Kirisome Auva’a impressed in Toa Samoa’s 18-6 victory over Michael Oldfield’s Tonga side in front of a big crowd at Pirtek Stadium.
The brutality displayed by the two Pacific powerhouses was a highlight of the fiery encounter, with the battle between Auva’a and opposing centre, Solomone Kata, epitomizing the physicality, passion and emotion associated with the fixture.
Rabbitohs winger, Michael Oldfield, was solid for the Mate Ma’a, coming up with a number of big plays in a match full of errors and enterprising attack.
North Sydney Bears half, Samisoni Langi, also featured in the match, but was escorted from the field with an ACL injury in the first-half.
The match commenced with both sides delivering stirring war cries that set the tone for the way in which the game was played.
It would be Tonga who would open the scoring, with Feleti Mateo guiding a perfectly weighted kick to the corner as Mosese Pangai leapt high to secure the first four-pointer of the match. The extras were added by Solomone Kata, providing his side with a 6-0 lead.
Tonga’s bombardment of the Samoan try line continued and it appeared that Sione Katoa has crossed for his side’s second try, but upon referral to the video referee the try was denied.
Despite struggling early, Samoa would be next to score, opening their account in a similar fashion to their opponents with Fa’amanu Brown kicking to corner where Antonio Winterstein dived on a loose ball to score. Brown then backed up his efforts with a sideline conversion, leveling the score at 6-6.
With both sides playing end to end football and displaying flamboyance in attack, there were numerous opportunities for either side to claim an advantage on the scoreboard, yet handling errors were wreaking havoc.
In the wake of half-time the deadlock was broken, with Fa’amanu Brown kicking a penalty goal, setting up an 8-6 score line in favour of Samoa.
On resumption, the trend of ill-discipline continued with both sides struggling to complete their sets, yet Tonga still managed to dominate possession and field-position.
The first points in the second stanza would eventually be scored by Toa Samoa, with Ricky Leutele busting through the Tongan defensive line from close range. Fa’amanu Brown was once again effective with the boot, adding the extras from the sideline and setting up a 14-6 score line.
After extending their lead, Samoa was able to turn the tables and generate momentum leading into the back end of the game, placing significant pressure on the Mate Ma’a defence.
The result was put beyond doubt as Matthew Wright darted down the short side out of dummy-half, muscling his way over to score and secure victory for his side. The conversion attempt from Brown was unsuccessful leaving the score at 18-6 to Samoa.
It appear that Samoa had added more points to their tally as Erin Clark looked to have crossed for a try, but it was denied as it was ruled that a Tongan defender had been impeded, meaning that the score remained at 18-6 as the full-time siren sounded.
Samoa 18 (Antonio Winterstein, Ricky Leutele.tries, Matthew Wright; Fa’amanu Brown 3, goals)
Tonga 6 (Mosese Pangai,. tries; Solomone Kata 1, goals)