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Matty’s On the Five is our weekly sports wrap covering five of the biggest sporting moments in Pacific sports as determined by Matt Manukuo.

Sports

Blues claim first title in 21 years, Warriors embarrassed on the Gold Coast and the Bloodline thickens

Matty’s On the Five is our weekly sports wrap covering five of the biggest sporting moments in Pacific sports as determined by Matt Manukuo.

Super Rugby Pacific has wrapped and the Blues emerge as champions for the first time since 2003! WWE’s Bloodline has gotten stronger with the addition of a new face, and the Warriors, my beloved team, got absolutely smoked. Let’s get into it.

1. Blues thrash Chiefs in outstanding final performance

After 21 long, and at times painful years for Auckland rugby fans, the Blues claimed the Super Rugby Pacific title in emphatic fashion thrashing the Chiefs at Eden Park. The final score was 41 - 10.

The opening exchanges were exciting, but as the rain settled, the Blues looked more comfortable and strong with ball in hand. Again, the strength of the Blues’ forwards led them down the pitch and an opportunity arose for Akira Ioane who powered over the try line.

The Chiefs’ ill-discipline crippled them throughout the early stages, and shortly after the Blues’ first try, Harry Plummer slotted an easy penalty conversion. Akira Ioane featured again on the left edge, drawing in defenders, before making a brilliant pass to brother Rieko close to the touchline. Rieko then popped up a perfect offload to Caleb Clarke to score a highlight-worthy try!

The Blues edged the Chiefs at halftime 20 - 3, and in the second half they continued their tear on the opposition. The Chiefs were yellow carded for consistent offside offences, which enabled the Blues to score two more tries.

Despite a late try to the Chiefs, the Blues stayed composed and confident in the final moments, kicking the ball to touch and securing their first win in 21 years!

Now I’m not a strong rugby union follower, but what the Blues did this year was something special. And there were a number of stand-outs, including role models like Patrick Tuipulotu who overcame an injury to play in the final, Akira Ioane who completed 10 years of service to Auckland rugby, and Caleb Clarke scoring a hat-trick 20 years after his dad won a championship for the Blues. What a great achievement!

Result: The Blues defeated the Chiefs 41 - 10 at Eden Park.

Highlight Moment: “Hat-trick to Caleb Clarke!” The reaction from the commentators gave me chills and how good to see Clarke score three in the final!

Pacific Champion: Captain Patrick Tuipulotu - such a brilliant performance in his first season back after a long injury lay-off, then overcoming further set-backs, before securing a championship in inspiring fashion.

Watch our sports wrap on 531PI's Pacific Mornings:

2. Warriors crushed in the Gold Coast

Yeah, not sure about this one. Here’s a behind the scenes insight: , When you’re a sports journalist and the team you support loses, and you have to relive it and write about it - it’s tough! But, we’re here. The Warriors were crushed by the Titans 66 - 6 at Cbus Stadium in the Gold Coast.

Eleven tries to one, 12 line breaks and 46 tackle breaks from the Titans, and 30 - 0 at half-time - there’s no way to sugar-coat it - they were bad. While the Warriors have welcomed back a number of their starters/veteran players to their side over the past weeks, it hasn’t clicked well with the effort, attitude and performance all falling off..

It took 15 minutes for the Warriors’ defensive line to open up for a try, and then the onslaught started. Missed tackles and poor defensive reads saw the Titans cruise through the Warriors’ defence with ease. And almost every time the Titans were in the Warriors’ twenty, they scored.

The Titans’ firing backline made the defence look silly, and a huge hit on Jaden Cambpell from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck resulted in a questionable sin-bin. The Warriors’ attack didn’t look strong either and the effort looked slack right until the last whistle.

Warriors head coach Andrew Webster called the loss “embarrassing” and as a fan, it was a tough effort to get behind. The Warriors now prepare for a home game against the Broncos this week, and hopefully the side can turn these last two losses around.

Result: The Titans defeated the Warriors 66 - 6 at Cbus Stadium in the Gold Coast.

Highlight Moment: Te Maire Martin scoring the Wahs’ only try.

Pacific Champion: David Fifita made some damaging runs for the Titans, get him in a Maroons jersey!

3. Jacob Fatu debuts for the Bloodline

The Bloodline thickens! WWE’s most feared faction has a new addition to their team, with Jacob Fatu son of the “Tonga Kid” making his debut on the latest episode of Smackdown.

Since our last chat, the Bloodline has taken a new-look over the past months after the Tribal Chief Roman Reigns loss at Wrestlemania in April. Since then, enforcer Solo Sikoa has taken the lead of the Bloodline and introduced two new superstars to join the new-look Bloodline: Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa.

There’s been tension between Solo and Bloodline manager Paul Heyman on the direction of the Bloodline, and the leadership now that Roman Reigns has been absent. So the new lead Solo Sikoa has called the shots, and the Bloodline has torn through the WWE roster.

And on Friday, Jacob Fatu stormed the ring to take out Kevin Owens and Cody Rhodes in a powerful first look to the WWE. Fatu has been slated to make his debut for the WWE after making waves on the Indy scene as a talented and feared star.

Fatu’s addition to the Bloodline increases the anticipation for the return of Roman Reigns, as fans prepare to hear from the Tribal Chief about the current trajectory of the Bloodline. What will happen next?

4. Ardie Save returns to New Zealand soil

The current World Rugby Player of the year, (and potentially) next All Blacks captain and Hurricanes legend Ardie Savea returned to New Zealand rugby soil - running out for the Oriental-Rongotai side in the capital city!

I remember seeing a video of him last playing for his rugby club, wearing the number 15 (fullback) jersey and watching this world-class player running through the defence with ease, with a huge smile on his face, and this weekend was no different!

Savea played 50 minutes for Oriental Rongotai, scoring two tries for the side and even finished the game eating a sausage sizzle. Savea returned to New Zealand after spending time playing for the Kobe Steelers in Japan.

Later today, the first All Blacks squad of the Scott Robertson era will be selected and when asked his thoughts of selection, Savea hoped to get the nod and feature in this year's side.

5. State of Origin Game Two!

Melbourne City is fizzing ahead of game two of State of Origin, with the Maroons aiming to secure their third straight series win, while the Blues look to push the series to a decider in Brisbane.

Billy Slater has named a nearly identical squad to their game one team, while Michael McGuire has introduced seven new faces to the Blues side.

QLD Maroons: Dane Gagai returns to the Maroons squad as 18th man, and young Samoan-Niuean bolter Heilum Luki get’s the nod in the wider squad. Felise Kaufusi and Moeaki Fotuaika come off the bench, while Warriors backrower Kurt Capewell returns to the Maroons after two years. Jaydn Su’a and Jeremiah Nanai secure the back row pairing after a strong outing in game one. With only small changes to the side, the Maroons look strong!

NSW Blues: Seven new faces are introduced to the Blues, with Latrell Mitchell and Cameron Murray returning to Blues duties after strong performances for the Rabbitohs in the past few weeks. Mitchell is expected to inject some much needed energy and mongrel into the Blues squad, while Dylan Edwards replaces James Tedesco at fullback after missing game one. Mitchell Barnett also comes in as 18th man, so hopefully he gets the call up to play!

Game two kicks off this Wednesday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Matty’s Golden Point

Matty’s Golden Point is a piece of advice shared on 531PI’s Pacific Grandstand show.

“Anything’s possible, anything’s possible!”

Kevin Garnett