by Paul Mitchell
Wintec Journalism student
Hastings Intermediate are the 2015 NZCT AIMS Games rugby league champions, after thundering to victory through mud, rain and an undefeated Orewa College.
When the two teams faced off during the pool games Orewa narrowly beat the title-holders 24-22. That made the final‘s 14-0 scoreline all the sweeter for Hastings.
Hastings came out of the pool games in third place but Hastings parent Matthew Troydyn said that only spurred the Hawke’s Bay school on.
“Even though we had the harder road, that gave the boys a bit more mongrel to get on top,” Troydyn said.
The game was much closer than the score suggests. Orewa pushed the action into the Hastings half for most of the game but strong defence kept them from getting over the line.
A stand-out performance by Hastings player Art Thompson, who scored one try and made one huge run, sealed the deal.
Orewa assistant coach Te Vita Manukia said although they hoped to unseat the reigning champions, they were stoked with their performance in the tournament.
“We’re not the biggest team here – we’re just proud to make it to the finals.”
This is the second year running that Hastings took the championship, after beating Rotorua Intermediate 12-6 in 2014’s final.
Anchor Tournament team: Art Thomson (Hastings Int), Psyris Aranui (Hastings Int), Iraia Edwards (Hastings Int), Derek Honotapu (Hastings Int), Iosefa Vaifale (Orewa College), Riley Stothard (Orewa College), Samuel Paotama (Orewa College), Shaizay Haumu (Matamata Int), Iraia Shelford (Matamata Int), Dawson Smith (Rotorua Int), Denton Kuka (Tauranga Int), Tewi Heta (Tauranga Int), Pita Wilson (Rakaumanga), Tiaki Keogh (Mt Maunganui Int).