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Vulcans fall just short in dramatic comeback

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A stunning 50-metre runaway try from Upper Central thwarted a late Vulcans comeback, resigning the Auckland side to a 18-14 loss in the opening game of the National Women’s Championship at Pulman Park.

The Vulcans were slow to start, conceding three tries and trailing 12-0 early in the second half, before clicking into gear in the final 20 minutes.

Led by a brilliant showing from Otahuhu prop Lilieta Maumau-Pinomi - who finished the game with a try and try assist - and a double to back-rower Yasmin Puru-Tongia, the Vulcans lowered the deficit to 12-8 with eight minutes to play.

But the momentum shifted again when Autumn Stephens sliced through the Auckland defence to score a 50-metre try which was then converted by Honor Wilson.

Maumau’s try minutes later left Auckland trailing 18-14 with a minute to play, but they couldn’t land the decisive blow.

The Upper Central team had a strong Auckland flavour to it, with a number of their players - including Wilson, prop Mya Hill-Moana and centre Leah Rangi-Toka - having all played in the Auckland Rugby League Farrelly Photos Girls’ U18 competition as part of the Taniwharau team which won the title in 2019.

The Vulcans still have a strong chance of securing a top two finish which would qualify them for the October 31 Grand Final and on Sunday face Wellington (10.00am) and Northland (1.30pm).

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