Maniototo hopes to claim another victory Saturday

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A ‘‘tough battle’’ on the rugby field can be expected as the season finally gets under way in Central Otago.

Maniototo and Eastern proved just how tough this year’s competition could be after their pre-season match in Ranfurly on Saturday finished with a win for Maniototo, 38-24.
They were playing for the Douglas O’Malley Trophy.

While the result was pleasing for Maniototo, club president Quinton Smith said the score did not truly reflect the toughly fought game.
‘‘It’s always a hard match,’’ he said.
‘‘It was a good game.’’

Eastern, which plays in the Dunedin competition, is based in Palmerston but has played against Maniototo for several years, a match that was always well contested.

Smith said last weekend’s game was a ‘‘good first-up game’’ in the lead up to the competition, which will start this weekend when Maniototo plays host again, this time against Matakanui.

He expects a tough match.
‘‘They will be hard to beat. I have heard they are looking really good,’’ Smith said, of Matakanui, which did not have a premier side last season due to a lack of numbers.
‘‘It will be a tough battle and there won’t be a lot in it,’’ he said.
However, he hoped a home advantage would work in Maniototo’s favour, once again.