A cruel scoreline. That is how veteran Sky commentator Tony Johnson described the 31-14 score in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final as the Tasman Mako triumphed over the Wellington Lions in Nelson on Saturday.
There was no shortage of endeavour from the Lions, but ultimately they will reflect on a game where the effort they put into the game and the pressure they created wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard at the end of 80 minutes.
The Mako will head into the summer reflecting on how the Lions attacking mindset created scoring opportunities during the game and how they continued to pressure them throughout the game with an attitude befitting a finals opponent.
The Mako started the match extremely well, continuing the form they took into the final and they picked up the early lead through pressure they applied to the Lions. After the initial settling down period, the Lions started to build into their work where they clawed their way back into the final and with more possession, territory they showed why they had secured their position in the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final.
The Lions continued to attack and were close to scoring on numerous occasions, before the Mako took their chances and increased their lead out to 23-9. However, Alex Fidow scored to drag it back to 23-14, a score that lasted to the break.
A Mako penalty in the second half extended their lead before the Lions attack probed, stretched and tried desperately to score with multiple phases close to the Mako’s try line. Unfortunately for the Lions, the Mako defence held on under the continued pressure and they played the game out, scoring very late in the game to take their first national first division final.
The Wellington Lions players and management would like to sincerely thank all of our fans, sponsors, and everyone who has made the 2019 campaign such a memorable one for all involved. Although we didn’t get the result we had worked for, we know that we have reinforced our position in the Premiership competition and look forward to the 2020 campaign.
We look forward to seeing you all again next season.
Tasman 31 (Will Jordan 2, David Havili tries; Mitch Hunt 4 pen, 2 con) Wellington 14 (Alex Fidow try; Jackson Garden-Bachop 3 pen). HT: 23-14