Wānaka Sun       

MAC tie with Dunstan High

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 01 Aug, 2019 | By Sports Reporter sports@thewanakasun.co.nz

It was a close game for the MAC First XV in Alexandra last Saturday July 27 with Dunstan High School depriving the Wanaka team of the win in the final play of the game and the match ending in a 17-all draw.

While the MAC players looked disappointed not to come away with the win, coming from 5-7 down at half time to hold a 17-10 lead until the last minute of extra time, head coach Carl Schmack said a draw was better than a loss. The last time the two teams met, at the beginning of the season, Dunstan scored a convincing 21-33 victory.

The strong rivalry between the two teams made for a high intensity game, MAC feeling the pressure at the start and giving away several penalties before regrouping to score the first try with prop Rhys Hughes driving over the line. A try to Dunstan just before half time “was a bit of a turning point,” said Schmack, the Wanaka team finding themselves on the back foot.

“If we'd held out until halftime, I think we would have been ok,” Schmack continued. “The second half we were up against it. The boys did extremely well to come back.” Keen to extend their lead, Dunstan opted for a penalty kick to bring the score to 5-10 but two quick tries to number eight Fergus Read put MAC back in front.

However, it was a third attempt by wing Marcus Hetherington, ruled a no-try, which could have been the silver bullet the Wanaka side really needed. With neither team willing to settle for second place, in the end it was Dunstan who rallied, scoring a try in the sixth minute of extra time, tying the score up at 17-17.

MAC must now win their next two games – against Waitaki Boys' High School and Otago Boys' High Seconds – in order to reach the final. With the 12-team competition now split into top, middle and bottom four, MAC are playing for top honours in the middle bracket.

Schmack says he has confidence in his team, but patience will be the key to successful execution of the game plan. “We need to go through phases and not go too early. When we got it right in the second half (of the Dunstan game), going through phases we looked dangerous,” he said. 

The MAC v Waitaki game is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday August 3 at home in Wanaka.

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