Revenge was sweet for Taroona after the Penguins’ 26-12 Round 1 win over defending premiers Launceston but co-coach Christo Le Grange knows his side face further challenges ahead.
Penguins skipper Anthony Lean lead from the front on Saturday with two tries while Ed Salter and new recruit Aron Lovell also crossed the chalk in front of a healthy home crowd at Rugby Park.
Tigers debutant Marika Nadaulevu showcased his talent on the flank alongside tryscorers Ben Lui and Vincent Bell but it wasn’t enough as Taroona sealed the win to stake their claim as TRU title favourites.
“It was a very satisfying win,” Le Grange said.
“I was pleased with the quality of the game - we’re still blowing out some cobwebs but it wasn’t nearly as scrappy as I expected –and both teams found a fair bit of shape and threw the ball around which was great to see.
“Ollie Bird did a job for us switching between wing and fullback, the Thomas boys (Harrison and Louis) both had big minutes in the front row and I was really pleased with the way (new recruit) Aron Lovell has slotted in at centre as well.”
Having been front and centre for last year’s grand final loss to Launceston in overtime, Le Grange says the club will enjoy their win before bracing for a fiery Round 2 clash with Glenorchy.
The Stags shape a banana peel game for Taroona after pushing northern powerhouse Devonport to the brink in a 25-31 Round 1 loss with Michael Lovell bagging two tries in a star turn.
“It’ll be an interesting day for sure with (Aron) playing back at Eady Street for the first time,” Le Grange said.
“But we know it’s going to be tough regardless – Glenorchy never give up and we saw that in their game against Devonport – so we’re expecting a full 80 minute effort on Saturday.”
Meanwhile University’s finals ambitions took an early hit after Hobart Lions claimed bragging rights in Friday night’s Battle of the Bay, emerging 27-21 victors under lights at Rugby Park.
Wayward goalkicking and ill-discipline cost the students as playmaker Ian Clack made the most of his pack’s strong scrummaging to overcome three yellow cards and steer the Lions home in a statement win.
In the final Premiership fixture, Burnie flexed their attacking muscles with a 55-13 win over a rebuilding Harlequins outfit, running in nine tries to one in a high-scoring Saturday afternoon affair.
The Emus also emerged victorious in Round 1 of the women’s competition, defeating Harlequeens & Taroona before taking out their grand final rematch with University 32-17.
Burnie rocked the reigning triple premiers with a six-try blitz (including a Katiola Patolo double) and would’ve posted another 10 points if they’d brought their kicking boots while Harlequeens impressed with two wins over Taroona and Eastern Suburbs.