Photo / File
A thrilling Waikato Rugby League Grand Final has ended in a sensational last-minute try to give Turangawaewae a come from behind 24-20 victory over Taniwharau at Davies Park, Huntly on Saturday.
Turangawaewae Premier co-captain Mikaere Beattie said, "I just want to take my hat off to Taniwharau we had to work hard for that game. It's been like that all season and we knew it was going to be like that. To my boys stay humble in victory and defeat, we were lucky to get the victory."
Defending champions the Turangawaewae Rugby League Premier side has gone back to back defeating rivals Taniwharau. Kiwi's Legend Tawera Nikau was impressed with Turangawaewae who were very clinical in attack, "It went right down to the wire in the last two minutes of the game and Turangawaewae pulled it out of the hat.”
"To be honest they gave it to us and we just got lucky in the last two minutes," said Turangawaewae Premier co-captain Raana Dennis.
Taniwharau Premier captain Mahinga Rangi said, "I'd just like to thank Turangawaewae, not only the Premiers but also the Reserves and U17 teams as well. I've got to give a big mihi to our supports, much love to you all whānau and I promise you we gave our best out on the field."
Turangawaewae clawed their way back into the game after Taniwharau led 20-10 at halftime. With three minutes left in the game, Turangawaewae scored a converted try to trail Taniwharau by just two points, 18-20, but with time nearly up.
Returning the ball from the restart, Turangawaewae threw everything they had at it, storming their way into the Taniwharau half. On the fifth and final tackle, Turangawaewae threw a huge long ball out wide to score a converted try in the corner and win the game at the wire, 24-20.
Turangawaewae winger Preston Collins scored late in the second half of an offload from outside-centre Taylor Leef who was named 'Tawera Nikau Player of the Match to score in the corner to help Turangawaewae retain the A.S Muir Shield.
Tanui Live Commentator John Devonshire said, "Turangawaewae snatched the victory in the final minutes, In the end, it was a missed tackle and the little fella dotted down."
Other Final Results
Premier Reserves Grand Final: Turangawaewae defeat Taniwharau 24-18
U17 Grand Final: Taniwharau defeat Turangawaewae 24-12