SUNDAY STAR TIMES,    2 FEB 1997 ,    Edition A,    Page 12.
                         Raiders too strong for gallant Hawks

SOUTH Auckland Raiders came back from a first quarter deficit to win their second successive Kiwi Bowl title 17-10 against a strong Hamilton Hawks squad at Carlaw Park yesterday.

The Hawks led early on a 27-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by cornerback Jarod Williams which was converted by Alex Young.

The Raiders replied with a Kevin Palalagi field goal on their second offensive series.

The Hawks came back with a strong running series which finished with a 35-yard Young field goal.

A fumble recovery by Sherwyn Vaha set up the Raiders offence for a 60-yard pass from most valuable player Tim Hughley which put Palalagi over.

Jim Hunter stepped in at quarterback for the Raiders throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Phil Hewitt and catching a two-point conversion pass from Hughley. The Raiders' defence dominated in the fourth quarter with Kelly Sionemale collecting an interception and Chad Kindle recovering a fumble.

After the game, Raiders veterans Tony Bush and Colin Tavui announced their retirements after 15 seasons with the club.

                                        — MANUKAU COURIER — SPORT — 14 FEB 2006

                   Raiders dump Chiefs from Kiwi Bowl


Tom Vainikolo is crushed. His Manukau City Chiefs are out of the Kiwi Superbowl final at the Northcote Rugby Club Grounds on Saturday after losing 12-13 to the South Auckland Raiders at the weekend.

Vainikolo, 24, says it is the second year in a row that he and the Chiefs have missed out on

a final.

"It's disappointing. I thought we had the game wrapped up but it was not to be," says the Mangere running back and Marcellin College old boy.

"I'm going have to wait until next year," he says.

Vainikolo has been playing American football for four years now and really enjoys the game.

"I played rugby before and followed my brother Pat into the game.

"It's very different from rugby. It is very stop start. But I've got to like it the more I played."

A small but enthusiastic group of family, friends and supporters were at Centre Park in Robertson Rd, Mangere for the semifinal clash.

American football has a small but loyal following. The majority of its players coming from south Auckland.

Saturday's final is between the South Auckland Raiders and hot favourites, the East Tamaki Lightning.

Lightning's head coach, Rob Gambolati is looking forward to defending the Kiwibowl.

He says it is going to be an interesting week at training as they prepare for the Raiders.

"We are coming off a bye and the players are fresh and well rested," Gambolati says.

Gambolati says a knee injury to James Cook High School old boy and the country's top running back, Siliva Ugapo, will take the sting out of the Lightning's running game.

"It is important to establish a running game so that you can set up your passing game.

"Ugapo provides us with that running. He is definitely one of the best running backs here in New Zealand and we will miss him immensely," he says.

Ugapo, 32, of Manurewa, signed on to play American football two years ago so he could lose weight.

He lost 15kg, was named rookie of the year and blew his way into the national team.

© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2006, All rights reserved.
                                                                   THE SUNDAY NEWS,    4 FEB 1996 ,    Edition 1,    Page 52.
                                              Raiders let rip
SOUTH Auckland Raiders won their first Kiwi Bowl American Football title in eight years with a decisive 37-22 win over Henderson Rangers at Blockhouse Bay Reserve yesterday.

Raiders stormed to an early 14-0 lead through touchdowns by American runningback Tim Hughley, before Henderson replied with a touchdown by Wayne Boyd from a strong run by Eddie Perelini.

Boyd was Rangers' best attacker, despite playing with a broken bone in his left foot.

The Raiders responded immediately, sealing the match halfway into the second half by extending their lead to 37-8.

Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Riki Ellison was guest commentator and threw autographed footballs into the crowd.