length of the field to score in the left corner.
MAGS stuck to playing a wide game and were rewarded when Bonowai Baledrokadroka scored on the left after a great run and offload by Milan Brown. At 10-10 and with a few minutes to go, Rotorua attacked and despite a great defensive effort MAGS couldn’t hold them out. The kick bounced off the left upright and over for a 16-10 lead.
With time almost up, David Otukolo dummied and dived over from dummy half to give MAGS a chance to level the scores with the conversion but the wind put paid to those hopes, giving Rotorua Boys a 16-14 victory.
Tomorrow, MAGS play their final game against Manukura High School from Palmerston North for 7th/8th place.