The defending champions Akarana Falcons, made a huge statement with a 74-06 win over Bay of Plenty in Round 1 of the NZRL National 20s Ruben Wiki Cup.
The Bay of Plenty defence was under pressure for most of the first half. Akarana was relentless in pressure taking every opportunity to put points on the board.
Khalan Clyde opened the scoring account for Akarana powering his way over the scoreline. After five minutes of play, Louis Dehar-Webster slid between the Bay of Plenty defence and found the half-back on the board.
Desperation from the Bay of Plenty side saw winger Tiona Noora stretch over the line to claw the Bay of Plenty back into the contest.
Akarana bounced back strong with three more tries from Andre Nu’uali’itia, Ariki Honetana, and Clyde to put Akarana further in front. Akarana entered the sheds with a significant early lead over Bay of Plenty 38-06.
Akarana’s barrage of tries continued into the second half; more tries were scored from Akrana’s Axel-Ray Fine-Sietu, Juelz Baker, Waikare Ratima, and Carlos Davis.
With less than ten minutes to go, Bob Iosefo scored his first for the game, and Clyde and Honetana scored a hattrick before the final whistle was blown. The final score was 74-06 to the Akarana Falcons.