THE grandeur of tomorrow’s club rugby finals will have players empty the tanks for a beckoning glory.
Eastern Bay teams feature heavily on the final day of the Baywide competition as Paroa aim to keep their perfect play-off record when they play Arataki in the premier two final at Lawson Park.
The faithful who park up around Lawson Park and sit on Wheke Hill, the sloping grass in front the Paroa clubrooms, are used to success as Paroa have won three second-tier Baywide titles since 2012.
But tomorrow will be their first final at home. Paroa beat Arataki by one point at the same venue two weeks ago. It was that result that earned Paroa the play-off run at home.
Paroa coach Mike Smith said the stage was set.
“The club as a whole is looking forward to the occasion; it will be great to be able to showcase to the public what can be achieved by a small united club.
“Defending the title hasn’t been part of our build up, but enjoying the final for what it is has been this week’s focus.
Arataki provided a fierce contest, which is what we expect and are preparing for this weekend.”
A bit further up State Highway 30, an all-Eastern Bay final will decide the division one champion.
Te Teko have been the form team through the second half of the season, winning all their games and racking up more than 300 points in the process. Tomorrow they set out to defend their crown against the challenge of Ruatoki.
Mixed form has not defined the Ruatoki side who lost twice to Papamoa before beating the Western Bay side in Saturday’s semi-final. Ruatoki won four consecutive games to storm into tomorrow’s final.
Te Teko and Ruatoki played out a 26-all draw in the first round and then Te Teko claimed a one-point win in their second meeting this season.
“It is really fantastic having two Maori clubs in the final of the first division.
“It is a massive occasion for both communities. Everyone is really excited; players, coaches and supporters,” Te Teko coach Simon Geddes said.
“We would like to win this weekend and to do so we need to apply the game plan we have devised for the final.
“The most important thing for this team is to enjoy and embrace the occasion as this is what rugby is about; getting into finals.
“You don’t know who is going to come out on top, so we need to enjoy the occasion as it doesn’t come around very often, especially as it is a home final.
“This is what brings people back to the clubs and keeps grassroots rugby going.”
Opotiki are the fourth Eastern Bay side competing for silverware tomorrow. The club’s second team will compete in the premier two development final against Waikite.