Metro cures Yellow fever with first win in three years over Feilding
By Jared Smith
It was a victory three years in the making and one to savour as a tremendous second half lifted St Johns Whanganui Metro to a 34-10 win over rivals the Feilding Yellows at Spriggens Park on Saturday.
Since winning the 2018 MRU Colts title, the following incarnations of Metro have been unable to overcome the Yellows, including last year’s final, and the team could not wait to get back to facing Feilding again after their 16-15 away loss in the season opener in early April.
The Yellows sat second on the table to Metro for most of the first round of games due to twice being held to draws by other teams, and they were not willing to give up their undefeated tag easily – bringing their strongest squad to Whanganui and leading 10-5 at halftime.
“They came out flying, that was for sure,” said Metro coach Mark Cosford.
It was a see-saw contest up front as Feilding looked to monster Metro’s props in Keightley Watson and Emanuel Savage.
Grinding away for long periods on attack, they scored two tries – the latter a quick tap on a penalty that was fired out to the wing.
However, Cosford and co-coach Russell Gedye had backed their side to weather the storm and run the Yellows out of gas, and so it proved with 29 unanswered points in the second half to the delight of a good crowd.
The forwards brought parity back with a couple of tighthead scrum wins against their tiring opposition, and Metro’s speedy backline did the rest.
“You’ve just got to prove you’ll be ready for all occasions,” said Cosford.
“First half, it was all over the place – helter skelter.
“I was hoping our fitness would come through at the end and it did.
“We just stepped up another notch and kept it going.”
Former Heartland Hurricane Under 20’s representative Jack O’Leary scored a hat trick of tries and popped over a couple of conversions, while Paiki Ponga was back in his preferred position of fullback and also dotted down.
Now with an eight point break on the Yellows at the top of the table, Metro will look to cement their spot over the rest of the second round – starting at home this Saturday against Feilding Old Boys Oroua.
However, FOBO (4-3) put a stern test to Metro before losing 27-10 in April, and after just getting by Dannevirke SC 28-25 on Saturday, are in a desperate fight for survival to hang onto fourth place from Freyberg Old Boys (2-3-2).
“Every team’s capable [of beating us] on the day, every game’s going to be like a final,” said Cosford.
“I told the boys, ‘win every game from here and you win the championship, stumble somewhere, you may not’.”
With no Tasman Tanning Premier or Senior games this Saturday, Metro is hoping another good crowd will come watch them play at 12.45pm.