Greerton Marist played their most controlled 40 minutes of rugby this season to completely dominate the second half in their crucial victory over Rangataua at Te Ariki Field on Saturday.
Trailing 11-3 to the home side at the break, Greerton took complete control from the errant kick-off by their hosts and barely spent any time defending inside their own 22 for the rest of the game.
Rangataua tried to run the ball out but kept running into a hugely impressive Greerton defensive line with flankers Daniel van den Bery and Parker Cook outstanding, and former Western Force centre Tyrone Lefau putting in some big hits.
The lack of kicking game hurt Rangataua especially as first-five Alex Jessop's running expertise was well known to his former teammates in yellow and black, who gleefully shut down his attacking space. Greerton evened the score at 11-11 after another botched attempt to run the ball by the Rangataua backs led to a dropped ball and attacking scrum feed for Greerton, who needed just three passes to put Andrew Boyd in at the corner.
Worse followed soon after when a pass was spilled in the Rangataua midfield which Lefau gratefully picked up and he sprinted 40 metres to score under the bar untouched.
Two missed penalties by Boyd from easy angles gave Rangataua hope they could still win, trailing 18-11 but a yellow card for punching proved costly as Greerton's impressive pack took control of the final stages.
The match-winning try came from a classic lineout move with No8 Joe Key breaking around the side and down the touchline to crash over in the corner. First-five Josh Evemy slotted the conversion expertly from touch to finish off the men in black.
Rangataua started well enough and gave plenty of ball to their biggest threat in left winger Siaosi Iongi, who has been in impressive try-scoring form in 2014. The former Tongan sevens rep scored in the first half to help his team to 11-3 in front, but he was well tackled in the second spell.
Rangataua were missing influential captain Matt Clutterbuck and Matua Parkinson but Greerton too were missing big guns. They showed they are building good depth with players stepping in to replace Bay of Plenty reps Tino Nemani and Joe Tupe, plus first-five Tim O'Malley.
Greerton Marist 25 (Andrew Boyd, Tyrone Lefau, Joe Key tries; Boyd con, 2 pens' Josh Evemy con) Rangataua 11 (Siaosi Iongi try; Daiyu Ishimori 2 pens)