The Hornets had the toughest test yet, facing the defending premiers Waitakere Magpies who remain unbeaten in two and a half seasons.
Not afraid of a challenge, the Hornets turned up with a real buzz in the air. Debuting their new uniforms the Hornets were keen to put in a performance worthy of the new uniform. With favourable conditions the game was underway with Waitakere finding space early, they were able to kick a few goals while the Hornets worked hard in contesting the ball. Waitakere showed why they were undefeated kicking six goals in a row to keep the scoreboard pressure on the Hornets.
After a tough first quarter, the Hornets regathered and started to get back into the game. The Hornets started to get some forward play from the ruck where Pete Jones, Oli Tabaillou and Andy Cook worked well all game. The Hornets pushed and scored their first goal of the match, created from a great piece of teamwork starting right at the back end of the field. The Hornets slowed the Waitakere attack by being more physical than in the first half and competing harder in the air. Aynsley, Aidan, Jonah, Brodyn, Shaneel and their interchanges had a busy day down the back working hard to quash a taller Waitakere forward line.
In the next half, the Hornets kicked into second gear. As per the previous games the Hornets have been slow to start but always come back harder in the second half. With Waitakere scoring 11 goals in the first half, the Hornets aim was to reduce the number of goals scored against them. The team lifted in the third quarter and in the fourth really took the game to the defending premiers. The Hornets swarmed all over the tiring attack and held Waitakere to only 3 goals. During this quarter, The Hornets forward line turned up the heat and applied scoreboard pressure by outscoring Waitakere in the last quarter.
The team continues to gel and develop in skill as a squad week by week. They are impressing the coaching and management staff with their improvement each week and the future is looking bright for The Hornets.
Up the Hornets!
Final Score: Howick Hornets 6.7 (43) to Waitakere 16.14 (110)
Goals: Elliot Bennett (2), Andrew Azzopardi (1), Daniel Bushett (1), Andy Cook (1), Pete Jones (1)
Player and coach Andrew Azzopardi for continuing to extend his lead for top behind kicker.
Aynsley Hilton for his defensive effort on the league 2016 B&F winner. He put a lot of pressure on the Waitakere player and spoiled many marks.
Mat Smith for his hard running during the game. Mat ran hard fast leads when in the forward line and stuck to his opposite when in the back line. Mat worked hard all game.
Debutants Jayden Trembath, Andy Cook, Kevin Labbad for their efforts around the park. It was a tough debut against the top side but they showed the heart and the never give up attitude that defines this team.